John and disciples acknowledge Jesus as the Lamb of God, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved January 16, 2023]. Original source: – Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.

RCL Year A, Epiphany 2
Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-12, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, Saint John 1:29-42

The Gospel today contains a lot of witnessing. I am sure you noticed how much witnessing John the Baptist does about Jesus. He says that Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world;” John says Jesus existed before him; John says Jesus is the one on whom the Spirit descends and rests; and lastly John declares that Jesus is the Son of God. All of this is in the first half of today’s Gospel. But the witnessing goes on.

The next day, John, standing with two of his disciples, sees Jesus walk by, and he says once again that Jesus is the Lamb of God. And John’s two disciples decide then and there to follow Jesus. Notice that Jesus has not said a word to them. He has not asked them to follow him. He has not promised them anything. We are left to believe that John’s witnessing has been a major part of their decision to follow Jesus.

But the witnessing doesn’t stop there. One of those two disciples of John is Andrew, and he witnesses to his absent brother Simon that “We have found the Messiah.” He brings his brother to Jesus, and Jesus renames him Peter. The principal disciple comes to Jesus not by direct invitation, or because of a promise, but because his brother witnessed to him about Jesus. John, the writer of the Gospel, tells us something quite significant by emphasizing witnessing.

The Greek verb meaning “to bear witness” appears once in Matthew, once in Luke, and not at all in Mark. But in John it appears thirty-one times.[1] In John’s Gospel, witnessing to Jesus naturally flows from following Jesus. Witnessing inevitably grows from following Jesus.

Following Jesus is more than deciding to be obedient to Jesus. It is more than deciding to learn about Jesus. Following certainly includes sharing what we have seen and what we have heard. I know all the personal and cultural reasons keeping people from witnessing to any extent. We can simply add another string to our bow. All we need to do is to rely upon our courage and say something as simple as Jesus’ early words in John: “Come and see.”[2] Faith begins when any of us answers that tiny invitation. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”[3] From the smallest seed grows the largest tree.

[1] Brian P. Stoffregen,

[2] Saint John 1:39.

[3] Psalm 34:8.