35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Verses 35-42 recount the response of people to Jesus. In verses 43-51 Jesus took the initiative to ask people to follow Him. All these events concluded with a striking promise from Jesus (Jn 1:51).
The author John ordered the events to fit into his argument for the deity of Christ. This section shows that John the Baptist was willing to turn his disciples over to Jesus. He ministered to yet another audience, his own followers. He wanted his followers to commit to a higher authority, to the sovereign Son of God, God almighty.
John now made a subsequent point about John the Baptist.
the next day,
The “next day” here was the second day after the delegation went back to Jerusalem. It was the third successive day that the Baptist testified about Christ.
John [John the Baptist] stood with two of his disciples.
The “John” here was John the Baptist standing with two of his disciples. They were followers of the Baptizer, not of Jesus. Evidently these two had the highest positive volition toward God. They wanted to find more about the implications of John’s formal announcement of Jesus’ public ministry as the Messiah.
And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said,
As soon as the Baptist saw Jesus, he made a statement about where his follower’s loyalty should lie.
“Behold the Lamb of God!”
This is the second time “the Lamb of God” is used in chapter 1 (Jn 1:29). John called Jesus a sacrifice, the substitution for sins. The first issue anyone must face is their sinful violation of God. God will never be satisfied with us until we accept His solution to the sin issue. There is no relationship with God or Jesus without a sacrifice for sin.
The announcement that Jesus was the Lamb of God was an invitation and directive to follow Christ. The Baptizer’s followers were to shift their allegiance to Jesus as the Lamb of God. This was the beginning of the public ministry of Christ.
The first chapter of John abounds with Christ-centered statements (Jn 1:29, 34, 36, 41, 45, 49). The gospel of John sets forth in unambiguous terms the commencement of Jesus’ public ministry, in both this verse and 1:29. There comes a time when Christ must take center stage in our lives.
The two disciples heard him speak,
The “two disciples” here were the Baptist’s disciples. We later find them to be Andrew and the author John (v. 40). The author John did not specifically mention his own name here due to modesty. The closest he got to naming himself was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 21:20).
and they followed Jesus.
What the two disciples heard from the Baptizer struck a chord because they immediately “followed Jesus.” Following Jesus means that they switched their loyalty from the Baptist to Jesus. They made this decision upon hearing the announcement that Jesus was “the Lamb of God.” Jesus drew His first disciples from the followers of John the Baptist. John’s disciples began to follow Christ and His cause from this point forward.
When John’s disciples began to follow Jesus, he essentially receded from emphasis in the biblical text except for a few brief references. The focus moved toward Jesus. This was the last time the Baptizer and Jesus were physically together in the same place.
Good leadership knows when to relinquish power.
Good leadership is willing to let go of power when it will advance the kingdom. The Baptizer was willing to let his disciples follow Jesus. He did not try to build a personal kingdom at the expense of the cause of Christ. He exhibited true servant leadership. He was willing to decrease so that Jesus could increase (Jn 3:30). His purpose was not to build a name for himself but to exalt Jesus the Lord.