He saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” -John 1: 29-34 NRSV
John the Baptist had been waiting for the Messiah. He may have even had an inkling that his cousin Jesus was the One. Yet he so desired confirmation. He wanted more than his own intuition. And in a manner like the fleece that Gideon laid out before the Lord, God confirmed his word in the form of a heavenly dove as John saw the Spirit come upon Jesus.
I love that John knew that he himself was not the Messiah. This humble man understood that the Christ was so much more than one who immersed people in water. Somehow he understood that the it would take so much more than what he had. He knew that people needed a spiritual baptism and birth. He knew that it would take a heavenly lamb to take away the sins that people were being baptized for. His baptism could not do what the baptism of the Holy Spirit could.
Oh sweet Lamb of God. Take away my sins today. Wash me in your blood and make me clean.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.