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THE SIN OF THE WORLD

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

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Introduction

Due to their insist­ence, John the Baptist explained to the Jews, allud­ing to the words of Isai­ah, that he is only a voice in the desert, implor­ing people to pre­pare the way for the Lord (cf. Isa 40:3). After this, the Phar­isees con­tin­ued ques­tion­ing him: if you are not the Mes­si­ah, Eli­jah or the Proph­et, why then do you admin­is­ter bap­tism to people? The Baptist fur­ther cla­ri­fied that his bap­tism is that of water and that he who is to come after him, is already stand­ing before them, though unknown to them, will bap­tize in the Holy Spir­it (cf. John 1:33). After this con­ver­sa­tion, both parties par­ted. This Sunday Gos­pel is foun­ded on the incid­ent that took place in John 1:29).

By declar­ing he was not the expec­ted mes­si­ah, John the Baptist declined every respons­ib­il­ity of the mes­si­ah. He showed humil­ity and lim­ited him­self only to his own assign­ment. He nev­er wanted to get involved in a role that was not meant for him. Since such role implied and involved death on the cross, John the Baptist knew it was not his mis­sion. His mis­sion was to pre­pare the way for the Christ.

It is not enough to believe and pro­fess with our lips that God exists and that Jesus is Lord, we must also bear wit­ness with our lives. We must testi­fy with our words and actions that God really exists.

Sin in John

The noun sin (Greek: hama­r­tia), derives from the verb to fail to hit the mark hence, miss­ing the mark. In the Chris­ti­an (New) Test­a­ment sin is always used in an eth­ic­al sense, If as Socrates said that an unex­amined life is not worth liv­ing, then, a god­less life is not worth men­tion­ing.….….….….

The Sin of the World

It is inter­est­ing that for John, sin of the world is in the sin­gu­lar form. Instead of “the sins of the world”, John prefers “sin of the world.” Why? Just as the sac­ri­fi­cial lamb took away the sins of the Jew­ish people, so will Jesus as the Lamb of God, take away the sin of the world, no more of the Jews only as their sac­ri­fi­cial lamb did.

John 1:29 announces the unfold­ing of God’s uni­ver­sal plan of sal­va­tion. Not­with­stand­ing the exist­ence of numer­ous laws in the Jew­ish cul­ture and in every nation of the world then and today, people still lived and con­tin­ue to live as if God does not exist. This is the sin of the world. It is anthro­po­centri­cism. That is, Man, mak­ing him­self the author and centre of cre­ation. It is from this single but ser­i­ous sin that emerge all oth­er evils in the world and among human beings.….….….……

As the true lamb of God, the Holy Spir­it did not just des­cend on Jesus, but res­ted on him and remained on him. Such per­man­ent sojourn­ing is an indic­a­tion of Jesus’ divine choice. Accord­ing to Isai­ah, the mes­si­ah will be per­man­ently full of the Holy Spir­it (cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1). What res­ted and remained on Jesus was the spir­it of wis­dom and under­stand­ing, the spir­it of coun­sel and strength, the spir­it of know­ledge and the fear of God.  Any lead­er espe­cially Chris­ti­an lead­er who is not endowed with such spir­it, is bound to live as if God does not exist, and Chris­ti­an Churches are filled with such people or lead­ers.

Conclusion

The sin of the world was exhib­ited in vari­ous ways dur­ing John’s day and the same con­tin­ues even in our own time. Gen­er­ally, people seem to be reli­gious, but the high rate of evil and god­less­ness in our vari­ous soci­et­ies is appalling. Cor­rup­tion, injustice, dis­crim­in­a­tion, hasty and harsh judg­ment, pre­ju­dice, lying, char­ac­ter assas­sin­a­tion, extreme self-centred­ness, favour­it­ism, pois­on­ing, killing, are all by-products of people liv­ing and behav­ing as if God does not exist. Ours is a world where God exists only in prin­ciple but is com­pletely absent in our actions, both in the civil and par­tic­u­larly reli­gious con­texts. This is or rather, was what John said Jesus as the Lamb of God, came to take away. What is the situ­ation today? Has Jesus or rather, did Jesus suc­ceed in tak­ing away this sin of the world? Or, have we gone on to rejoice that Jesus died on the cross, tak­ing away our sins while we con­tin­ue to live as if God does not exist and as if we are mas­ters of life and of the uni­verse?

We all have our share in the sin of the world. And for any sin of the world, there is someone or some people who pay the price of what they know noth­ing about. What effort are you mak­ing to get rid of yours? Lamb of God, you who take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you who take away the sin of the world, grant us peace. In the words of Paul (cf. Second Read­ing), “may God our Fath­er and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.” May God bless your effort this week and always. Amen! Sha­lom!

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