Bill, a man new to recovery, encountered a threat to his newfound sobriety. During a business trip to Ohio, he found himself standing in the lobby of a hotel, craving a drink. With growing anxiety he contemplated his options. Bill narrowed his choices to two: order a cocktail in the hotel bar or call another recovering alcoholic and ask for help in staying sober.  

Bill knew that this choice came with high stakes. As an alcoholic who had nearly drunk himself to death, he'd endured four hospital stays for "detox." During his last visit he'd hit bottom and cried out for divine mercy: "If there be a God, let him show himself." At that moment, Bill felt a white light blaze through his hospital room. He was seized with "an ecstasy beyond description" and concluded that he was free from any need for alcohol.  

But there was no divine blaze in the lobby of the Hotel that day -- only the dim lights of the bar and the lure of a drink. Pacing through the lobby, Bill passed the bar and and noticed a church directory sitting next to the public phone. Within minutes he was on the phone with a local minister. A series of calls put him in touch with an alcoholic Bob. Bill arranged to visit him at home.  

Bob initially agreed to see Bill for only 15 minutes, but their meeting lasted for hours. Bill simply told of his drinking history and Bob identified with it immediately. Bill thanked Bob for hearing him out -- for his fellowship. "I know now that I'm not going to take another drink," Bill said, "and I'm grateful to you.” In this story we see people struggling, we see people searching…. looking for an answer to a problem that they know they can’t bare alone.    

In today's Gospel, we find the story of the first two disciples searching for a leader promised by God to save them and their people from a long history of oppression, whether it be slavery under Pharaoh, exile in Babylon, or colonization under Rome. As I read the Gospels, I often find myself identifying with the disciples' struggles, confusion and emotions, which are similar to the ones that I experience in my own life. However, what I find most inspiring about the disciples is that despite their struggles, they always keep searching for truth, freedom, and God. One of the things that I find most striking about this part of the story is that Jesus is also portrayed as actively searching for people who understand the human condition and desire change. He is not simply standing in the middle of the crowd shouting his message, waiting for followers, but actively seeking out those who understand the struggles of life and want to make a diference.      

When the disciples ask Jesus where he is staying, they are invited to come and see…. come and see who Jesus is… What is his message and does he have the answers that they are searching for.   For the first century readers of this gospel and for us today… John has given us a hint to what and who Jesus is… well more than a hint really…. we hear the Baptist proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God   

When we hear the phrase "Lamb of God," it is natural to think of Jesus sacrificing himself for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. This understanding is certainly true, but I think if we dig a little deeper we may find a much fuller meaning in these words.   The phrase "Lamb of God" would have held different meanings for different individuals in the first century Jewish culture. However, there are a two significant interpretations of the phrase that are worth mentioning.  

First is the image of the sacrificed lamb in the book of Exodus. The Israelites were instructed by God to take a lamb and sacrifice it. The blood of this lamb was then used to mark the door frames of their dwellings, so that death would pass over them during the final plague. The lamb was then roasted and eaten, providing them with strength for the journey ahead. In this way, the lamb became a symbol of freedom, an end to slavery and a new beginning for the Israelites.  

The second image is that of the Lamb sacrificed on Yom Kippur, but this one often gets miss understood. Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, was a day of fasting and repentance for the Israelites. During this day, two animals were used in the ritual, one being a lamb and the other being a goat. The main difference between the two animals is that the lamb was used as the primary sacrifice, while the goat was used as the "scapegoat." The High Priest would lay his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confess the sins of the people, symbolically transferring the sins onto the goat, which was then sent into the wilderness. The lamb on the other hand would be sacrificed and its blood used to purify the temple. John the Baptist did not refer to Jesus as the "Scapegoat of God," but rather as the "Lamb of God." While it is true that Jesus did die to cleanse us of our sins, the phrase “Lamb of God” holds a deeper meaning than just this.  

The lamb at Yom Kippur is used to cleanse the temple, so it can be made new…. as Jesus’ death and resurrection cleans the temple of creation. His sacrifice cleans us to start afresh.     So…. now that Jesus has conquered sin and set us free, is that   the end of our journey? Have we reached the promised land?    

If we examine the story of the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Exodus, we can find the answer the Gospel writer is pointing us towards. The death of the lamb in Exodus did symbolize freedom and the end of slavery, but it did not mean the end of their journey. The Israelites still had to face many challenges and obstacles before they reached the Promised Land. Similarly, for us, the death and resurrection of Jesus marks the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, where we are set free but our journey in the new creation continues.

So what does this understanding of the Lamb of God mean for us in our daily lives? How does Jesus's sacrifice impact us in the present moment? If we turn to the teachings of Paul, we can gain insight into how the sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God affects us today. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul states, "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new." Through this, Paul is emphasizing that through faith in Jesus and his sacrifice, our past no longer defines us. Our past mistakes, regrets, and sins no longer have power over us. Instead, we have a new identity, a new nature, defined by Jesus and his sacrifice. Paul is not only saying that this new identity is for the future, but it starts now. The new has come and we can already experience its benefits in the present. This means that we can live a life free from the burden of our past and the power of sin, and experience the joy and fulfillment that comes with a new creation in Christ.  

But Paul also reminds us that as those who live in this new creation, we have a responsibility to contribute to God's ultimate new creation. In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul states "He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who died and was raised for them." This means that as recipients of this new creation, we are called to live not for our own self-interests but for the sake of Christ and his mission.

So why do we follow God's will? Is it solely for the sake of salvation? No, salvation is a free gift given to us through faith in Jesus and his sacrifice. We follow God's will and serve others and the earth not for the sake of salvation, but because of salvation. Our salvation through Jesus should inspire us to live a life that reflects our gratitude and devotion to him. Jesus being the Lamb of God for us is like God saying, "I got you. I know life can be difficult, and I know you've made mistakes, but I've got you covered. Don't let that hold you back. Go out and seek those who need you, you'll find them. Be there for them, and in doing so, you're also being there for me." Jesus' sacrifice as the Lamb of God is a reminder that we are loved and forgiven by God, no matter what we have done. We give, serve, and care for others and the earth not to earn salvation but as a natural response to the grace and love we have received. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we are now reconciled with God. This means that God is forever present in our lives, and we have a constant connection with God. This new relationship makes us Gods people, Gods disciples. It means that we are no longer separate from God, but rather we are one with God, united in Gods love and purpose for our lives.

We will live forever through resurrection in God's new creation, but this life is our only opportunity to contribute to God's grand renewal project. Therefore, let us strive to do good and make a positive impact in the world, knowing that our actions in this life will have eternal significance in the new creation.

When we look back at the story of Bill, we see a person who was saved by God from a hopeless situation. But it is only through sharing his message of hope and passing on his experience that he remains in the light of his new reality. This is the same for us, as we have been saved by God through Jesus' sacrifice, it's not only about holding on to our salvation but also passing it on to others and living it out in our daily lives. That man's full name is Bill Wilson, and the person he visited on that night was Dr. Bob Smith. Together, they founded the organization known as Alcoholics Anonymous. They carried their message of recovery through faith to millions of people, helping countless individuals overcome their addiction and find hope in a new way of life. Their story of salvation and their willingness to share it with others continues to have a lasting impact on the world today.