I’ve heard it said that when God looks at us as Christians, he sees the righteousness of Christ. Theologically speaking, it’s a way of thinking about substitutionary atonement: Jesus Christ, as sinless substitute, stands in for us and bears the penalty for our sins on the cross, so that God sees him when he looks at us. Now, a couple cursory searches didn’t reveal any verses that explicitly state that God views us as Christ, so the concept is at best a theological inference. However, I can say with confidence that when God smells us, he smells Jesus Christ.
Jesus has entered Jerusalem by this point. Some Greek Jews are there for the passover, and they ask Philip to take them to Jesus. Fun fact, “Philip” is a Greek name. It means “friend of horses,” it’s got the Greek word for “horse” (Ἵππος) in there. You know, like how “hippopotamus” means “river-horse?” The text also notes that Philip “was from Bethsaida of Galilee” (21). Was Bethsaida known for Greek cultural influence or something? Anyway, I don’t really know where I was going with that stuff.
Welcome to the gospel according to John the Baptist.
Jesus’ arrival is mad good news for John. As he’s baptizing, he sees Jesus coming and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29). As a Jew speaking to Jews, John is making a reference to the Passover lamb, sacrificed every year to commemorate the Exodus. When God killed the firstborn of every Egyptian, he spared the Jews because of the sign of lamb’s blood that they applied to their doorposts. John uses the lamb as a metaphor for Jesus’ own sacrifice, suggesting that those who count on Jesus’ blood to cover them will be spared from God’s wrath. John the Baptist has been critical of both the ruling Roman state and his Jewish countrymen; he knows the world’s neck-deep in its own sin, so the news that Jesus will take away its sin is good news indeed.