that one about come and see...
January 20, 2020, 8:00 AM

Sermon from January 19, 2020

Text: John 1: 29-42

Grace and peace to you from God our creator and our Lord and Savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, the first thing I want to point out this morning, is how many of y’all noticed that we’re getting the same story two weeks in a row? Did y’all pick up on that? Last Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of Our Lord, and we read The Gospel of Matthew’s account of that baptism. John argues a bit, Jesus convinces him it needs to be done.

Down in the water Jesus goes. The heavens open up. A dove descends. God speaks.

You know, we get the same basic story this time, but did you notice that things seem a little different? No where here does John the Baptizer, actually perform the act of baptism, though I suppose it is implied. John recalls that he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. He shares that with those around him as he continually points to Jesus.

As I’ve said quite a few times throughout my ministry – that’s John’s job. He’s the boney finger that points to the messiah. And he’ll do that, even when it costs him.

Which, we see play out immediately in this text. For during the following day, the Baptizer, or I suppose he’s more of a pointer or a witness, again points out Jesus – Here is the Lamb of God – and the two disciples with him get up and start following Jesus.

I want to focus on the interaction that Jesus has with these two new disciples of his. They come to him in earnest and Jesus says, “What are you looking for?”

That’s a bold and deep question isn’t it?

As a pastor, it’s a question that I at times get to and have to ask. It’s a question that cuts right to the heart of any matter. Because, we as humans can beat around the bush with the best of them. Right?

We can be in a conversation about anything – Religion, politics, sports, intimacy, school, work, life, anything – and we’ll talk around all the things that we want.

What are you looking for?

Are we looking for something to make us laugh – to distract us from the world around us?

Are we looking for some new piece of technology that promises to make life even simpler?

Are we looking for a job – a relationship – a community that will help us ‘get by’ a little better?

Are we looking for someone to hope and believe in? Someone who will make it ‘all better’ or return things to ‘the way I remember’ it used to be.

Are we looking for things to ‘change’ in some specific way, that of course doesn’t require us to actually change at all?

What are you looking for?

That’s really the question, isn’t it?

We hear that question from our parents, our friends, our jobs, our schools, the ads that bombard us every day.

What are you looking for?

I always wonder if these two disciples – I wonder, if we – know the full extent of what Jesus is asking.

As John has already told them that this is the Lamb of God they probably had some preconceived notions of what that meant.

Would the Lamb of God – the messiah – be a powerful warrior to lay waste to the enemies of Israel? Finally, putting the chosen people of God back on top in the hierarchy of faith? Would the messiah be that astute political mind who could eloquently – with tact and precision – use words to bend the powers that be towards God. Perhaps the ‘Lamb of God’ would be one who literally descends from the heavens with the power to control and manipulate people and things around him since he had the power and privilege of the Creator.

No matter where those disciples’ minds might have fallen as to who they thought the Lamb of God would be like – they wanted to be a part of that. Their teacher pointed to the one ‘more powerful than he’ and they left and followed that one.

And so, they come to follow Jesus to see what this guy is all about.

Jesus notices them, turns, and asks that question…

What are you looking for?

I’ve always found their response to be both surprising and refreshing. For their response is a little different.

Where are you staying? Where do you dwell? Where do you remain?

Even though that response doesn’t really answer Jesus’ question, I’m pretty sure that it is than what I would’ve responded with. If Jesus – or anyone really – asked me the question, “What are you looking for?” I’m pretty certain my response would be, “I don’t know.”

We all do that don’t we?

What are you looking for in your life? I don’t know.
What are you looking for in your job? I don’t know.
What are you looking for in your faith? I don’t know.

What are you looking for? I don’t know.

I wonder if those disciples and many of those others who would soon gather around Jesus were looking for fame, ease, and fortune. It’s what we would expect from being so close to one so powerful right? We strive for that, hitching our wagon to those who are ‘going somewhere.’ So that we’ll be able to ride those coattails on someone else’s good fortune.

I believe we all do that. In big and small ways. Even when we think we don’t do it, we’re still probably seeking to be at least associated with or at the very least noticed by that more powerful person.

When the disciples ask Jesus where he’s staying, he invites them in further to his life and the life opened up for them. And, I like to think that Jesus didn’t invite them in only for a place to lie down and receive a small meal.

No, Jesus’ invitation is more than that. Jesus’ invitations are always more than that. Jesus says,

Come and see.

Come and see where many will gather to hear words of hope.

Come and see those who scatter from that group because those words didn’t align with what they wanted to hear and live into.

Come and see a deeper and more full interpretation of faith that will rock you sideways and turn the world upside down. Where you will enter into life and relationship with those that are easy to look past and step around.

Come and see the life that you will live with God in your heart. A life lived for others. A life that speaks out. A life that points to injustice and calls us to action. A life that makes others uncomfortable because it speaks the bold truth; it shines light on the injustice that works in the shadows and operates during the day. Come and see. A life that is full, but never easy.

Come and see this kingdom of God that is at hand – but, lived out in ways that you would not expect. That includes the welcoming of people that others have cast aside.

Come and see where you too are welcomed, even when you don’t think that you’re worthy of that kind of love and life.

Come and see that you are already enough in God’s eyes.

Come and see this life that is so much more than you could possibly expect.

Come and see.

I don’t know if those disciples completely and fully knew what Jesus was implying when he asked, “What are you looking for?”

I don’t think we completely and fully know what Jesus is implying when he asks us, “What are you looking for?”

Sometimes I really don’t know what I’m looking for. I’d guess that most of the time y’all don’t know either.

But, I want to be able to live this life where my response to that question from Jesus is the same as those disciples, “Well, where are you at?”

Jesus, I don’t know what I am looking for – but, where are you staying? I think that’s a good place to start.

And Jesus invites us in deeper to ‘come and see.’

Come and see Jesus in the Word.

But, even within that Word, there are struggles, questions, and ponderings. We can’t do it alone, so we should probably gather together with others and talk and discuss. More likely than not, those conversations will stretch us, make us uncomfortable, and open us to ways we hadn’t thought before. There will be the chance to just drop it and move to a group that ‘thinks’ more like us. But, does that help us grow deeper into that relationship with God and with one another?

Come and see Jesus in this meal of bread and wine – body and blood.

We participate in this ancient practice and sacrament that connects us to that very first meal with Jesus and his disciples, that binds us with all those others who celebrate with us right now around the world, and provides us with a link to those who will come after us. In this meal, we find the one who has forgiven us, who fills us with strength, and who sends us out to proclaim this Word.

Come and see Jesus in these waters of baptism. Those waters that wash us before God. Where we acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, that we do mess up, and that life isn’t easy or squeaky clean. But, once for all we are washed and welcomed into this community and life of faith. Where nothing can take that away.

Come and see our Lord in the faces of those before us. The ones we know deeply and care for abundantly. Yet, we come and see Jesus in the one who doesn’t look like us, the one who lives a life that we don’t understand, whose struggles are different from our own. The ones we have yet to meet.

Come and see our God who dwells in us. The one who has come down to be with us – and that means you, too. Where you might not think that you’re worthy enough, lovable enough, ‘perfect’ enough for God to notice you. God has come to be with you too. Fully and completely. You are enough. Already.

Come and see.

Our Lord lifts those words up today as the ultimate and best invitation of discipleship that there ever was or ever will be. Jesus invites those two following him – who aren’t quite sure what’s going on, but are enthralled and drawn to this man. They are seekers and wish to know more, even if they cannot fully comprehend what’s going on. Jesus invites them to come and see.

Come and see.

As Jesus invites us today and every day to ‘come and see,’ we too are compelled to point as the Witness of John has done. Where as we began this text, we see John point to the one for all to see. John the Witness points and speaks so that others might know that the one more powerful than he is among them. So, that they too might be beckoned in love with ‘come and see.’ We too get to live the life of a witness. Sharing with those around us the Lamb of God who is already here. Come and see all you people!

Come and see the new life that is offered here. Come and see the one who brings a new and true identity to each of us. Come and see the Lamb of God. Come and see God at work in this place, within these people, through our hands and feet. Come and see Jesus present in the bread and wine. Come and see God splash in the waters.

So, what are you looking for?

Come and see. Come and see. Amen.

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