January 19, 2020
Pastor John Hering
29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one coming after me outranks me because he existed before me.’ 31 I myself did not know who he was, but I came baptizing with water so that he would be revealed to Israel.”
32 John also testified, “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from heaven and remain on him. 33 I myself did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this myself and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day, John was standing there again with two of his disciples. 36 When John saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
38 When Jesus turned around and saw them following him, he asked, “What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 He told them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying. They stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his own brother Simon and say to him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which is translated “the Christ”).John 1:29-41
Advertisers and marketers do this all the time. They find a celebrity and the winner of that contest gets to spend a day with that person. If you could spend a day with someone, who would you pick? Pastor Hering? LOL! Probably not. Maybe you’d choose Tom Cruise and learn how to fly an F-35 Stealth Fighter. If I could spend a day with Tim Allen I’d use my laptop and write down all the clever ways he speaks with humor. If I could spend a day with Gordan Ramsey I wouldn’t let him leave my kitchen until he taught some cooking skills. I wouldn’t ask Tom how to write jokes, and I wouldn’t ask Tim how to cook pork, and I wouldn’t ask Gordan about flying airplanes – because each of these guys has their own specialty. And I’d only have a day to spend with them to learn their special skill.
So, let’s try it again. Finish this statement: If I could spend a day with Jesus I would….. take him to Lake Ray Hubbard and walk on the water with him? I’d ask him to pray with me? I’d ask him all the questions about God that are buzzing around in my head? I’d bring him on an every member visit and sit and listen as he asks those who skipped church…. WHY? I’d go on a Dallas tour with Jesus so he could stop human trafficking, stop the murders, feed the hungry and heal the sick! May I’d have him snap his fingers and make all my deadlines disappear! Today’s gospel tells us that Andrew and John, “…stayed with him that day.” While the Bible doesn’t tell us what all they talked about or did that day, we do get a couple of good clues as to what all they did. So, may the Holy Spirit guide us as we line up those clues and benefit even more from God’s Word as we
Spend a Day with Jesus
What do you want?
We have heard several accounts from John’s Gospel this Epiphany season. He has revealed to us Jesus from Nazareth as true God and true Man—the Savior of all. John points out the darkness and unbelief of those around Jesus and then reveals some insights: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him” (John 1:10). John the Baptist is one of the first ones to recognize Jesus as he explains, “32 John also testified, “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from heaven and remain on him. 33 I myself did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” John baptized Jesus and saw the Holy Spirit come down and rest on Jesus. This Jesus came to this world and revealed himself to God’s chosen people, the Jews, and then to all people. “31 I myself did not know who he was, but I came baptizing with water so that he would be revealed to Israel.” Through John’s testimony about Jesus some of the first Jews, Andrew and John—former disciples of John the Baptist, then Simon, Andrew’s brother, also learned of Jesus the Messiah!
When we think about the season of Epiphany, we often think about this season as a time of outreach and evangelism. If Christmas is a season of delight and peace, then Epiphany is a season of confrontation. Epiphany puts Jesus in our face with hard hitting questions about identities and specialties and priorities. Jesus asked one of those tough questions to Andrew and John who had taken in interest in Jesus, “What do you want?” Jesus asked. Probably not a question that you turn around and ask two strangers who are following you, but more of a probing question to make us think about what we’re looking for as we follow Jesus.
So, what are you looking for in Jesus? A companion to hang around with you so you’re not all alone? A deliverer like a 9-1-1 call to rescue you from bad days and bad decisions? A counselor with lots of answers to life’s questions? A friend to make life easy? Is that Jesus’ specialty? That would make Jesus sound like all the other fear religions of the world and the Get-Help-Quick books on Amazon. But, if you could spend a day with Jesus, what would be his specialty? John the Baptist knew as he introduced Jesus to the crowds.
“Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus’ specialty is the sacrifice everyone needed to take the punishment of all sins upon himself and win forgiveness for the world! Jesus’ specialty was being our Substitute and living the perfect life we could not. Jesus lined his priorities perfectly in line with the Father’s holy will. Jesus is the one who took on our identity as human flesh, and gave us the identity of God’s own dear children. Jesus is the Passover Lamb who’s blood was painted on the wood of the cross. Jesus’ specialty was dying and then rising from the dead to proclaim forgiveness for all accomplished. So, if I could spend a day with Jesus I would ask him to help me discover more deeply how certain it is that all sins, and my sins, have been taken away, because when I believe that—then I am more certain that my sin is gone. What do I want? I want a Savior. So come, dear friends, spend a day with Jesus.
Come and See What You Get
In the Jewish religion they have rabbis. The purpose of being a disciple of a rabbi was to be well trained so that when you were working out in the public, anyone watching of listening to you might see the hand of your rabbi in your work, his words in your speech, your wisdom and compassion in your actions. When Jesus turned to see Andrew and John following him to spend time with him, he had a plan. Jesus would reveal his identity to them so change their lives, but he also had the plans to reveal to them how their identity in Christ would change the lives of others. That day Jesus did both. “38 When Jesus turned around and saw them following him, he asked, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 He told them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying. They stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.”
It isn’t recorded for us what all they talked about that day, but we can see from their reaction what that conversation must have sounded like. They learned about Jesus, the promised Messiah. They trusted that through Jesus all their sins would be forgiven. They loved Jesus. They were ready to live free in Christ’s forgiveness. Andrew and John were ready to go and tell others what they had seen. They got to spend a day with Jesus and they got a Savior! He was their Lord!
Andrew and John were ready. Are you? I mean if you spent a day with Jesus and learned of his love for you, I would expect that you’d be all too ready to live for him! But, are we ready? I have to ask this because I know what we get. We get Jesus because we believe in Jesus. Are we ready to make Jesus our Lord? I know this isn’t easy because of our selfish nature. Are we ready to ask Jesus how we can live for him and then get his training to do so? It isn’t going to be easy for our busy schedule to accommodate. Are we ready to ask Jesus how we can live for him and be ready to line up our priorities to his priorities? It will not be easy for our luxurious lifestyle to practice following Jesus. Truth be told our selfish nature, busy schedule and luxurious lifestyle will never be ready for Jesus. So don’t expect them to be. These are not allies to aid us, but are enemies to overcome. Our allies are his forgiveness, his love for us, and our faith in him to be our perfect Master and Leader. Jesus’ love for us and our love for him make us ready to come and see where Jesus lives, how Jesus lives, and how we can live for him.
Here’s the thing. You haven’t spent a day with Jesus. Most of you have spent a lifetime with Jesus. You know Jesus lives where the children are because they are special to him—teaching them the basic truths of the Bible so they can know Jesus, too. You know Jesus lives with couples—teaching them about love and commitment. Jesus lives with the lonely—teaching them about his presence and peace. Jesus lives with church volunteers—using them to carry out his gospel ministry. Jesus lives where disaster strikes—providing relief and aid to those in need. Jesus lives where we worship—feeding our souls the eternal food to nourish our faith, filling our hearts with joy to proclaim his praise, and encouraging our hearts as we join together in fellowship as his people. Jesus lives! Come and see what you get as he speaks to us through Scripture, washes away our sins in baptism, and strengthens our faith at the Lord’s Supper.
So, if you wanted to learn a new skill, I suppose you can watch YouTube videos and learn how to do it. But, I can tell you a better way. Find a great teacher. If you want to learn how to fly, find a pilot. Learn how to tell jokes, find a comedian. Learn how to cook, find a chef. But, if you want your life to be shaped in line with God’s holy will, if you want your heart to have peace, if you want your love for others to be more passionate, intimate and committed, Then Spend Every Day With Jesus. Amen!