The Second Sunday after the Epiphany (1/20/2008)

What Will They See?

Lessons:      Isaiah 49:1-7      Psalm 40:1-12      (NRSV:  Psalm 40:1-11)      1st Corinthians 1:1-9      St. John 1:29-42

Prayer of the Day:      Holy God, our strength and our redeemer, by your Spirit hold us forever, that through your grace we may worship you and faithfully serve you, follow you and joyfully find you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

1.29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

St. John 1:29-42, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C) 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

There is a lot of "seeing" going on in this Gospel lesson. John the Baptist sees Jesus walking by, some time after he saw the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus. God told John that when he saw the spirit descend and remain on someone, then that would be the one. John sees that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus sees two of John's followers now following him. They ask him where he is staying, and he answers: "Come and see." Once they see where he is staying, they never leave. There is a lot of "seeing" going on in this Gospel lesson.

That is not surprising, because there is a lot of "seeing" that takes place in St. John's Gospel. You might even say that St. John is all about seeing: all about seeing that Jesus is the Messiah - the Son of God. In John's Gospel, Jesus performs many "signs" - many miraculous works. The careful reader of St. John soon realizes that this is for a purpose. Jesus isn't simply showing off. He isn't trying to prove that he is a step or two ahead of all the other Messiah wannabes in the first century. He performs these wonders, so that people can come to "see" who he actually is: that he is the Messiah - the anointed one of God.

When Andrew's heart was captured by Jesus, the very first thing he did was run and find his brother, Simon, and bring him so that he could see in Jesus what Andrew himself first saw. It seems to me that Andrew's actions capture what we people of faith ought to be all about. Those of us whose hearts have been captured by Christian faith - who have experienced the grace and love and renewal that comes from Christ - we now find ourselves in the position of wanting those we love to have the same experience - to know the same goodness that we ourselves have received from God.

At Saint Peter we have been spending some time, lately, talking about how important it is to invite others to "come and see" what God is up to in our congregation. At the same time, we realize how important it is to be mindful of what others might see if they actually came by. Would they see a typical collection of sinful and selfish humans, who are far more interested in themselves than they are in each other? Or would they see people who belong to a community of faith, so transformed by the power of Christ that they are willing to give completely of themselves, in order that others might come to know the presence and power of God in their lives?

Friends, let us learn from Andrew, and remember that we are called to go and invite others to come and see what we have seen in Jesus. Let us also remember that when they come, it will be us that they see. May God so transform our hearts and our lives, that others might see in us the love and grace that we know in Jesus Christ.

David J. Risendal, Pastor  (January 15, 2008)

Exploring This Week's Gospel:

  1. How did John the Baptist, and then Jesus, help Andrew in faith?
  2. What did Andrew and the others "see" in Jesus that made such a difference for them?
  3. How was Andrew instrumental in sharing his faith with Simon Peter?

Connecting with This Week's Gospel:

  1. Who was the first one to help me see what Jesus might mean for me?
  2. Who do I know who has not yet met Jesus?
  3. How might I invite them to my church, or to my Bible study, in the hopes that they might see Jesus, and come to share my faith?