Monday, February 10, 2014

John 1:19-51

Three points from John 1:19-51
Come and See

St. John the Baptist is a straight shooter.  He doesn't beat around the bush when he confesses that he is not the Messiah, that he is one who points to Christ.  In these verses we see John the Baptist's ministry diminishing.  His disciples are leaving him and going to follow Jesus.

The next day John was standing there again with two of his disciples, 36 when he saw Jesus walking by. “There is the Lamb of God!” he said. 37 The two disciples heard him say this and went with Jesus.

All of Israel knew of John the Baptist.  He had a large following.  That crowd was beginning to diminish because of Jesus' arrival.  John knew he was a prophet and his job was to point to the Messiah. I wonder how he reacted to seeing the reality of it. If you were in John's shoes, would it be difficult for you to see the large crowd who followed you, turn away from you to follow another?  My self-esteem, ego, sinful self would bristle. I believe I would experience pain, confusion, doubt, anger, and jealousy.  We are all called to be like John the Baptist to point others to Jesus, and it may mean they walk away from you.

This passage, we also see the old fading away and the arrival of the new.  Jesus is now on the scene, beginning his ministry, so John's baptism is becoming the old one, the prepatory baptism.  This is the paradigm shift in scripture from Old Testament to the New Testament.

I find verses 37-40 humorous.  John's disciples turn to follow Jesus, the heralded Messiah.  In my mind's eye, they are following Jesus from a bit of a distance, like puppy dogs.  Perhaps they were unsure of who they were following and wanted to hang in the back until they figure things out.

37 The two disciples heard him say this and went with Jesus.38 Jesus turned, saw them following him, and asked, “What are you looking for?”They answered, “Where do you live, Rabbi?” (This word means “Teacher.”)39 “Come and see,” he answered. (It was then about four o'clock in the afternoon.) So they went with him and saw where he lived, and spent the rest of that day with him.

Really?  That is their question of the Messiah?  "Where do you live, Rabbi?" Don't you think they have other, more probing and serious questions they'd like to ask.  More along the lines of, "Are you really the Promised One?"  Not, "Where do you live, Rabbi?"  They are all vagueness to hide their doubt and conceal what they really want to know.  But Jesus knows what they want and He calls them to "Come and you will see."  So they follow Jesus at His invitation.

The rest of the chapter is about accruing disciples.  Andrew, goes to get Simon Peter, and compel him to follow Jesus.  Andrew is not heard of after this, is he?  But Peter sure is.  Andrew's job was to go get the "big fish" we know and love as Peter.  We could not function as a church without both of these men, the background worker who invites and the boisterous disciple who speaks our thoughts.

Then there is Philip, who believes easily and follows Jesus quickly.  Philip doesn't seem to bat an eye or have any doubt.  His first reaction is to follow and then find Nathanael.  Nathanael, who is skeptical about anything good coming from Nazareth.  Philip doesn't let Nathanael off the hook that easily, "Come and see."  

As believers, we do not have to know all the theological answers that people ask of us.  Oftentimes, I feel so inadequate to talk to others about salvation in Jesus.  But it really is not about me and what I know.  It is me introducing them to the only Savior who can rescue them, as I was rescued.  The One who forgives us and sets us free.  We are then freed to follow Jesus and continue to invite others.

We can introduce others to Jesus, just as Andrew and Philip did, just as St. John the Baptist.  Evangelism truly is simple.  It is an invitation to "Come and see Jesus."
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