In “preaching study” posts, I’m really interested in fostering a “community” approach to study and prep for the sermon, so please interact as much as you like. All Scripture quotes are from the TNIV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
This Sunday, I’m preaching in the traditional worship services at my church. The Scripture text is John 1:29-42. More (and hopefully better) to come, but a few quick thoughts…
John’s Gospel is curious in his presentation of events. It differs from the synoptic gospels, which narrates Jesus’ baptism. In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist witnesses to the crowd about having seen the Spirit “come down and remain on” Jesus, but Jesus’ water baptism is not referenced at all. John’s witness is that Jesus is the Son of God and “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (v29). It is worth noting that the singular “sin” is significant here. There is a cosmic dimension. This is not just about individual trespasses and moral failures; Jesus the Lamb of God will deliver the world from the curse of sin in all its forms–individual, cultural, societal, etc. The cosmic vision of Jesus in the beginning of chapter 1, alluding to Genesis 1, is continued here at the end of the chapter.
John’s testimony plays into the conversation between Jesus and the unnamed two disciples of John the Baptist in verse 37 and following. Jesus’ question is: “What do you want?” (in the NRSV, it reads, “What are you looking for?”). At the end of the passage, the answer is implied in Andrew’s testimony to Simon (Peter): “We have found the Messiah.” For now, they answer with a question of their own: “Where are you staying?” And Jesus says, “Come and see.”
This invitation is at the heart of discipleship.
“Come…” It beckons us to a journey, to take a step of faith, exercising just a little bit of faith in order to learn about the things of faith. It means that the Christian life is not a matter of sitting back and consuming church programming. Rather, it is an active enterprise that asks something of me even as I come asking something of it.
“and see.” It calls us to engage ourselves in first-hand observation. We are to follow our guide; he is faithful, after all. But we are to investigate this for ourselves as well. The Psalmist wrote “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Is it any surprise, then, that Thomas, accustomed to a life of “come and see” with Jesus would want the same experience as everyone else had of the risen Christ (20:19-29). The invitation to “see” anticipates our role as witnesses, able to give testimony to things we know from first-hand encounter.
Thoughts thus far?