“WHAT ARE YOU SEEKING?”
Text: John 1:29-42
Sunday January 15th, 2023 – Epiphany 2
Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr
Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our text for this second Sunday after the epiphany of our Lord is the Gospel lesson from John 1 that was just proclaimed.
Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to enable each of us to come and see you where have promised you will be in your word, our baptism, and in with and under the bread and wine of your holy supper. Strengthened by your grace enable each of us to invite others to “come and see”. Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:
Have you ever heard something that puzzled you; something that you just couldn’t let go; something that just ate at you and wouldn’t let up in your mind…you needed some answers? Sure…we’ve all been there.
If you’re like me, what do you normally do when this happens? You actively seek out more information. You go looking for answers to your questions. We get on our computers and go straight to Google. We ask around. In a perfect world, we go right to the source for the clarification that we so desperately desire.
It is this “perfect world” scenario that we encounter in our Gospel lesson for this morning as we hear of the two disciples tagging along after Jesus and asking Him where He was staying.
You see, over the past couple of days these same two disciples had heard John the Baptist boldly proclaim that this one particular guy was God’s promised Messiah in the flesh. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Just put yourself in their shoes for a moment. God’s people had been watching and waiting for the promised savior since the promise was first made to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. That’s a long time!
Now the proclamation is being made from a very trusted and faithful preacher/prophet that God has kept His Word and the Savior has arrived.
In fact, He hasn’t just come somewhere into the world. He’s right here, walking among us! Can you imagine what was going through these guys’ minds when John is making such a bold pronouncement? “Hey, this is great! The Messiah is here with us! Where’s He at anyway? I want to see Him.
Wait…who are you pointing at, John? I don’t see the Messiah. I can’t see around that scraggly-looking cousin of yours who’s walking our way. Tell Jesus to get out of the way so I can see the Messiah!”
Let that sink in a minute. For at least two days—the two days that John records for us here in Scripture—these disciples of John the Baptist have had front-row seats as their trusted leader identified the lowly and unassuming son of the carpenter as the mighty Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Maybe one day of such outlandish proclamation could be overlooked or explained away. They could chalk it up to dehydration or lack of sleep or stress. But two days in a row? Maybe John is serious.
Can you begin to understand why these two gents went right to the source, tagging along after Jesus, trying to figure out how all this could be true?
Again, put yourself in their shoes. “This is the one our trusted and faithful leader has pointed to, time and again, as the almighty Lamb of God. The problem is that this guy doesn’t look very godly or almighty. In fact, He really doesn’t look any different than anyone else.”
Did you notice something though? The men did follow Jesus. They trusted their ears and not their eyes. That’s not to say that they fully understood everything, but they did go after Him, seeking clarification.
The evangelistic proclamation by John did exactly what God intended it to do. The men left John and went after Jesus.
This brings up a good question. Why? Why were the men tagging along after Jesus and not right up in His face? Well…think about it in your own life. Many of us can talk a big game, but when it comes down to it, very few of us will actually march right up and blurt out our question, demanding an answer. That’s what these guys were struggling with.
“You go ask Him.” “No, you go ask Him.” These guys were lagging in back of Jesus, following at a short distance, because they were working up the courage to ask Jesus the questions they so earnestly desired.
Again...why? Why did they need to work up the courage? Why not just march right up and ask? Let me ask you: What if what John had said was true [which we all know it was]? What if this lowly, unassuming son of the carpenter really is Almighty God?
Do you think it would be very polite or well-mannered or respectful to just mosey on up to Jesus and get in His face and start demanding answers?
You see, that’s where faith, which was brought about by the proclaimed Word of God, was already working in their lives. They had a good and faithful loving fear of God. I’m sure you recognize that, don’t you? “We should fear and love God so that….” That’s Ten Commandment language. These two faithful men were living it.
Their well-founded fear of Almighty God was working in them, causing them to lag back and figure out just how one rightly approaches the Almighty Maker and Redeemer, assuming that John was correct in his witness, without offending Him and bringing down His fiery wrath upon them.
However, this is where the story takes a wonderful, unexpected turn. Jesus, as God Almighty, knows full-well that He’s being followed. He knows what they are thinking.
He turns around, probably catching the two guys in one of those, “oh no…He saw us” moments, and completely turns the tables on them by flat-out asking them a very pointed question. “What are you seeking?” That’s a good question that still needs to be asked of all God’s people. What exactly are you seeking?
Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably already jumped the gun and assumed that these two guys are like a lot of other people we know, seeking out the wrong things in the wrong places. Admit it: We can all name multiple people who seek out all the wrong things from church and from Christ Himself.
We can all name people who’ve stopped coming to church because they didn’t find what they were seeking. Things that have nothing to do with Christ’s forgiveness and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Yet, here’s the thing. This wasn’t the case with these guys. These guys were seeking a personal audience with Jesus. That’s why they asked Him where He was staying. “Jesus, where are you staying at? Would it be alright if my associate and I came over sometime for a little more privacy; a little more ‘one-on-one time?’ We have so many questions that only You can answer.”
Here’s the really cool thing. Jesus doesn’t rebuff them or rebuke them. He doesn’t blow them off. He doesn’t even set up a date sometime in the unforeseen future. “Let me check my calendar and I’ll see what I have open.”
No! Jesus makes time for these two immediately. “Come—right now—and you will see.” Very warm, very inviting, yet with an unmistakable sense of urgency.
Folks: I want you to think about that. Sharing the Gospel; making God’s promise in the flesh known to all mankind…evangelizing in the truest sense of the word—this was an immediate priority to Almighty God. “Come and see.” It still is.
That’s why we focus on this lesson during the Epiphany season. This text serves to remind us just how important evangelizing is to our Lord. Not only that, this text serves to show just how truly simple this faithful evangelizing can be.
I say that because all too often we make a point of coming up with any number of reasons to excuse our silence; silence when God gives us the opportunity to share and reveal and make known His Law/Gospel truth.
“I don’t know enough. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have the oratory skills. I don’t have the thick skin that’s needed for that job.” The list of excuses could go on and on.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” That’s it! That’s all John did. John pointed to Christ. More than that, John trusted in Christ; a living trust that all those around him could behold. Remember: Those two guys went after Jesus because of John’s faithful and unwavering conviction. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
After coming to Christ, what happens next with these two guys? They immediately go out into the world and start pointing to Christ. “Come and see! We have found the Messiah!” It’s amazing how God works, isn’t it?
My friends: Look around you. Your Lord still invites everyone to His house to “come and see and receive” His absolutely free gifts of eternal life and complete forgiveness.
Just like John; just like Andrew; our Lord still uses the simple, humble means of “first-person word of mouth” evangelism. “Come with me and see and behold the Messiah.”
Now, will everyone find what they’re looking for? That depends on what they’re looking for, right? I can promise you that you will find here—each and every week—the unvarnished truth of God’s Law. No favorites. No “special circumstances” or different rules for different people.
I can promise you that you will also find the unconditional love and grace and peace of Christ Jesus; absolutely free gifts which He bestows upon us in His very humble, unassuming means—the means of simple Word and Sacrament ministry.
Now that your hands are free from letting go so that God can work, use them the good and godly way your Lord intended. Use those hands to point to Christ. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Use that voice of faith to speak up and invite others to “come and see.” (Come with me to church and you will be amazed at the miraculous things He makes happen through you for the good of all His people.
To Christ alone be all the glory!
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.