What do you want? Come and you will see…

These are the notes for the live version of the sermon.

Todays reading is John 1:35-42Open Link in New Window

Here is today’s reflection by Rob.

As you can see in our reading we are looking at John 1:35-42Open Link in New Window, focusing particularly on where Jesus invites two of his disciples to ‘come and you will see…’ We of course know the rest of the story, but who could have known what that would have looked like for these disciples? Could they have imagined in their wildest dreams that we would be talking about that conversation, in Bristol, over 2000 years later!?

Before we rush into the passage though, let’s take a couple of minutes to set the scene:

  • John 1Open Link in New Window starts with the glorious ‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God… and the word became flesh!’ From the outset of his gospel, John is making it very clear that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is identical to God.
  • In verses 29-34 we then meet John the Baptist, who when he sees Jesus, proclaims that he is ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’. Again, John is making it very clear that Jesus is Lord. This is then confirmed by the Holy Spirit coming to land on Jesus in the form of a dove.
  • In the first part of chapter 1, there are 7 names used for Jesus, including The Son of God,” “The Word,” and “The King of Israel, Messiah… it is in this context that we get to our passage.

Moving on then to our text for today, I would like to draw out 3 main themes:

  1. Mission starts with Jesus.
  2. Jesus has time for you, right now.
  3. We all get to join in with God’s mission.

1. Mission starts with Jesus

The verses we have today move very quickly—so it would be very easy to see this as a bit one sided—that Andrew and the un-named disciple (but suspected to be John himself), approach Jesus. But, as Tom Wright, the biblical scholar, and former Bishop of Durham points out, ‘What Andrew and the other disciple thought they were doing was looking for the Messiah. What they didn’t realise was that the Messiah was looking for them.’ It’s easy to miss that Jesus was actually out and about, engaging with ordinary people, so often we tend to focus on our mission, and our calling, when actually we get to play a small part in Jesus’s mission.

I’ve heard it said before, that the place of the church is to be a presence in the community, somewhere for people to go when they need someone to lend a listening ear, or to help when they need support. I want to affirm this, but, I would also argue from this text, that mission can’t just be reactive, that if we are to follow Jesus, we have to follow his example, and not be afraid to be out and about—a ‘proactive presence,’ I suppose.

2. Jesus has time for you, right now

In the next section, Jesus asks the two prospective disciples ‘what they want’—at which they very respectively approach him. They refer to him as ‘Rabbi’ which means teacher, a title of honour and respect, and ask him what seems to be a strange question—‘Where are you staying’? Are they homeless, do they need somewhere to stay? Or is it possibly that they want to know where they can find him later? Jesus doesn’t let them explain their question though, and simply replies ‘Come, and you will see’.

Jesus pre-empts their question, and invites them to follow him, now, straight away.

No need to wait.
No need to guess as to where they can find him.
No need to change who they are, fix up their sinful habits.

Jesus has time for them now, Jesus has time for you now.

Back when Barack Obama was president of the United States, I heard a story about how whilst most people would approach the president with respect, dignity, and honour, because of the position he held—there were two people who would just wander into the Oval Office, and climb onto his lap… they were of course his two daughters. This was because they knew that he was their dad, they had no reason to be distant, or fearful—he was their dad! I may not be the president of the United States, but I know that with my own children, they get my attention, because I love them… they don’t need to beg me for it. Now, the scandal of the gospel is that we have the same access to Jesus. We may think that it is us who approaches him, but actually, we find somehow that he is the one who is out there looking for us, and he has time for us right now.

We read next in verse 39, that this was at about 4pm, that they went with him to where he was staying, and stayed with for the rest of the day.

3. We have a part to play in God’s mission

Lets read on—verse 40. We now find that Andrew, goes to find his brother Simon. Already convinced of who Jesus was (we have found the messiah)—he brings Simon to meet Jesus, and Jesus gives them a new vocation. We can see this in the way that Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter, or the rock.

What I love about these couple of verses, is that although mission starts with Jesus—when we encounter him, we cannot help but join in!

We all have a part to play in God’s mission.

Just as Andrew immediately goes to find his brother, just as the woman by the well can’t help but tell people about the man who knew everything about her, just as we each have our own individual story, we in our own way are captivated by this Jesus, and brought into his mission.

Sometimes it might be a conversation at work, at school, at college. Sometimes it can be the most natural thing in the world—sometimes it can be difficult, and embarrassing! Sometimes, we may have a nudge from the holy spirit to pray for someone.

Or, maybe, sometimes it could be in the form of an invite…

I wouldn’t be stood here today, if my parent’s hadn’t been invited to do Alpha 27 years ago—it was the first Alpha course my church in Weston had ever offered, and no-one knew what to expect… all I know is that they met Jesus through it, and their lives, and my life as a result has never been the same since.

I understand that we are about to embark on another Alpha next term, why not ask the Lord who you can invite. Who is it that you can say to, ‘come and you will see’?

Mission starts with Jesus.
Jesus has time for you, right now.
We all have a part to play in mission.

These are the services for today.

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