On Sunday January 19th our deacon David Hunt led worship at Wesley Chapel. We began worship as we sang ‘Crown him with many crowns’. David led the opening prayers. We are not to take Jesus for granted but be expectant. Jesus’ earlier appearances come after years of waiting. How would the disciples of John react to John pointing him out? David asked us if we could remember when we first heard about Jesus and what Jesus meant to us. We sang ‘He is Lord, he is Lord’. We read Psalm 40v1=12 responsively on the theme of waiting patiently for the Lord. We then heard the gospel reading from John 1v29-42 and sang ‘Let earth and heaven agree.’ There are a variety of images of Jesus such as ‘The Lamb of God.’
The invitation to find out more about Jesus is the underlying theme of the sermon. John the Baptist pointed away from himself to Jesus and Andrew having met Jesus introduced his brother Simon to Jesus. They needed to see Jesus for themselves. The Pharisees came to see John who was baptising with water. The one coming after him was more important than him. John saw Jesus the next day and pointed him out as God’s Son, the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God is strange terminology to us but it was meant a lot to that generation. In the Old Testament the sins were put on to the scapegoat who was driven into the wilderness, which helped them with their guilt, so they could make a fresh start. The lamb is associated with innocence and harks back to the protection of the Hebrew first born, when the first born of the Egyptians were struck down. Even in the first chapter of John’s gospel John was pointing to the cross by describing Jesus as the Lamb of God.
Matthew in his gospel saw Jesus as king; Luke saw Jesus as the son of man; Mark saw him as the servant, but John saw Jesus as the Son of God. John’s gospel started before time began when the Word was. Before all things we can see his glory and we saw his glory at the beginning of John’s gospel. Now the Son of God is here among us walking with us. John says he has seen and can testify that Jesus is Son of God. John the Baptist pointed the way to Jesus. Andrew responded to John’s direction and approached Jesus, who asked him what he was looking for. How would I respond? Would I say the same thing as Andrew by asking him where he lived? Was it a silly question to ask? The Word became flesh and lived among us; maybe he was right to ask where Jesus was staying. Jesus gave a low key, unthreatening invitation to Andrew to come and see. It was a low key invitation to us to enter into a relationship with Jesus. It offered them and offers us the opportunity to come and experience Jesus; Andrew found out that Jesus was unique and could not keep Jesus to himself. He went to tell Simon his brother and brought him to Jesus and let Jesus do the rest. Simon went on to become as Peter the leader of the church.
It is a small thing to invite people to meet Jesus and share him with others. Our role is to offer Jesus to others, not to tell them what they should do or not but let Jesus do the rest. We were challenged to think about when first heard about Jesus. I grew up in a high Anglican Church St Wilfred’s, where I saw God as a distant God behind a screen, who would punish me for letting him down! My friend Phyllis came to school very happy as she had met Jesus, so I went to the meetings and went forward declaring I was going to follow Jesus, as I was scared that I would be condemned to hell if I didn’t. That was not my real commitment but at university I understood that Jesus had died for us all and gave my life to Jesus; suddenly I understood what I had been singing for all my life as Christmas carols; it was if a veil had been removed from my eyes. I then learnt more as I joined Bible study and prayer groups.
Jesus’ invitation to come and see continues today as Jesus lives among us. Let us ask people to join us on that journey, as we learn more every day of our lives about Jesus. Come and see and discover more about Jesus, Son of God. We sang ‘God who seeks us on a journey.’ David led the intercessions and worship concluded when we sang ‘Jesus the Name high over all.’