Let’s join the Gospel crowds coming from everywhere - Jerusalem, the Temple, the hill country up north, shepherd’s fields, and fishing villages, and push in to see the hippie-like, health nut named John shouting like the Hebrew prophets long before him.
Look around and notice we’re in the company of ordinary people who don’t feel good about themselves;
a husband has decided to divorce his wife - “to put her away,” a son has just demanded to have his assumed part of the estate, while his parents are still living, an employer has just dismissed all the laborers, with no severance pay or benefit package, the taxes are not paid, prison and slavery loom in the future, politicians are bickering, armies are marching, and people are being trampled into the ground.
Wr find Like them, we have our own reasons not to feel good about ourselves;
guilt we can’t shake, hurtful words we can’t pull back,
broken relationships we can’t mend, failures we can’t redeem,
a burning resentment ignited by the loss of a job, a promotion we watched someone else get,
or the seething anger fueled by today’s politics that’s scorching a friendship, threatening a marriage, dividing and emptying a church and making it impossible to hold a conversation around the table or online.
John, the Baptizer’s words cut into our thoughts as he shouts,
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!”
that means “is here,” is staring us in the face!”
As Jesus comes to be baptized, we hear John’s refusal; it has to do with his looking at Jesus, his cousin, Whom John perceives is
the sight of God’s kingdom standing before him.
But Jesus insists on having the water poured over His head.
When John does, something phenomenal happens;
God’s Spirit descends on Jesus, like a dove,
prompting John to exclaim, “This is the Son of God.”
He shouts for Jewish ears to hear, “Look, here is the Lamb of God.”
Here is God among us come to mark us with His blood that will
end the annual sacrifice of the lamb at Passover;
here is the One in Whom we see ourselves being forgiven,
pardoned, restored to be a child in God’s family, God’s kingdom.
We spot two who have been following John, turn away to walk after
Jesus as they do, we hear Jesus ask,
“What are you looking for?”
We hear them answer with a question,
“Rabbi (teacher), where are you staying?”
implies what they are asking is,
“We want to get a closer look at you.
“We want to sit and listen to You;
we want to learn from You;
we want the life we see in You.”
and Jesus gives an answer, “Come and see.”
Simply, “Come and see.” Come, spend time with Me.”
Later, in John’s Gospel, as Jesus is on His way to the cross, the invitation intensifies to “Abide in me and in you.”
Fully immerse yourself in me and let me reside fully,
completely, permanently with you.
A British webpage weekly raises the question: “How would you spend a day with Jesus –
so He could get to know you - and you to know Him?”
‘Spend a day with Jesus” – the Jesus we meet in the Gospels when we read ourselves into the scenes, into the conversations, into the stories Jesus is telling; when we walk with Jesus – all the way to the cross and on beyond Easter’s empty tomb;
“spend a day with Jesus” until we discover Jesus is spending every day with us and we find ourselves saying, “This is God in human flesh; this is a glimpse of what life will be like when
in God’s time, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God.
A realization that comes, not like a sudden bolt from heaven, nor a hellfire and damnation sermon, nor an awakening from a near-death experience; but as gentle, as unassuming as a common, pigeon-like dove settling in with the conviction,
“This is the life I want to live.” The Jesus life.
Just one day with Jesus and Andrew has to run and tell his brother,
“We have found the Messiah”
and he brings him to Jesus; it’s as simple as that;
no high-pressure sales pitch, no threatening born-again Christian’s “if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal Savior, you’ll burn in hell’s eternal fire!” No!
Just, “Come and see” Jesus in the company of others who “abide” in Him and He in them. In the words of Linda Strohmier,
“Come and see what it's like to live among a community of people committed to growing and seeking. Come and see what it's like to feel hope in the face of the despair of the world around us, to see light shining in the gloom, to know love and welcome in the midst of a world of pain. Come to the Word; come to the (Table). Come to… ‘love,’ in Christ.” www.episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon/2nd-sunday-after-epiphany-year-
“Come and see” Jesus identifying and qualifying today’s loosely used and thrown about word “spirit.” See He is the Spirit, the breath, the life of God that dwells, and marks a congregation, a church, as people
who “come and see” and stay in the company of Jesus.
David Lose, Lutheran seminary president, professor, and writer, says, “We don’t have to have all the answers, but simply be ready to offer an invitation…not to get more people to church or to stop decline, but rather to invite people into the joy and life we have experienced in Christ,” and he adds, “This Sunday might just be the day to ignite this turn, this new reformation,…offer a simple, three-word invitation: “come and see,” and know Jesus is offering the invitation through us.” (http://www.davidlose.net/2017/01/epiphany-2-a-a-question-invitation-and-promise/)
As a dear Christian friend from India says, “The Christ in me greets the Christ in you.”
Dr. William B. McClain, professor of preaching and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary, tells of meeting a tailor in Seoul, Korea who introduced himself as “Smitty Lee.” and asked if “Smitty” was a Korean name. He said no, and then told how his life had been saved during the Korean War by a courageous American soldier from Virginia, who was called Smitty Ransom. The tailor went on to explain an Asian custom, summing it up in two simple sentences: “He saved my life. I took his name.”
How the simple invitation, “Come and see” becomes life-saving when extended to another person who finds and is found by Jesus Who gives us His name.
So, “Who’s waiting to be found?”
Who is Andrew’s brother? And who of us is Andrew? Amen.