1:35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:35-42, NRSV)
Let us pray: God of grace, you have given us minds to know you, hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise. Fill us with your Spirit that we may celebrate your glory and worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Why did you come to church for this morning? Why did you get out of bed, why on such a beautiful cool morning, why on the start of the NFL season, why not take a day of rest? When you could have do something else? Stayed at home, drinking coffee and relaxing… Did you come to church because you are looking for something?
- Did you come because you are looking for peace?
- Did you come because you are looking for forgiveness?
- Did you come because this is what you always do on Sunday Mornings?
- Did you come looking to fill a void in your life?
- Did you come because your parents made you? Or because of the kids?
- Did you come to hear Brenda play beautiful music and to hear our fabulous Choir’s sing?
Some of you may have come to church for an encounter. You come to encounter the Living God. Others of you may not even know why you are here this morning.
I had to be here because I am called and you pay me to be here. But what about you, “What are you looking for?”
- Knowledge of God?
- Peace of Mind?
- Guidance for your life?
- Space to thank for God of your blessings?
Why we come to church says something about us and what we want out of life. We are seekers. We are all looking for something. We Americans have “the pursuit of happiness” drummed into our minds and a central part of our cultural DNA.
So, most Americans say that they are looking for happiness! It used to be when life was shorter and much harder that people answered that what they wanted from life was “to go to heaven.” Not so much today we more live for the moment, for the here and the now. The disciples weren’t looking for happiness, in the same way that we do today. They were looking for survival and something more. So as we search for happiness we go to great links to find bliss, and we go all out to try to keep ourselves there.
So, why did you come to church today? Was it to find happiness? I don’t believe that the church or the Christian faith can bring us happiness but it does offer us a connection, a relationship with God and with others. Happiness maybe a byproduct of that relationship but it is not the goal of the church or the Christian faith. So if you came to church seeking happiness you may be disappointed.
Are you here because you are searching for something more, something deeper, are you here because you are searching for God?
Jesus asked his disciples the same sort of question, “What are you looking for?” The Gospel of John makes it clear in the opening verses that Jesus was not what some people were looking for.[i]
10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.[ii]
Even John the Baptist didn’t know that Jesus was the one, the messiah:
31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”[iii]
“What are you looking for?” It is a timeless question as relevant today as it was when Jesus asked it. The disciples answered Jesus with a strange question themselves,
38“Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”[iv]
To which Jesus responds with, “Come and see.”[v] Jesus answers their question with a simple invitation; Come and see….Come and see, what? Happiness, fulfillment, purpose, life, how to truly live?
Come and see… an invitation that opens a door, it is a welcome greeting, and Jesus offers the possibility of a new relationship, a relationship where we can have our lives changed by the living God. Jesus invites the disciples and by extension each of us into relationship with him. The invitation that Jesus gives to come and see is the beginning of a relationship. Sharing the truth of God, that God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to die for it.
Jesus invitation, is not a great sermon, it is not a compelling intellectual argument, not even a miracle, but instead it was a simple act of hospitality, an invitation; “Come and see.”
It is such a simple story, but John seems to want us to see something significant. John wants us to see that simple words of invitation are how the church begins.
Come and See is our theme for the year. You will hear it more than once in a sermon. You will see it on postcards and banners and hopefully it will become a part of you. The invitation you offer to others to come to church with you and the invitation Christ offers to you go deeper in your own faith.
Most of us are nervous about inviting someone to church because we’ve never done it. That means practice is probably the only solution to this problem. For this reason I encourage you during the passing of the peace or at the end of the service ask someone near you to share with you one reason they like our church. It’s not be a big deal, and yet it can open a door to a long and fruitful relationship.
Inviting someone to church can feel so intrusive. Yet we invite people to things all the time. To join us for dinner at a great new restaurant. To try a new book we just finished or to play tennis, to go to a ballgames with us or to come over for a drink. We’re actually quite good about inviting folks to come to things … just not to church. And, of course, we invite people to those things we really like, those things we’ve enjoyed and think others would, too. Then, our task is simply to think about who might also enjoy this event or activity and invite them.
It is a simple invitation, Come and see…. It is not about biblical knowledge, not about the amount of our faith, it is not about the correct creed or a deep theological statement or even a liturgical act, No a simple invitation to “Come and see.”
Come and see, it is a simple invitation to join the life changing adventure of faith and following Jesus. The great adventure begins with the invitation to Come and see . . . it is a simple invitation that you and I can offer others to come and see. We invite them to come and see a relationship with God so it is not up to us to fix it, to make it right, it is up to us to invite them to church, to invite them into our church, to invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ who can change their lives. Invite someone to come and see how Jesus can change their lives and in the process they and we just might find what we are looking for!
Come and see . . .
So why did you come to church this morning, was it to Come and see….
[i] Reverend Dr. K.C. Ptomey, Jr. A Homily on John 1:29-42, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 20, 2008. The Westminster pulpit, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN 37205.
[ii] John 1:10-11, NRSV. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[iii]John 1:31, NRSV. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[iv] John 1:38, NRSV. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[v] John 1:39, NRSV. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.