Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rabbi? Messiah? Son of God? King?

Sermon Text:  John 1:35-51 

I can’t believe it’s only been two days.  So much has happened.  So much has changed.

Yesterday, Andrew and I were standing by the Jordan with John.  It was so early that the usual crowds had only begun to trickle in.  We were talking when suddenly John turns and points and says, "See!  Look there! 
That one!  Here is the Lamb of God.”

The day before, John had pointed him out – The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,

  • -        who comes to reconcile all people with God, 
  • -        who comes to restore God’s reign of justice and peace, 
  • -        who comes to show us God’s will. 

The one upon the Spirit of God descended and remains, who will baptize with that same Holy Spirit.

Now…here he was, walking by us.  John looked as us as if to say, “What are you waiting for?”

So we followed.

Jesus turned and saw us, looked at us as if he was looking deep into our souls.  “What are you looking for?”  he asked.

What were we looking for?  I don’t know if we knew.  I still don’t know if I know for sure what I’m looking for.  All I knew then was that I had to find out more about this man John called the Lamb of God.

We asked the only thing we could think of, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”

Jesus understood, maybe even more than we did, what we were asking.  Jesus knew we were really asking, “Be our Teacher.  Let us follow you.  Let us go where you go, stay where you stay.”

Jesus said, “Come and see.”

We went with him.  And as he taught us, as we talked with him, we began to see just what John meant.  Andrew was so excited that he had to run and get his brother Simon.

“Simon, Simon -Come and see – We have found the Messiah!”

Simon came.  Jesus saw him, looked at him as if he was looking deep into Simon’s soul, and said, “Simon, son of John,  I shall call you Cephas.

Now the Gospel writer translated Cephas for his readers – in Greek, it’s Peter.  I shall translate it for you – in English the closest would be Rocky.

John laughed – Jesus had hit the nail right on the head.  Simon Peter was a rock - strong, immovable, stubbornly loyal. 

That was yesterday.  This morning, Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  Andrew, and Peter and I, new disciples that we were, followed him.  We weren’t sure why we were going to Galilee.  We were sure we wanted to go where ever Jesus went.

Turns out, Jesus was seeking those who were seeking him.  Yesterday we thought we had found the Messiah.  Today, we realized that the Messiah had found us.  Just as he found Phillip today, inviting him:

                “Come and see.
                “Follow me.”

Phillip came and saw.  Like Andrew, Phillip became so excited he just had to find Nathanael.  “Nathanael, Nathanael! Come and see!  We have found the One written about in the Law and the Prophets.  “Come and see Jesus from Nazareth.”

Right then, the only thing Nathanael could only see was that Phillip was excited about someone from Nazareth of all places!  He scoffed, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Nathanael’s skepticism didn’t faze Phillip.  “Come and see.”

Nathanael came.  Jesus saw him, really looked at him as if he was looking deep into his soul, and said, “Nathanael, you are a straight shooter.  You say what you think.  An honest man.”

Nathanael just looked at Jesus.  “How do you know me? “

Jesus said, “I saw you under the fig tree waiting for Phillip.”

And right then and there, Nathanael saw what we were beginning to see:  “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

Jesus smiled at him.  “All it took was to change your mind about something good coming from Nazareth was for me to tell you I saw you under the fig tree?   Just wait!  You will see – you all will see - even greater signs.”

“Come and see.  Follow me.  Abide with me.

“And you will see heaven met earth, and angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” 

I’m not really sure what Jesus meant by that.  Angels ascending and descending sounds a lot like the story about Father Jacob when he was fleeing from his brother Esau and spent the night in the wilderness.  In his dream, he saw a ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending.  He realized that this place where he slept was the house of God – a place where God dwelt on earth.

Angels descending and ascending on the Son of Man?  That would mean the Son of Man is a place where God lives!

Does that mean – mean that God dwells in Jesus?  That God lives among us in human form?  

That’s too incredible to believe!

That's dangerous to believe...

I still have a lot of questions.  I don’t understand everything Jesus is saying. 

But that’s alright – Jesus has asked me to come and see.  Jesus has found me and invited me to follow him.  To remain with him.

I’m sure I’ll have my questions answered.  And if Jesus continues to say things like things, I’m sure I’ll have even more questions.  

Rabbi, Messiah.

Son of God, Son of Man,

King of Israel, written about in the Law and Prophets

Lamb of God.

I still want to find out more.


  1. What I hear you saying very beautifully is (I suspect) your truth: "I still have questions . . . I still want to find more." Your sermon does what it says: Beckons us to follow. Works for me! Thank you, Ramona!

  2. thanks for sharing Ramona. love your writing style, drawing us into the story.