Summary: God uses even the "quiet" types to introduce people to Jesus. (Adapted from WELS 2006 Mission Fest Sermon)
On May 30th, 2004, terrorists in Iraq kidnapped a Korean named Kim Sun Il. Kim had been working for a year with a South Korean firm that supplied goods to the U.S. Army, an opportunity he used as a means of gaining entrance into the country so that he could do what he really had come to do: serve as a quiet Christian missionary to Iraq. On June 22nd, Kim’s beheaded body was recovered outside of Baghdad.
Has it occurred to anyone here to do what Kim did – to serve as a missionary in a war zone, or do we get nervous just thinking about telling a friend about Jesus? According to a 2004 survey, only half of North American Christians said they talked to someone about Jesus that year (Barna, Feb. 2004 survey). In an effort to remind Christians of their privilege to tell others about Jesus, some churches have posted a sign at their parking lot exit which says, “You are now entering the mission field.” It’s a reminder that everyone, not just the pastor or the evangelism committee, is a missionary. Today we’re going to learn how God used an unlikely individual to be a missionary illustrating the truth that, indeed, every member of every congregation, including ours, is a missionary for Jesus.
The unlikely missionary we’re going to learn about is Andrew. Andrew seemed to be the strong (his name means “manly”) but quiet type. He originally worked as a fisherman but somewhere along the line learned about John the Baptist and went to hear him preach. Through John’s message the Holy Spirit worked faith in Andrew’s heart and Andrew became a disciple of John. It wasn’t John’s intent, however, that Andrew should follow him. John was there to point people to the Messiah. And so when Jesus passed by one day, John pointed and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) You see that’s how it works. Jesus is manifested to people, through people. You and I became aware of Jesus’ presence when someone pointed him out and proclaimed Jesus to be the one who takes away our sin.
The day after John pointed out Jesus, Andrew followed him. You would expect Jesus to be happy to gain a disciple but he turned and asked Andrew: “What do you want?” (John 1:38) That’s a question Jesus asks each of us this morning. What do we want with Jesus? Do we want him to fix our life? Do we want him to make us feel better? Do we want him to make us financially secure? Do we want him to make all our enemies suffer? Do we want him to make us popular? While Jesus can certainly do all these things it’s not the reason he came. He came as the Lamb of God to sacrifice his life for ours. He came to deal with our problem of sin and open the door to heaven. So no, life might not get any better for us here and now, in fact it might get even worse, but we won’t be disappointed with that when we remember that we follow Jesus because we’re looking for a better life, a perfect life without end in the world to come.
If Andrew was startled by Jesus’ initial question of what he wanted, he quickly got over it when Jesus invited him to spend the day. Boy, what a Saviour! There were a million of other things Jesus could have been doing but he took time to be with Andrew, to answer his questions, to show how all the Old Testament promises spoke about him.