Summary: Jesus invites John the Baptist’s disciples to “Come and See.” Jesus offers the same invitation to us—to follow him and experience a relationship with him.
John 1:35-51 "Experiential Faith"
Social commentators have brought it to our attention that we are talking to each other less. We are spending more time on Facebook, Twitter, and texting each other. But, face to face communication is becoming rare. This doesn't necessarily mean that we aren't with other people. Often we are with other people, but we ignore them; we're off in our own little world. We're at the dinner table with our cell phones out texting or checking our email accounts instead of conversing with those at the table with us. Families can physically be in the same room, but one might be gaming with someone on the other side of the world, another viewing a movie, a third checking on work projects, while a fourth emails or texts. Talk about togetherness.
Today's text focus on men who encounter Jesus, follow--or remain with--Jesus, and are transformed by that relationship. We are very similar to these men, who eventually became Jesus' disciples. We talk about the fact that we are 'In Christ." We have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, we seem to often ignore God's presence in our lives. We exist in our own little world--to our detriment.
As we begin the New Year, it is important for us to determine how we can have a life transforming experience and relationship with Jesus.
STAYING WITH JESUS
The Lord revealed to John the Baptist that Jesus was the Messiah. John saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus and remain. Later while John is walking with his disciples John sees Jesus and points out to his disciples that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. A couple of John's disciples decide to follow Jesus.
The word, "follow" in the gospel of John is a powerful word. The men who approached Jesus wanted to follow Jesus. They didn't simply want to hang around Jesus as innocent and indifferent bystanders. For the gospel writer, to follow means to become a disciple. The men wanted to learn from Jesus. They understood at the very core of their beings that Jesus had something profound and practical to teach them. The men wanted Jesus to show them the deeper meanings of life.
The men also wanted to remain with Jesus. This is the same word that the gospel writer uses to describe what "The Word," did when he "dwelt" among us. The word means to pitch one's tent. The men wanted to live in a relationship with Jesus. They wanted to do more than just learn. The men wanted to experience a one on one relationship with Jesus.
This one on one relationship transformed their lives. The were so excited about the affect that Jesus had upon them, that they couldn't wait to share it with their friends and tell them what they had discovered.
Jesus offers us the same relationship that he offered to this disciples. He offers to teach us and to reveal to us the deeper meaning of life in order that we may experience a full, abundant life. Jesus offers us his presence in our lives and a love that absolutely nothing can separate us from. As we begin this New Year, it is necessary for us to ask ourselves if we are going to turn away from the distractions that pull us away from Jesus, and are we going to both follow and remain (dwell) with him.
Jesus asks John's disciples "What are you looking for"? In other words, Jesus asks them what they want to happen in their relationship with him; what are their needs and expectations. The gospel writer does not record how the disciples responded to Jesus' question, but he does record how the lives of the disciples were transformed.
Once they met Jesus, the disciples were never the same; they were transformed. The disciples begin their relationship with Jesus the address Jesus as Rabbi, or teacher. Certainly this is a title of respect and honor. But, Andrew begins to called Jesus Messiah. When he goes to find his brother, Peter, he tells Peter that he has found the Messiah.
The transformation that the disciples experience is also demonstrated by their desire to tell others about Jesus and have their family and friends meet Jesus and encounter Jesus as they have. Andrew tells his brother, Peter about Jesus. Later Jesus calls Phillip to follow him. Phillip finds his friend, Nathaniel," and brings him to Jesus.
Sometimes we forget about the transformational power of Jesus' relationship with us. We don't expect much from our relationship with Jesus (perhaps we don't really want to be changed, either). Consequently, we aren't transformed--merely modified or occasionally updated. How do you want to be transformed by your relationship with Jesus? What is your need--your deepest need?