Summary: 1. An invitation to follow Jesus is always personal in nature 2. An invitation to Jesus is a "COME AND SEE" (Experiential) Invitation and 3. An Invitation to Jesus is an invitation to experience a Supernatural Connection
Title: Listening Eyes
In this sermon we examine what it means to be invited to follow Jesus -
1. An invitation to follow Jesus is always personal in nature 2. An invitation to Jesus is a "COME AND SEE" (Experiential) Invitation and 3. An Invitation to Jesus is an Invitation to experience a Supernatural Connection
Grace and peace from God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Let's dig into God's Word this morning!
Our passage in the Gospel of John takes place in a small fishing village on the north side of the Sea of Galilee called Bethsaida. Our passage tells us that Bethsaida was the home of a number of the disciples including Philip along with Andrew and Peter. It was also the place where a number of amazing miracles occurred:
+Jesus’ famous walk on water (Mark 6:45-51).
+It was here that Jesus was said to have cured a blind man (Mark 8:22-25)
+The feeding of five thousand (Luke 9:12-17).
As we read our passage we are to understand that our writer, the Apostle John is continuing his ever widening story of witness and faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Just a few verses prior to our passage, our writer is sharing the testimony of John the Baptist concerning Jesus along with the calling of Jesus' first disciples who also have come to believe in Jesus as Messiah and Lord.
In our passage we see the calling of two more disciples in the persons of Philip and Nathaniel. From Andrew down to Nathaniel we read a similar invitation - "COME AND SEE".
"Come and see". It is such a simple, open and gracious invitation. "Come and see" sums up for the most part the heart of Jesus' message and the whole of the Christian life. "Come and see" is an invitation to be rescued and redeemed and to have the penalty of sin removed from our lives and the power of sin broken.
But "come and see" is a little more interesting than it seems on the surface. The words "come and see" for a Jewish person mean something far more deeper and richer than those words do for a Gentile. And for us to fully understand what Jesus wants us to understand we have to go back and capture that deeper and richer meaning.
Judaism is a religion dedication to the art of listening. The emphasis on listening is one of Judaism's greatest contributions to the human race especially as it deals with the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. To be Jewish is to be a listener.
One of the greatest words in the Jewish faith is the word SHEMA. Shema is a word that is full of so many special meanings: to hear, to listen, to pay attention, to visualize, to understand, to internalize, to respond and to obey and those are only some of its most well-known meanings. Shema means to hear what God is saying. Shema means to obediently respond to the words of the LORD. Shema means to invite God's words to sink into your heart, soul and your mind and become a part of all your whole being.
A vast number of social and cultural anthropologists tell us that the majority of the world's modern culture hinges on two main foundations: That which comes from the ancient culture of Greece and that which comes from the ancient culture of Israel. These two cultures could not have been nor can they still be more different from one another.
Greece was fundamentally a visual culture. Its greatest accomplishments and its greatest contributions to our world have been those that you can take in with your physical eyes. Greece gave our world some of the greatest art, sculpture and architecture the world has ever seen. Greece gave the world some of the greatest theater, literature and sports that the world has ever seen. Each one of those things are sight related. Art, sculpture and architecture are by their very nature things to be viewed and peered upon. Everything about theater is visual and everything about sports is visual as well. Plato, the greatest philosopher of the Hellenistic culture thought of knowledge as a type of depth vision in which one learned how to see beneath the surface to see the true form of things.
The Greeks believed that one gained knowledge through seeing and observing things, forms and shapes. Seeing allowed one to gain the ability to have insight, foresight and even hindsight. It is from the Greeks that we get words and ideas like observation, perception and illustration. We shed light on a subject. When we understand something we often use the comment - "Now, I see." Much of today's Western thought has evolved around the fundamental use of sight. We have the Greeks to thank for much of that thought.