Summary: Disciples of Christ introduce others to Jesus.
"Please Introduce Me"
Sermon by Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker
Trinity United Methodist Church
2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Years ago I was taking a tour of the state capitol building with some friends who worked there. We were riding on the elevator and stopped at a floor and a man in a suit got on. As he stepped into the elevator he nodded at my friends. All of us got off at the same floor and he walked one way and we walked the other. Suddenly recognition came to me. I looked back and said, "Wait a minute. Wasn’t that the governor?" My friends said, "Yes." And I said, "Well, why didn’t you introduce me?" I’ve never met anyone famous and I missed my chance.
However, I can think of other opportunities to meet people that have not slipped by. I’ve been in gatherings and made sure that I was introduced to people who had caught my interest, perhaps a speaker or someone skilled in a particular area. When it comes to large gatherings of relatives, I make sure that I’m introduced to the newest additions to the family, babies, spouses, the boyfriends and girlfriends.
You may have stories of introduction yourself, a memorable meeting with someone interesting, famous or even someone who would change your life, like your spouse, a new friend or colleague. Our gospel text this morning is a story about introductions, and how lives are changed when people introduce others to Jesus. Read John 1:29-42.
We find in the beginning of this passage that John the Baptist will boldly introduce the truth of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. We don’t read about John’s witness, but hear it directly. "Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." John goes on to say that even his practice of baptism is a way to introduce Jesus to the world, that Jesus "might be revealed to Israel." John ends his introduction with the statement, "I myself have seen and have witnessed that this is the Son of God." The verbs "seen" and "witnessed" (or testified) here are written in the Greek past perfect. That means that they are actions that happened in the past, but continue into the present. Have seen and continue to see, I have witnessed and continue to witness that Jesus is the Son of God.
However, this introduction, while a significant testimony to who Jesus is, may not capture the heart. John boldly introduces Jesus to the crowd, but we have no record of who responded personally to the introduction. I have been to concerts and shows where famous performers have been introduced. I’ve seen them in person, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve actually met them. We can go to a sporting event and cheer as the first team is named one by one and takes the field or the court. We see them, we hear their names, but we don’t get that personal connection. Unless, that is, they decide to climb into the stands. . . but that’s an introduction we’d like to avoid.
Beginning in verse 35, we find there is a difference in the introduction. It is much more personal. And I would propose that John 1:35-42 gives us a working model for how disciples come to know Jesus. First, the potential disciple is introduced to Jesus. The disciple approaches Jesus and is recognized and named by him. The disciple comes to know Jesus and then seeks out and brings new people to Jesus. (Shepherd 24, 2005) I invite you to look a little more closely at those steps and see how they might apply to our walk as disciples of Christ.
The first thing that happens is a personal introduction to Jesus. John was standing with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by. He did not hesitate to tell his disciples who they were looking at. "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" So the first step to belief in Jesus Christ is being introduced, being made aware that Jesus is with us. As people of faith, we personally identify the circumstances of life as blessing from God, but how eager are we to share that knowledge with others. When it comes to seeking guidance and support, to finding hope for the future, we turn to Christ. But are we willing to tell others that Jesus is so nearby?
My sister was waiting with my mother in the Edmonton, Alberta Airport. Mom was waiting to catch the next flight to Toronto. A group of rather large men started lining up to check in for the same flight. My mother didn’t think much of it until my sister was practically swooning. She whispered, "It’s the Edmonton Oilers. They’re going to fly with you. Be sure to talk to someone." So they all got on the plane. Mom chatted with hockey stars, and she wouldn’t have had a clue about who was with her, if she hadn’t been told.