Summary: 2nd in the Series "Near to His Heart: The Gospel of John"
This morning is the second message in our series “Near to His heart.” Last week we saw how our drawing near to the Lord is only possible because He drew near first—he put on human flesh and came to earth. This week we see the second thing that makes it possible for us to draw near—the fact that he makes the invitation. Watch with me.
Show video: John 1:35-51
Army Recruiting Slogans
I Want You
Be all that you can be
An Army of one
The army’s recruiting pitch has been evolving over the years as the needs and desires of the target population has changed. But Jesus hasn’t changed his pitch, in fact...
Proposition: Jesus made the same offer to the first disciples that he makes to us today.
Interrogative: So the question we hope to answer today is, "what is the recruiting pitch that Jesus uses? What does he ask of us and what does He promise in return?"
Transition: Well let’s take a look. Jesus begins not with a demand but with a very reasonable offer…
1. Come and See
vv. 35-39 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" "Come," he replied, "and you will see."
I like oranges, but this time of year sometimes they’re sour. Now tell me is this one that I’m eating sweet or sour?
You don’t know do you? Why? Because you haven’t tasted it. The psalmist wrote taste and see that the Lord is Good. And Jesus said to these first disciples Come and see. They asked for information, "Where are you staying?" But Jesus understood that they wanted more than information and he offered relationship...come with me, be with me, find out about me.
Some time ago I spoke with someone who had been raised in a religious home and he said his impression had always been that he was being told "this is what you must believe and you must never question it." My response was that that wasn’t how Jesus pitched it. Jesus said, "come and see." A few verses later when Philip went to Nathanael with the good news about Jesus, when Nathanael raised doubts, Philip repeated the words of Jesus, "Come and See."
In fact the very same offer was made to shepherds on the hills outside Bethlehem 30 years earlier. The Angels said, "come and see the child born to be your savior." Three years later as two women named Mary went to the tomb of Jesus, the Angel said to them, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay (Matthew 28:6)."
Always the offer of Jesus has been an invitation to know the truth by knowing HIM. "Come and See" the Lord says.
And then he invites us further along the path to knowing Him. He says...
2. Follow Me
v. 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."
S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."
In our society everybody wants to be thought of as a leader. I’ve heard it said if you want something funded in the Army all you have to do is put "leadership" in the title. Bookstores have shelves of books on being a leader. But I’ll bet you’d be hard pressed to find one about being a follower. Yet that is the invitation Jesus makes to Philip and to us, "follow me."
The name that we use to refer to this group of twelve reflects this invitation. We call them disciples--which simply means followers. In the early church this was the name applied universally to the believers. It was not for several years that the name Christian was applied. Followers of Jesus were called simply "followers" or "disciples"
Relationship requires that we walk in the same path. As I’ve said before, Christ doesn’t call us to nothing, he calls us to something--to follow Him. No longer to walk in the path of our own choosing but to walk in his path, a path of doing what is right. This is what the Bible calls repentance-- turning around. It is not how we are saved but it is how we respond to the good news that Jesus has died to pay the price for our sins.