Summary: The thing Jesus wants is to invite us into a life changing relationship with him.
Title: What Do You Want
Text: John 1:29-42
Thesis: The thing Jesus wants is to invite us into a life changing relationship with him.
In an article from The American Scholar by Arthur Crystal, entitled "Why Smart People Believe in God" Crystal mentions some of those smart people – among them, T. S. Elliot, Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Paschal, St. Augustine who believe in God. But Arthur Crystal himself does not believe. He gives all the reasons that we're familiar with.
When he nears the end of his article, he says, Christianity, in terms of appeal wins hands down. Here's a religion that says God died for sinners so that those sinners might come to heaven. Here is a religion, he says, that beckons us to believe in a God who wants to have us mortals join him in glory and that God has done everything possible to make that happen. He says you just have to acknowledge that this business of coming to God and loving God isn't nonsense. There are too many people who are smart who believe it. Then he says this:
To see the delight in the faces of those who sing his praises, to hear the Mass at Christmas, to attend Evensong is to feel more than anything else that one has been left out of a secret. It is also to understand that the devout do not simply believe in God, they experience God. And only a fool would prefer the pride of the cynic to such knowledge.
The God Arthur Crystal was referring to, “the God who died for sinners so that those sinners might come to heaven” is the Lamb of God John the Baptist identifies in our text today.
I. Identifying Comment
When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him he said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World!” John 1:29
The Gospel of John does not include the narrative of Jesus’ baptism. However, John the Baptist makes reference to his having baptized Jesus when he said, “I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.” John 1:33-34
So the day following Jesus’ baptism John the Baptist is hanging out and when he sees Jesus coming toward him, he pointed at Jesus and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
When our Corky was little we were serving the Lund Covenant Church in rural Western Kansas. We lived in Summit Township, population 33, which was in the southwest corner of Decatur County, population 2,800. Did I mention… all white people of Germanic or Nordic descent? I was the first non-Swede pastor of the Church we served.
We were spending Christmas in Detroit with Bonnie’s family and Bonnie, her mother and sister’s-in –law took the kids and went to the mall. When they returned Bonnie pulled me aside and told me that while walking in the mall, Corky had taken her by the hand and pulled her over to a man sitting on a bench, pointed at him and said, “Look Mommy, a brown man.”
When I was growing up we were taught that it was rude to point at people. But then we also understand that pointing can be helpful… particularly if you have a language barrier, pointing at things can be helpful. However we also know that pointing can be hurtful. We have whistleblower laws and witness protection programs specifically to protect people from being pointed out.
In the text today John the Baptist did what he was born to do and pointed out, i.e., identified Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Just a day earlier, God himself had done the same thing… announced it for all the world to hear, “This is my dearly loved Son who gives me great joy!”
The following day next day] John was again standing in the market place with two of his disciples and as Jesus walked by John looked at him and said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” John 1:35-36
Our text begins with an Identifying Comment: Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Now, having heard John the Baptist’s comment, we hear Jesus ask a question.
II. Imperative Question (Unavoidable…)
Jesus looked around and saw them following him, “What do you want?” he asked them. John 1:38
John the Baptist must have been a pretty stand-up guy… after identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God two of his own disciples left him and followed Jesus. I imagine most of us would have felt a little bummed if we were hanging out with two of our friends and they dumped us for some new and more popular friend.