"Know the Generosity of God…and never thirst" (John 4)
Know the Generosity of God…and never thirst! (John 4)

What Are You Looking For?

Sermon on John 1:29-42

John 1:29-42

29[John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Flip Wilson, a comedian from back in the 1960’ and early 70’s.  He hosted his own variety show and was often a guest on the Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, and was named by Johnnie Carson as one of the funniest comedians on television.

He coined several phrases you may have heard before:

 “When you’re hot, you’re hot and when you’re not you’re not.” 

“The Devil made me do it.”

And, “What you see is what you get.” 

But if you ever watched Flip Wilson, or read about him, that was really not always the case. 

What you see wasn’t all you got. 

If you were to watch Flip Wilson, you would see a man who was funny and entertaining, but that was really not the man he was –

Flip had dark side to his life.  When he was about 7 years old, his mother took off with another man, drained the family’s bank account, leaving him and his nine siblings.

His father couldn’t raise the children, and after living in basements, tool sheds and coal bins, the children were placed in foster homes.  To make a long story-short, Flip had a horrific childhood.

The funny and entertaining man had a “not-so-funny” and entertaining life.  His private world was driven by substance abuse, selfishness, and distrust.

What you see is what you get – is not really always the case –

Our lives – who we are – and what drives us – are often hidden and sometimes buried deep into our souls. 

What you see is NOT always what you got! 

And, I wonder if that wasn’t the case for these new disciples that followed Jesus that day.  I would love to know what they were thinking that day when John the Baptist yells out…There’s the man!  There’s the One who will take away our sins.

We are in this story with these new disciples.  We have four consecutive days, in which if we were to close our eyes, we can be there, walking along with John the Baptist and these disciples.

Day 1: The Jews sent priests and Levites to come and question John the Baptist about his identity.  Who are you?  Are you the Messiah?  Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet?

And, John responds, “No!  I am the one who has come to prepare the way of the Lord.  I baptize with water, but the one coming will baptize with the Holy Spirit. 

The Next Day…Day 2: “There He is!  Here is the Lamb of God!  He is the one who take the sin of the world! 

The Next Day…Day 3:  Two of John’s disciples heard John say that “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” and they begin to follow him.  And, when Jesus notices that they are following him, he turns around and asked them, “What are looking for?”

They respond, “Where are you staying?”

And, Jesus says to them, “Come and See.”

And, so they do…until about 4:00 in the afternoon. 

The Next Day…Day 4:  They head to Galilee, these new disciples and Jesus, where Jesus gathers more of his disciples and then his ministry begins.

Here we go…we are on this journey with them. 

But It’s the profound question that Jesus ask these young boys and the dialogue that takes place as they begin to follow Jesus that intrigues us…

What are looking for?  Where are you staying?  Come and See.

Jesus invites them to the place he is staying.

What did they talk about that afternoon?

What did Jesus tell them?  What did he say and how did he say it?

What did he stress?

What impressed the disciples the most?

But, for me, it really begs the question, “What did they see?”

Jesus invited them to “Come and See.”  What did they see?

I met a woman the other day and her story has stuck in my mind. 

She said that she had always been a Christian – grew up Catholic but has now been in the Lutheran church for the last 50 years or so.  Like many young adults, she said that she fell away from the church for a few years and didn’t think about God or her faith very often.

However, not too long after her daughter was born, she found herself back in the church and so she began church shopping.   That’s when she ended up in the Lutheran church.

She said she loved her church.  And, on one Sunday, as she sat down in the pews just before worship started, she felt someone standing behind her and he put his hand on her shoulder.

Thinking it was someone she knew in the church, she turned around to see who it was standing behind her with their hand on her shoulder…

And, she said when she turned around, looked up, and she saw Jesus. 

Without a doubt…there He was…He was the Man!  The Lamb of God – looking down at her and smiled at her.

She said, “I smiled back turned back around.”  As she told her story, her tears demonstrated how overwhelmed she was with what had happened.

What are looking for?  What is it that you are seeking?  What is it that you are hoping to find?

Let’s face it…this life we live is hard. 

This question that Jesus asked is the heart of the human condition.  Is it not?

We live in a society that is becoming increasingly allergic to faith.  The mantra in the air we breathe is, “What you see is what you get.”

But, I believe that everyone has a craving for depth, but too often people live their lives as if God doesn’t even exist.  The world in which, we live pushes us – pushes humanity – for the desire for something more – something deeper and something more meaningful.

What are you looking for? 

I believe the answer for each and every one of us – is LOVE.  We all want to be loved – truly loved.

And, to be truly loved is to be forgiven for all the mistakes we have made along the way. 

No wonder the disciples followed Jesus that day…

Here is the Lamb of God…the One who takes away the sin of the world! 

Jesus was LOVE.  Jesus is LOVE! 

What is it that you are looking for? 

Well, I’m going to tell you…I’m very envious of the woman who turned around, looked up and saw Jesus, who then smiled at her…

She saw LOVE – Pure LOVE.  She saw the One who died on a cross just for her – Just for you – even though not a single one of us deserve it.

Come and SEE!  Come and SEE the Lamb of God, the Savior of the World, the Messiah, the King of the Jews, the CHRIST Child…

I believe that the disciples did not get what they saw – but more than what they ever dreamed possible…

When we come into this place to worship, we see each other, but what we get is a church family that binds us and unites us in profound ways.

When we go to the baptismal font, we see the water and the font – but what we get is the HOLY SPIRIT that descends from heaven and abides in us the rest of our lives and into eternity.

And, as we come to the table, we see bread and wine, but what we get is Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

What we get is LOVE. 

What we get is Jesus Christ. 

The One who died for us.

The One who loves us so much that He emptied Himself of God – became fully human just so that He can stay with us – abide with us in our hearts forever.

What are you looking for? 

Because if you are looking for the Christ who died for you.  He is here!

Where are you staying?

If you are looking for the place where Jesus is staying.  He is here.

Come and See!

Come and See the One who is revealed to us through each other, the water poured out for us, and in the breaking of the Bread.

Come and See is to experience God’s Amazing Grace.

Come and See is to look up and see Jesus – pure Love.



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