John 1:29-42 (1:36) – January 15, 2023
Have you ever looked in a Where’s Waldo? book? The character we know as Waldo was first drawn in England in 1986 by illustrator Martin Handford, and the first book with the character published in September 1987. “Wally” was his name originally in the UK, although the worldwide popularity of this character often gave him different name changes. Although, he always looked the same, no matter where the books were published, regardless of his name.
In our Scripture reading today, we have several distinctive names for the brand new teacher and preacher, Jesus of Nazareth. We can see several different people with different ideas about this preacher, too!
We cannot go to a book and look up an exact photograph or definitive portrait of Jesus of Nazareth, though. Sure, different artists throughout the years have drawn what they think Jesus might have looked like. Or, their impressions of what Jesus might have resembled. But, no one can be exactly sure how Jesus looked.
This Scripture reading today helps us to understand quite a number of things about Jesus, though. Not exactly how he looked, like a digital photograph, but more importantly, about His character. We have three instances where people introduce others to Jesus. Each one talks about Jesus in a slightly different way.
When you introduce someone, do you lead off with an important aspect of their character? Or, telling people what you find most endearing about them?
Let’s see what John the Baptist said about Jesus: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” and “I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” John says some very significant things.
John the Baptist not only had this calling to baptize people, but he also understood that he was the Messiah’s forerunner. Every day in the Temple in Jerusalem, a lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the people of Israel. John was fully acknowledging that Jesus was the Messiah, born to take away the sins of the world.
John knew Jesus well. (They were cousins!) What is more than that, John also stated that he saw the Holy Spirit come down and remain on Jesus at His baptism. The Person who had that happen was a special Person, indeed! John names Jesus “God’s Chosen One.” John was the one who pointed people to Jesus the Messiah.
Do you need an introduction to Jesus? Perhaps, a re-introduction? Maybe you haven’t been following Him much any more. Maybe you have left Jesus behind, and are going your own way. Don’t you think – don’t I think – that we can walk more closely with Jesus from now on?
The next day, John again goes walking with two of his disciples and identifies Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” We can see that John fully expects God’s chosen Messiah. John’s disciples do, too, because they immediately leave John and start following Jesus.
Have you – have I – recently thought about ways we learn about Jesus? I know this church and especially this sanctuary is very familiar to many here. But, is there anything here in the sanctuary that tells us more about Jesus? Let’s look around. First and foremost, there is the large cross up above. This reminds us all of Jesus and the whole purpose of Him coming into the world. Jesus willingly became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
But, that is not all! Look at the altar. We see the chalice or cup, and the plate for communion. I know our Scripture reading today comes from the first chapter of John, and this example of communion is the end of the story. This is one of the concrete, tangible ways that Jesus has given us to remember Him. And, it is definitely a way to introduce people to Jesus.
We also have visual reminders in our church banners, and audible reminders in the church hymns and other music. Everywhere we look and listen we have introductions to Jesus.
Our Scripture today gives us just a glimpse about Andrew, one of John’s disciples who turns to follow Jesus. It was Andrew who was so excited about meeting God’s chosen Messiah, Jesus, that he immediately got his brother Simon Peter and introduced the two of them. Plus, Andrew was so enthusiastic that he was eager to introduce everyone he could to Jesus.
Today’s Scripture reading from John’s Gospel “is a story about people who told others what they knew and introduced their friends to important people. They teach about Jesus in everyday situations to people they knew.”  I give you a challenge, to be like John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples! Speak up to our friends, and siblings at home, or neighbors or coworkers, or wherever you are during the week. Even if people have some understanding about God, there is always more to learn, to know and understand!
Do we need an introduction to Jesus? Perhaps, a re-introduction? Do we hear the call to follow this Chosen One of God who restores not just a nation but all of creation to right relationship with God? Do we hear a call to join with Andrew to introduce Jesus to our neighbors and families? I’ve found the one we’ve been looking for, the one in whom our restless hearts will find their rest!
Let us take these words to heart, and go and do them. Alleluia, amen.
(Suggestion: visit me at my other blogs: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. #PursuePEACE – and A Year of Being Kind . Thanks!