This is an adapted version of the sermon I preached this morning, the Second Sunday after Epiphany. The gospel text was John 1:29-42.
We meet John the Baptist again, and he’s pointing to Jesus. John was always pointing. If you look at artwork of him over the centuries, you will find that quite often he is depicted with one long bony finger pointing. Always pointing to Jesus. Do you remember a few weeks ago when we all pointed to the cross whenever we heard the word “light”? We were actually doing John the Baptist impressions. Like a compass pointing north, John always points to Jesus.
In today’s gospel reading, John pointed to him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And the next day, John pointed to him again and said again, “Here is the Lamb of God!” Two of John’s disciples got up and started to follow Jesus instead. John didn’t mind losing disciples. He knew that this was his purpose. So he just kept pointing. Pointing, as though to say, “Look! There he is! Go! Check him out! Go and see!”
And two people did that day. One of them was Andrew. The other? Well, we can call him Bob. Andrew and Bob went to Jesus, because John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to them.
Who are the John the Baptists in your life? Who pointed Jesus out to you? Who first pointed you on a path of faith? Or who pointed you in a way that made your faith deeper? Or who pointed you back when you drifted away for a time?
Those people pointed away from themselves toward Christ, and you went where they pointed, as Andrew and Bob went where John pointed. When he saw them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?”
That’s the big question, isn’t it? Why follow Jesus? What good would come from it? What did they expect to find? What did they want?
So, what are you looking for? You made the choice to come here today, despite the weather. There were other options available for your time. Why? Why are you here? What are you looking for in worship?
I can think of a few possible answers.
- Perhaps you’re here looking to become closer to God.
- Or perhaps you’re here looking for guidance, for clarity on life’s tough decisions.
- Perhaps you’re here looking for hope or comfort, because of something difficult.
- Perhaps you’re here looking for fellowship, for a community to be part of.
- Perhaps you’re here out of obligation, because it would please someone else.
- Or perhaps you don’t even know what you’re looking for.
- Or perhaps it’s something else.
I can’t give you any of those things. If you said you were coming here because you were hungry for a wafer dipped in wine, I could give you that. But the things you have come for, I can’t give you.
But I can be like John the Baptist, and point you to the one who can give them.
Looking to become closer to God? Come and see. Sing the hymns and hear the word and share in the offering plate and receive that wafer and wine. Come and see. God might just bring you closer.
Looking for guidance? Come and see. Listen to the word. Pray together. And God might just guide you.
Looking for hope or comfort? Come and see. Hear the words of forgiveness and grace. See the cross. Eat and drink at the table of grace. And God might just comfort you.
Looking for fellowship? Come and see. Sing the hymns as one. Share the peace. Share the bread and wine that is not just for each of us, but is for all of us, the meal that makes us united. And God might just bring you together with others.
Looking to fulfill an obligation? Well that one, you already did it. So, mission accomplished.
Don’t know what you’re looking for? That’s okay. That is absolutely okay. You are here, and God just might provide something you never expected. After all, Andrew and Bob didn’t know what they were looking for. When Jesus asked them, “What are you looking for?” the best they could answer was, “Where are you staying?” Nonetheless, Jesus said to them, “Come and see.”
Where is Jesus staying? He promised that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there. There are at least three of us here today. So come and see. Jesus is here. The Holy Spirit is here. God is here. And God will always provide.
Do you believe that? Do you believe that God is here?
If so, then here’s one thing I can give you today. I know that it is hard to invite other people to church. I know it is hard to talk to other people about God. But if you believe that God is here, then here’s one way you can do it. You can ask somebody, “Would you come with me to church this Sunday? God will be there.” And if they say, “What does that mean? What do you mean God is there?” You can simply say, “Come and see.” Come and see. Will it work? (shrug shoulders) Try it and see.
We’ll talk more next week.
…And if you’re reading this sermon online, but did not attend worship, well, I invite you to be there next Sunday. God will be there. Come and see!