Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

January 12, 2017

Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon John 1:29-42:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 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.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” 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.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).”

                                                   (John 1:29–42, NIV)

We live in a dynamic, risky world.  In this, times are always changing.  People who are flexible, transitory and can “go with the flow” often do well.

There is also another tendency.  It’s one which speaks to a permanence in our relations based on a need for familiarity and security.  It enables nurture and can also help people flourish.

When the two world views come in close contact it feels like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object … like one must yield in order for the other to flourish.

This tension might be well illustrated when traveling. For example when moving from one destination to another, it’s often necessary to expend extra time and energy as a part of meeting with helpful, even interesting people along the way.  Simultaneously, in the midst of a journey we might also yearn for home… our place to hunker down and just hang out, anticipating restoration from the rigors of a long trip. 

Today’s passage implies a similar tension.   John and his disciples encounter Jesus while they are on a journey.  In the midst of their subsequent conversation John "gives way" to Jesus and suggests to his disciples that Jesus, (not John) is the one to follow, and encourages a transition.  The idea might have initially been resisted by John’s disciples because of loyalty, but Andrew decides follow John’s advice and spend some time with Jesus.  After a while Andrew sends for his brother Simon.  They both decide to follow Jesus.  Jesus calls Simon by a new name, Cephas (meaning “stone” in Aramaic.) Among other things, this name change might suggest Cephas' choice to follow Jesus carries a greater weight and permanence.

The lesson for us is how willing John is to point out the Messiah.  He beckons his disciples to make a transition.  When Andrew and Simon did this they found a spiritual home.  They became followers of Christ.  We could relate to this by considering how we encounter hearing persuasive speech from a preacher and transition to finding abode in Jesus.

 

The Calling of Christ.

 

It’s full of activity, expression of movement

which can arise from seeking wholeness

and improvement.

 

Within the future dynamically approaching

we need not worry of loyalty encroaching

on others who encourage, cheer, and prod

to enter a home, talk and share with God.

 

They help us know that we are certainly invited there,

that we too can be received, honored, and welcomed, as heir.

 

Pastor Rich Wagner