I wonder what has surprised you about Jesus question in John 1:38? So much is going on in this story through which God continues to speak. What insights have you gained? For example, when Jesus asks: "What do you want?" to those who follow him, what kinds of reasons do we honestly have for being in church? Honestly!?
As I have been preparing the sermon I see its main impact as:
By God's grace what this sermon will SAY : Jesus invites people to be honest with him and spend time with him as he promises to give them space and time. What the sermon will DO: encourage every disciple and would-be disciple to be honest in response and stay close to him.
This is likely to be refined as Sunday gets closer! Please let me know your responses? You can either post publicly on my blog or, if it's more confidential, let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for sharing.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
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As I tried to read through this story with fresh eyes this week, I was most struck by the realization that this John/Jesus drama was on-going over 3 days. Day 1: John's disciples hear him clearly answer the Jewish leaders that he is not the Messiah- or anyone else who is looked for- and then make reference to a coming greater one. Day 2:John points out Jesus, reveals that Jesus was made known to him by the sign of the Holy Spirit descending from heaven, and testifies that Jesus is the Son of God. Day 3:John once again clearly identifies Jesus, and only then do 2 of John's disciples finally
"turn and follow Jesus".
It seems likely that this was what John intended for them to do. And if so, then it's hard to imagine that there wasn't *much* other unrecorded discussion going on between John and his disciples.
It really helps, while reading Bible stories, to try and think about real people...acting just like real people. How hard might it have been for John's disciples to "turn" their backs on their loyalty/devotion/affection for John and follow this new guy? Presumably, they had already once before left family and vocation behind to follow John. Now this new turning. No wonder they had no real answer to "What do you seek?"
Or maybe there was *so* much, they just couldn't even know where to start. "What do I want... I want to know if I just made the right choice...I want to know if you really are this 'Son of God' that John says you are...I want to still be with John and the others following him, whom I have grown to love...I want to not be so completely confused just now...I want to know if following *you* is worth giving my life to...um, really, I have no idea what I want...(and frankly, I wasn't expecting you to ask)...but since you did, um...I don't know......where are you staying?"
You might remember that I was raised Catholic, and Jeff essentially unchurched. When he fully committed his life to Jesus, he started attending Catholic services with me for several years. Slowly, it became very apparent that Catholicism was not the place for Jeff to continue growing as a follower of Jesus. During that same few years, I had started personal Bible reading/study (as a result of being involved with the Catholic charismatic revival of the 70s). I had come to clearly believe and understand that the choice of where to worship, and teach our kids to know Jesus, was Jeff's to make for us. So I told him I would go with him wherever he picked. God let nearly a full year go by before I had to actually act on that point of submission. I'm still grateful for that season of His patience with my feelings. Think the 3 days in the current story may have been just such a season.
And so it is right from that time in my life that I relate to this story. Came a Sunday morning when I found myself for the *very first time* ever in my life in a non-Catholic church service. I knew absolutely not a single person in the room. What did I want? I wanted to cry...hah, I really did. But I wasn't expecting anyone to notice or care. And then the unexpected happened. And I wasn't any more ready than these 2 guys were.
Seriously, though, the rest of this story will have to wait. I have an appointment in 30 minutes, so will post this for now so it doesn't get deleted. Will finish the story later today. Looking forward to Sunday. Praying for it, as well. ~Diane
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