Sunday, June 6, 2010

Preaching at Wheaton (4)

Well....we're off! I preached the first in my short TRUTH SPACES sermon series this morning on John 1:38. Several people expressed surprise at the strategic placing of this question "What do you want?" Such an open-ended question lies at the very beginning of Jesus ministry. Yet, Jesus actually knows the answers (John 2:25, Mark 2:8, Matt. 12:25, 22:18) Jesus does not ask questions for him to find out about us, but for us to discover with him what we don't yet know about ourselves.

We saw this honest invitation probes their motives. When they ask where he is staying it seems that they want to know if they can spend more time with Jesus. Will he give them more of himself? By his welcome: "Come and you will see" they learn that Jesus comes alongside with transforming friendship. He is a side-by-side Lord, not a top-down Lord.

This sermon set me thinking. Even between the two services it changed greatly. I continue to think about it as I write more this week. I posed some questions in the service sheet:

1. When Jesus asks: "What do you want?" of people who are following him what sort of answer do we give? (We can follow him out of respect for others, belief, needs and despair). What are our answers now?
2. Jesus invites Andrew and his friend to come and stay with him. In what equivalent ways can we stay with Jesus today? (It was wonderful to conclude with Communion which gave us space and time with Jesus in exactly the way he commanded - but what other ways?)

Many other questions arise too. As you go on thinking please let me know your responses. You can post them here, or send me a confidential email on, or hand write a note! Thank you for sharing this journey.


Unknown said...

Thanks Michael for your very practical explaination of the passage. We have been repeating the words from the June 6 sermon over and over this week, "you know we have a side by side Jesus". It is so wonderful to know that we are in the same "space" and that we can count on Him to guide each day in every need that arises.

BellofWheaton said...

I have spent several hours this week turning your message over in my head. The thing about the message that really struck me was the question of what do I want from Jesus? Not what do I want from Christianity or what do I want from the church experience, but what do I want from Jesus. It's a question I have never really considered before on such a specific level - I have always sort of lumped them all together. I think that working through my answer has allowed me to have a more open and honest dialogue in my prayers this week. As I talk to Jesus about what I need and want from Him, it reveals gaps in what I really believe He will or will not do for me. Thank you for creating a truth space for me as I work through the things I am discovering about myself and my relationship to Jesus in this process.

Cindy said...

Thanks for your messages on Jesus' questions, Michael! I've never studied them before, but I've often thought how neat it was that Jesus asked them. It's hit me that it isn't until someone is hungry, thirsty, etc., for spiritual food and drink that they respond to all that Jesus has to offer them. Jesus won't force-feed us. We have to want His teaching. One time a young man from our church came up to me after he graduated from high school and told me he didn't think our youth group had taught him enough. I responded that I had seen the notebooks of lessons from the youth group that my own kids had and knew they had been taught a lot of Biblical truths. I told him that I thought they had been taught a lot but that he hadn't been hungry enough to take it in up to that point. I told him to ask God to make him hungry and thirsty for His Word. After my mom died from ALS and I had cancer, I surrendered my life in a way I had never done before. God's Spirit poured out on me in a new way and I became so hungry and thirsty for more of Him. He's so amazing! Thank you again!