Epiphany 2

SERMON                                                         EPIPHANY 2                                                    2017

John 1:35-42

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 spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.  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.

            Our text today speaks of seeking and finding.  What do people seek? What do you seek?

People search for many things, some are clothes or a new car. The do this because they seek to look better or have a better ride. There are many other items that people seek including a good education, a job, or a spouse.  Finally, there are things that are not visible or touchable. These might be friendship, or peace,  joy, or truth.  These are a few of the many things people seek.

               Do they find what they are seeking? Have you? Finding is different than seeking. You may do the seeking, but often the finding is done by someone or something other than you. You can seek a job, but an employer must provide it.  Same with education. You may seek nicer clothes, but unless you make them, someone else provides them.  Happiness or joy is provided by family or friends or perhaps a great experience.

               As I said, our text also speaks of seeking and finding. But our text speaks of something more important than any item I have mentioned. It speaks specifically of seeking and finding the Lord. And not just any Lord, but the Lord who provides us with the forgiveness of sins and thus our salvation.  So let us dig into our interesting scriptural lesson.  As we do we will be Seeking and Finding Jesus The Savior.

               As we turn to our text we read, “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.  The two disciples are Andrew and John.  These two, together with their brothers were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. But right now they are 40 plus miles to the south, far from their boats and nets. What are they doing there?  Why did they leave all and become disciples of John the Baptist? They were seeking and searching. --- John was a powerful preacher. He had a powerful message. John also was the first prophet among God’s people in 400 years. Thus Jewish believers throughout Palestine were wondering what was happening. They also wondered what was going to happen next. This John was preaching that the people should repent. The promised Messiah was now there.

               Andrew, John, and Peter, Andrew’s brother, believed all this for they had become disciples of John. But they hadn’t yet seen the Savior. They were looking for him, they were SEEKING him, but they didn’t know him. You see they could seek and seek, but not find.  Luther, in his Catechism, wrote in the 3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed, “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in the Lord Jesus nor come to him.”  Luther first of all meant that human beings because of their sinful flesh don’t even desire to look for Jesus. God has to turn man’s head and heart so they see their sin and their need for a Savior. But it also true that no one, even a repentant sinner, can find Jesus on their own. He must come to them.

            So realize that God has done two things for you. He has changed your heart and head. He also has enlightened you.  He has given you knowledge about yourself.  You now know your sin, you know the punishment you deserve, you now fear God’s wrath and you want help.

            But God must further enlighten you; he must lead you to the Savior, and say there he is. Our text says, “When (John) saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” This is the second time in two days John pointed out Jesus to Andrew and John. The first time he had given even a greater clue, when he said: “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Twice John had to point the two to Jesus. They didn’t know him, so John had to tell them, “stop following me, go follow him.” Thus God, using John, led the disciples to the Savior. In a similar way God through his Word spoken by his messengers have led you to Jesus.

            Our text continues, “ 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 spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.”  With their question to Jesus, “Where are you staying?”, the disciples indicated they wanted to talk to Jesus. Jesus graciously says to them, “Come.” On another occasion Jesus had said: “Come to me all you who weary and burdened.” Jesus doesn’t turn anyone away who comes to him. Also let us remember that this is the Lamb of God inviting them. This is the One who wants you to seek him. He wants you to come to him, especially when you are seeking the forgiveness of your sins.  Didn’t he spend the rest of the day with the disciples? He wanted them to know they now had found the solution to their greatest need. He would take away their sins. He would reconcile them to God. Latter, Andrew would run to find his brother Peter. Why? He says, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).”  You and I also find our Savior in Jesus.

            Remember that when John pointed Jesus out to the two disciples. Twice he said, “Behold the Lamb of God”.  It is noteworthy that John uses that title for Jesus. Further, he speaks of only one of Jesus’s many words and actions. He will take away the sins of the world.

This brings us back again to seeking. John highlights for us that one thing matters above all else, the forgiveness of sins.  Didn’t Jesus himself tells us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”, Matt. 6:33.  Jesus was God’s own Lamb that he would sacrifice. Think of it; God himself tells us that HE will offer the sin offering for our sins. He will sacrifice his very own Son on a cursed cross to win our forgiveness. See how the Holy Spirit attracts us to God; he shows us his great love for us. Why do we seek Jesus? For above all else, the forgiveness of sins. We seek Jesus so that we might be under God’s grace rather than under his wrath.

            Now consider that the Lord specifically sought you out. Yes, we seek forgiveness. We look for a Savior. But it is God the Holy Spirit  “who calls you by the Gospel, enlightens you with his gifts.”  His principle gifts are the Word of God, the Gospel in that Word, and faith to trust in that word.  Didn’t John and Jesus through their teachings work faith in Andrew and John How did Peter come to know Jesus, the Savior? Andrew told him that he had found the Savior  Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. So who taught you about the Savior?  Parent, teacher, friend, pastor.  God through one or more of them sought you out personally.  Through the Word the H.S. enlightened you with the knowledge and faith that now saves you. You now tell others.

            We seek many things in life. Let us be careful each day that we are not sidetrack by our seeking things of this world.  God knows all your needs. He tells you which one to seek daily above all else, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. May he help us do that.  Amen.

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