based on John 1:29-42
When I first read this passage, I found myself getting just a bit irritated. I mean, after all, last week in Matthew’s gospel, in the story of Jesus’ baptism it seem pretty clear that John and Jesus did know each other. In Luke’s gospel it’s clearly stated that their mothers were cousins, and John leapt with joy in Elizabeth’s womb when pregnant Mary came to visit. Yet here in verse 31 John says, `I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
So, I remind myself, along with you, that John’s gospel was written much later than the other gospels. All of the gospels were written after the letters of the New Testament, but for those of us who weren’t on the scene in 2000 years ago, it helps to get the story of who people thought Jesus was and what he did, before we read the letters of how we live out the implications of following his lead. John’s gospel is rich with metaphors for Jesus – Lamb of God, Living Water, Bread of Life, Light of the World… and the purpose of metaphors is for us to express our confession and commitment.
But commitment to what? What are we to pay attention to? In this passage, John the baptizer, tries to get people to look – to really see something new. `Look’, he says to those who would listen, `Here is the Lamb of God, the one I was telling you about.’ The next day, he says to two of his own disciples `Look’, this is the one. And so we are invited to look, and to see. We are invited, and encouraged to read scripture as a way to help us look into a spiritual mirror, a way to find ourselves, our struggle and our hope and our connection to the Divine.
When John again draws attention to Jesus, two of his disciples, turn then and follow Jesus. The story says that Jesus turned around and SAW them, and asked what they wanted. Jesus saw them.
What if Jesus saw the disciples, not just with his peripheral vision, or because he heard their sandals scuffing on the pebbles behind him, but that he turned and really saw them; saw the humanity, hope and hunger in their eyes.
These two disciples of John, say to Jesus, `Rabbi, show us where you live.’ And Jesus responds, `Come and see.’ And they `came and saw’, and it changed their lives forever. I wonder… What did they see? What did Jesus show them? What did they see and feel as they watched him where he lived, where he was staying? How did he interact with others, speak with others that made them yearn to follow him?
If you asked Jesus today, “Where are you staying? Where do you live?” Where would he take you? Where would you find Jesus living today? What would you see? Who would he be talking to, or listening to? Who would he be having supper with; who would he reach out to?
I invite you to ask Jesus this question. Take a few moments to just close your eyes and be aware of your breathing… I invite you to take a few deep breaths and feel yourself connected to the earth, and to the world of spirit…
From your heart ask Jesus “Where do you live?” …
He replies `Come and see.’ Where does Jesus take you? In these moments of silence allow him to take you there now… what do you see and hear?
I invite you to draw your attention back to this place of worship… You may want to do some journaling, or further reflecting on this later. I know when I did this spiritual exercise at home this week, I got a sense of Jesus saying, ‘You don’t’ know this community well enough to know where I am here. That was a bit humbling. So, it is my intention to go exploring a bit further than my office and the Thrift Shop in the next couple weeks. If someone would like to be my tour guide that would be lovely.
Back to the gospel, several chapters along, we find the story of the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus asks `Where is he?” and they say “Come and see.” And they lead Jesus and show him what is breaking their hearts, and where their hope lies.
And here too, in today’s reading, Jesus meets Andrew’s brother Simon. It says Jesus looked at him, another version adds, `looked intently at him’ and says, ”You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas – which is translated Peter.” And Peter means…? (Rock). Jesus saw something in Peter which he could not see in himself.
So, again using the scripture as a spiritual mirror, if Jesus looked at you as intently as he looked at Peter, and asked you “Where do you live?” where would you take him? If you were leading Jesus to `come and see’ where you lived – where your heart lived, where your life was being broken and blessed, where would you take Jesus right now? What would you show him? What would he say to you?
Again, I invite you to take a few moments to breathe deeply, prayerfully, and respond to Jesus’ question, `Where do you live?’ I invite you to take him there now, show him your life, and be open to what he might say to you…
I invite you to bring your attention back to this moment of worship…
We bring our individual lives here and we bring our community of faith together before the Light of the World. Hear the words of encouragement Jesus offers when we show him our lives. Listen for the invitation to come and see where Jesus lives, where Jesus stays, that we may join him and be transformed as our names are spoken and we live as true disciples. Amen.