Text: John 1:29-42
Second Sunday After the Epiphany
Listen to the Sermon here.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we hear preachers or evangelists ask, “Have you found Jesus?” It’s not a terrible question, but it can be misleading. Some people think that they found Jesus on their own. However, you did not come to Christ on your own. No one ever does. Neither did Andrew or Peter. Yet, Andrew could answer the question. “We have found the Messiah,” exclaimed Andrew to his brother Peter. An although separated by time and space, how Andrew and Peter found Jesus is the same way you can find Jesus today. The question we’re going to look at this morning is: where do you find Jesus?
Find Him In Preaching
Andrew and an unnamed disciple were disciples of John the Baptist. They were seeking the Messiah. And they thought John was the one who would point them to the Messiah, because John the Baptist was a Pointer. Where did John point them? He did not point to the Jordan River, Jerusalem, or even himself. John is a witness. A witness doesn’t point at himself and say, “Look at me!” A witness does not speak about himself. A witness testifies to what he has seen and heard. John has seen and heard things about someone else. He doesn’t talk about his feelings or the inner recesses of his sinful heart. He’s not highlighting his prayers or piety. These two people were disciples of John. They were listening to him preach and participating in his ministry. When John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” he’s preaching about a specific person. He is preaching about Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the Christ, your Lord. John says he is the Lamb appointed to take away your Sin. When Jesus walked by, John pointed and said, “Look! There He is! The Lamb of God!” And at that moment, John lost a couple of his disciples. They went off and followed Jesus, which is precisely what John wanted. These are John’s disciples. And suddenly, they are gone. They follow Jesus. They followed Jesus because of John’s preaching.
John’s preaching about Jesus leads them to Jesus. These two disciples of John left him and followed Jesus because John preached that Jesus is the Lamb of God. John’s preaching showed that they were sinners. Jesus is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. That means the world has sin that needs to be taken away. That means you have Sin that the Lamb needs to take away. We follow Jesus like sheep follow the shepherd—because we need to be protected. We need to have our sins forgiven. We are weak, and he is strong. We are foolish, and he is wise. We are hungry, and he is bread. We are thirsty, and he is living water.
Yet, John points to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” For years, we have sung those words as we approached the altar to receive the body and blood of Jesus. So, those words proclaim that Jesus bore your Sin, taking it away like a Lamb. He bleed and died bearing your sin for you as your Substitute. Only Jesus did that, and no one else. There have been brilliant men, great religious leaders, and people of great moral and ethical persuasion. But there is no man on the face of this earth in all of human history who is God’s Lamb, His perfect, sinless Son who takes away your Sin by His death and offers that forgiveness to you. John’s preaching pointed to Jesus and said: “Behold the Lamb of God.” And that’s how they found Jesus.
But why preaching? Jesus could have done it all Himself, but He didn’t. He died and rose and took away the Sin of the world. But John the Baptist still had to preach to Andrew and John about him. Later, Jesus called a handful of those disciples and told them, “You go and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus appointed and authorized some disciples to go and make more disciples by baptizing and teaching. This comes with a promise that Jesus is with them always to the end of the age. To this very day, Jesus can be found in the preaching of the Law and the Gospel. The Law exposes your Sin and your desperate need for Jesus. The Gospel tells you who Jesus is and what he has done to save you. Today, I have the privilege and office to say to you, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Behold the Lamb who comes to you in His Word, in water, in His Body and Blood. You have found the Messiah. And He has found you through the preaching of those men he has sent to be pastors.
Bring Others To Him
Jesus stopped what he was doing for a moment and began talking to those disciples who were following him. He drew them out with a question, “What are you seeking?” They wanted to know where Jesus was staying, so they could learn more about him. He warmly invites them, “Come, and you will see.” That is Jesus’ invitation to these two. Once they get to where Jesus is staying, they can spend some time getting to know more about him. After Andrew spent some time with Jesus, what was the first thing he did? The first thing Andrew did was go and get his brother. He had to find and tell him the news: “We have found the Messiah!” Then notice what he did: “He brought him to Jesus.”
John points others to Jesus. “Behold the Lamb of God.” And they, in turn, bring others to Jesus, especially friends and family. Andrew gets his brother Simon Peter. He couldn’t wait to bring them the news. Now, this is an example for us. In our daily encounters with people, we can engage people in conversation. And while it’s true that we need missionaries and pastors, God has scattered and located each of you in your own little neck of the woods to be an Andrew for our brother Peter.
One survey of newcomers to church asked, “What brought you to church?” Here are the results: 2% had seen an advertisement; 6% came through an organized evangelistic outreach program; pastors only invited 6%; yet 86% came by invitation of a friend or family member. Did you catch that? 86% came because someone they knew invited them! It should be no surprise that friends and family influence other friends and family members.
You didn’t come to Christ on your own. No one ever does since God works through means and instruments. Not even Peter, the foremost of the apostles. His brother brought him. Someone brought you. Who was Andrew for you? Who brought you to the church? Who took you by the hand and said, “Come and see”? This is not the exclusive privilege of being a pastor. It wasn’t just John who pointed; it was Andrew for his brother Peter. It’s the fathers and mothers who bring their little ones to Baptism. It’s Grandma and Grandpa who urge their grandchildren to the Lord’s Supper and the Word. It’s the friend who invites you to church. It’s the Sunday school teacher who keeps teaching about Jesus even when the kids are bored of hearing about Jesus. It’s disciples making disciples by bringing others to Jesus.
Bringing people to Jesus is easy. You don’t have to launch into an hour-long lecture on the person and work of Christ and the doctrine of justification. You can simply invite the person and say, “Come, and you will see.” Any relationship has the potential to bring others to Jesus. So, is there someone you know–perhaps someone in your family or at your work or maybe your next-door neighbour–is there someone you know whom you could invite to join you at church or for Bible class? Invite the people you know–your friends, relatives, associates, and neighbours– to join us at church. “Come and you will see.”
That’s what we do. We bring people to Jesus. God’s love for you in Christ is a love which is for the world. It is something He shares through you with others. We bring people to Jesus because we want them to experience the same mercy, forgiveness and love that we have experienced. We bring people to Jesus because he is the Lamb of God who will take away their sins. He is the one who was crucified for them. Jesus is their only hope in life and death because he’s the only one whose death was sufficient to pay for their Sin. That’s why we bring people to him.
Invite people to come and see. Invite them to where Jesus is staying and where they can learn more about him. Jesus is staying where his Gospel is, which is in church. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Jesus is here, truly present, and through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, he is giving out his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Therefore one of the best things you can do is simply to invite that person to come and join you here in church. It was John’s preaching which pointed Andrew to Jesus. And Andrew invited Peter to come and see Jesus. You can do that confidently because this is where Jesus stays with his Gospel. This is where he has promised to be present. This is where he has found you.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.