Four people encounter Jesus for the first time in John 1:35-51. Each of them have a different experience. Jesus invites each of them, not to memorize a creed or join an institution, but to follow him and to come and see where he abides. That is the invitation of the Gospel of John. Come and See who Jesus is and how we can abide with God each day.

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I hope you had a good Christmas. Did anybody get anything good? Did you get anything that made you fell like this?

Have you ever had anything in your life that made you feel like that? Maybe it was something that you discovered.

Last week my wife, daughters, and I went to see the movie The Greatest Showman. It made us feel like this. We were giddy on the ride home. It’s so good.

What do you do when something like this happens? You say,

Come and See! Right? When something is that exciting to you, you can’t help but want to share it with others.

I wonder. Have you ever felt that way about Jesus?

I’m not talking about being excited about how cool you think your church is that you want to invite your friends. Although, that is awesome.

I’m talking about Jesus. Does the fact that you know Jesus get you so excited that you just want to tell all your friends.

Wait a minute, Pastor Steve. We’re Lutheran. We don’t talk about our faith.

We’re starting this new series called Come and See. It is a journey through the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of John. Here’s my prayer for you. I hope that you get so excited about Jesus, that you can’t help but talk about it.

Here’s the thing. I’m not that interested in being Lutheran, or Catholic, or Baptist, or Pentecostal. Those things are fine, but they often get in the way. I hope that this series will help us all to see Jesus with fresh eyes.

So, let’s jump in.

We’ve actually already started. We read the first chapter on Christmas Eve where John tells us that Jesus is the Word that became Flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the light of the world.

If you want to dig deeper into this study, I’ve put together some resources on my blog. There’s a link to it on the Easter App. Check it out.

Today we jump into the story of how Jesus meets his first disciples.

We’re going to read through

John 1:35–51 (NRSV)

We’re going to meet four people. Pay attention to each one. They each encounter Jesus differently. Which one is most like you and your experience with Jesus?

Let’s read the first section together…

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

The first person we meet is Andrew. We discover his name in a second. His story begins with John the Baptist. We learned about him last week from Pastor Rolf.

We have to remember that the people of Israel were suffering under the oppression of the Roman Empire. They were looking for the Messiah. They were looking for a great prophet, a leader, a king, who would deliver them from oppression.

What they were not looking for is a lamb. The only thing a lamb is good for is sacrifice.

So, it’s interesting that when Andrew heard that Jesus is the lamb of God, he followed him.

Let’s keep reading…

 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”

that’s an excellent question. I think it’s a great question for the New Year. I ask you. What are you looking for? What do you hope this Jesus character can offer this year?

Notice how they answered…

They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

that’s kind of a weird response. The word they use there is an important word in the Gospel of John. It can be translated living, dwelling, abiding. Jesus uses it in John 15 when he tells the disciples that he is the vine and they are the branches, if they abide in him he will abide in them.

This whole Gospel is about learning where God abides, and how God abides there.

How does Jesus answer?

 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

And there it is. We cannot underestimate the power of this phrase. To be a follower of Jesus and to know where God abides is not an idea. It is not a doctrine to be memorized.

It is a reality to be experienced. It is a way of life, and you can only know it by going and seeing it for yourself.

Let’s read more…

 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

notice what happened. Andrew was so excited about finding Jesus, that he went and found his brother, Simon.

That’s our second character.

Here’s an interesting thing about Simon in this story. He never says a word. Jesus simply meets him and makes big claims about him. You are Peter, which means Rock. I don’t know if that means solid as a rock or dumb as a rock. Maybe both.

Now to our third character…

 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

what happens here? Jesus finds Philip and invites him to follow.

Sometimes it seems that God seeks us out directly and has a special call on our life.

There’s one more character…

 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Again, Philip was so excited to be found by Jesus that he goes and finds his friend Nathanael.

But notice how Nathanael responds. He doubts. He skeptical.

That seems to be the dominant type in our society.

If you wrestle with doubt, I want to tell you right now. That’s OK.

Notice how Philip responds…

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

He simply followed Jesus’ example. He didn’t try to explain it, he simply invited Nathanael to experience Jesus and where he abides.

There’s one more section, it’s kind of long…

 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Notice how it is about relationships. Nathanael says, “where did you get to know me?”

This is a great story. I hope you found a little bit of yourself in there.

I want to leave you with three simple questions to ponder this week.

Where do you abide?

We can tell a lot about a person by where they spend most of their time and energy. Talk is cheap. Time and energy is the truth.

Are you abiding in the same places Jesus does? I hope our journey through John will bring those things together.

Second. Who will you find?

Andrew and Philip were so excited to follow Jesus that they went and found their brother and friend and said, “Come and See!”

This is the perfect opportunity to invite your friends who are looking for something to join us as we discover where Jesus abides.

finally, Are you ready to Come and See and meet Jesus in a fresh way?

I am so excited to share this journey with you.

Let’s pray.

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