Sunday, January 19, 2014

Second Sunday after the Epiphany John 1:29-42

On the next day, he (John) sees Jesus coming to him and says,"Look, the Lamb of God, the One taking away the sin of the world. This is on behalf of Whom I myself said, `After me comes a man Who before me is come to be, because before me, He was'. And I, myself didn't understand Him, but in order that He be shown to Israel, through this I myself came in water baptizing." And John testified, saying that, "I saw the Spirit coming down like a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. And I, myself didn't understand Him, but the One Who sent me to baptize in water, That One said to me, `Upon whomever you see the Spirit coming down & remaining upon Him, This is the One baptizing in the Holy Spirit.' And I, myself have seen & have testified that This is the Son of God!"  On the next day again John was standing and two of his disciples and he looked at Jesus walking; he says, "Look, the Lamb of God!" And his two disciples heard him speaking and they followed Jesus. And having turned, Jesus also seeing them following says to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to Him, "My Great One, (which is to say, when interpreted, `Teacher') where are you staying?" He says to them,"Come and you will see." Then they came and saw where He stayed and alongside Him they stayed that day; the hour was about the 10th. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter was one of the two hearing from John and following Him; This one found first His own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah, (which is interpreted `Christ')."  He brought him to Jesus.

Why aren't more people Christians? Why are there so many empty pews here today? How can we get more people as members, involved in our church? These are all really questions about "evangelism". But the answers vary throughout Christendom. Some place the burden on the shoulders of those who should be seeking for Jesus. Others answer that it's a burden on the ones who are already church members. But in today's Gospel, the answers to evangelism center on the gospel-giver–Christ Jesus!

People aren't church-going Christians because they don't know Jesus. Oh, they probably know the basics about Him. But they don't know Him, just like John the Baptized didn't know Him at first. They don't understand Who Jesus is for them. They don't comprehend just what Jesus does for them, Even you would remain ignorant of the saving knowledge of the Christ if God didn't do something to help.

So God sends proclaimers like John to testify about Jesus and Who He is. He sends preachers like John to witness to the things Christ accomplishes. Once John comprehended just Who Jesus was, he told people! Every week God gathers you all here to here this testimony about Jesus, your Messiah, anointed to be your Savior. You hear the witness, week in and week out, of Jesus the Christ and all that He does to save you by giving His life as forfeit on the cross, so that by His death you now have life!

People aren't yet church-going believers because, they are looking for love in all the wrong places. They are searching, but not finding. Some look to be comforted in human relationships, others by a bottle, and still others search for answers within themselves, but never find them. They need help! Without God's direction, even U2 would be saying, "We still haven't found what we are looking for." .

But God has helped you! He has given you that gospel invitation, "Come and see!" God used someone to bring you to Jesus for the first time. For most of you, He was revealed to you as the Christ, showing Himself as your anointed Savior when you were baptized. Just like John baptized in water to reveal Jesus to people, so too have you been baptized so Jesus could reveal His saving love to you. You are baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection, by His Holy Spirit to make you His Own!

People aren't yet church-attending Christians because, quite frankly, they haven't really looked at Jesus as they should. Oh, perhaps they have considered Him once or twice, but they really haven't looked *to* Him for what He truly is for them. Maybe they prefer to look to themselves, or trust in the temporary things of this world, rather than looking to Jesus. But nothing else is as reliable as He is.
This is why John says, not once, but twice here, "Look, the Lamb of God!" Jesus is that Lamb of God Who was sacrificed for all people. Like the Lamb butchered on the day of Atonement in the Old Testament whose shed blood freed the people from their sins each year, Jesus has taken away the sins of the world! His body given to death on the cross and His blood shed for you at Calvary forgive you your sins, replacing them with His Own righteousness. You eat this body and drink His blood today in His Supper!


Hymns from LSB:

734  I Trust Oh Lord your Holy Name   (Listen through the prelude. The hymn with stanzas will follow)
402  The Only Son of Heaven     (same again)
404  Jesus, Once with Sinners Numbered
534  Lord Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor  stanzas  music 

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