What does it mean to follow someone. In the world of social media it doesn’t really mean too much. I get a couple requests a week to follow someone on facebook or instagram. I see suggestions regularly to follow this or that subreddit. And in the digital world all that basically means is that I have to click a couple of times, and then I am going to get random updates on what a person is doing. I mean really there is no commitment from me. I can see their posts and just scroll past it. At any point i can just unfollow, or mute them or what not. I follow them, but that means really nothing in the long run.
What would it take for you to really follow someone? When you get married you kind of understand this don’t you. If you marry someone and they get transferred across the country… well I guess that is where we are going. You follow them, you are with them. But when you and I say that we follow Jesus. When we say that we are Christians what does that really mean.
Is it just that we will listen to a few sermons, slap a fish on the back of our car, but if something comes up in our reading of the bible that we don’t like, ah we will just scroll past it. Or if our church starts telling us something that we don’t quite agree with, we will mute them or just follow something else.
Well there is a reason that we follow Jesus. I guess there is a reason that we follow anyone in any of these situations, is there is a part of us that wants to know what they know, or see what they see, or experience what they are experiencing. You have grandparents that want to see their grandkids taking their first steps. Or you follow motivational people that give you that little jolt to do a little more in the morning that what you were originally planning on doing. When it comes to Jesus and when it comes to the Bible, what does he know that you want to know?
What do you need to be reminded about today? What do you need want to learn from him. There are a lot of people that are out there in this world and they are walking around or sleeping in this morning and they think that they are fine without this hour here at church, or without a bit of bible reading, but what does our God know?
If you look at our lesson for today you see people wanting to learn. You see people wanting to know. I mean its not like they could grab their phone and find much information, but they are searching because they want to know.
John wants to know. He was out there preaching and teaching that someone is going to come, and the kingdom of God was going to come near, and then one day the Holy Spirit made clear to him who God’s chosen one was. It was Jesus. And John knew that his job then was to announce to the world who Jesus was and what he meant for everyone. Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
It doesn’t matter if you are in panama city, or las vegas or bagdad, you are part of the world and Jesus came to this world to save you from your sins. This is the reason why John was sent. He was sent to introduce people to God. Here he is. Here is Jesus Our verses say this
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John being out in the wilderness wearing the camels hair, preaching this incredible message the whole point of it wasn’t to get himself fame, or fortune. Litterally his entire life was building up to the moment when he Got to announce to the world this is the Savior that I want everyone to know. Israel this is the one and only true God’s chosen instrument that he sent to take away your sins. This is why I have been baptizing this is why I have been preaching. It’s because of him. And if you want more proof John goes on to let people know the reason that he knows this really is the Savior.
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[a]
It wasn’t a hunch. It wasn’t that Jesus was his cousin. But God had told his prophet, John, that you are going to see the holy spriit come down from heaven and remain on my chosen servant. And that is exactly what John saw. He saw the Holy spirit come down in the form of a dove and land on Jesus.
This is a very clear sign to John that without a shadow of the doubt Jesus is the chosen one who is going to take away the sins of the world. That’s what John knew.
John had his own disciples. There were young men, one of them might have been the disciple John the disciple who Jesus loved. He went out to the desert and sat down on the river bank and heard this guy John talk, but rather than going back home at the end of the day and staying in Hebrew school, they had John be their Rabbi. They learned from him. They wanted to know what John the prophet knew.
John was a great prophet. There is a reason why people went out in the middle of no where was to hear what John had to say because they wanted to know who this guy was and what he was talking about. And the people that came to see John they weren’t disappointed. Many of them believed the good news many of them were baptized by John. John was great but when Jesus came by. Our text says
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
John might have been great but the disciples were there to learn about God, not about John. They were there to meet God. And when you have the lamb of God walking right in front of you, it doesn’t matter how great John is you go talk to God. It’s like if you are at Disney land in line with your four year to meet cruel devil and then all of a sudden you see Elsa appear, your four old daughter wearing her frozen dress is going to run towards Elsa. Cruella is going to understand.
John is great. He is a wonderful prophet who Jesus said there is no one born of woman greater than John, but he is not the Christ. He was expecting someone greater. And the disciples saw that person who was great and they went to follow him. Our lesson continues.
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
What did they want? Did they really want to know if Jesus had a sweet tent set up by the Jordon. No they wanted him to be their Rabbi. They wanted Jesus to be their teacher. They wanted to learn from and be around the long promised chosen one of Israel. And Jesus doesn’t disappoint them. He doesn’t act to good for them even though he most defiantly is. He just says
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
They found Jesus. They stayed with Jesus. They learned from Jesus and then they went out and taught others about Jesus. This was the beginning of a journey for those disciples. A three year epic quest that was going to take them all over the land of Israel. It was going to have high points like seeing Jesus do great miracles. And low points of Jesus calling them out for being so slow that they still don’t understand. But throughout the whole process, they were going to learn. They were going to learn who God was and how was going to save the world from their sins. They were going to learn first hand how someone God could live a perfect life. They were going to see someone stand up to great temptation, and turn the other cheek when they were being persecuted. They were going to see someone get rebuked when they are out of line and learn how to forgive people that don’t deserve it. They were going to learn how to navigate through this sinful world, and keep their eyes focused on what is coming next. An eternity with our God in heaven. They were going to learn that is the most important treasure that they could ever receive.
Those are some pretty good lessons to learn. Do you know them? Or if you knew them once, Do you remember them? Or is it like your high school spanish, you think you could probably get buy but you need a good refresher course.
There is a reason that God gave us a book of the Bible and not just a good feeling in our hearts. There is a reason that we gather together and listen to that message and sing songs that have allusions to the word of God. There is a reason that everything we do is focused not he word of God. It is because faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. The Rabbi that the disciples were searching after. The Lamb of God that John was pointing to our Savior who we worship every minute of our lives because of what we know about him. We follow him through his word. Because he knows.
What he knows is that only the love of God was going to save us from our sins. What he knows is that we need him. What he knows is the way to get you to heaven. What he knows is that sometimes we take a winding path that goes through some deep dark places that is going to lead us to somewhere much better than where we were planning on going. What he knows is far more than we ever will. But we can always keep learning from him. We can always keep following him. We can always keep listening to what he says, not just scrolling through the bible, or glancing at our verse of the day that pops up on our bible app. But really listening to our great teacher who always is going to have more to teach you. To love more, to trust more, to be more content, until the day when you follow your Lord into heaven forever. He knows that’s where you belong. You do too. Amen.