Are you following Jesus? That’s a question that we need to ask ourselves often. It is the key question of discipleship. We are going to explore the idea of following Jesus over the next few weeks. My hope is that every person listening will ask themselves: Am I following Jesus? What can I do to begin following Him? How can I follow Him more faithfully? What has changed in my life since I followed Him? What is stopping me from following Him today? My prayer is that anyone listening will choose to follow Jesus more closely.
Today we begin with The Invitation: Come and See.
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “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.John 1:35-39, NIV
Imagine yourself at that scene … rough and rugged JTB … “Repent! You are sinful people. Repent! ”People are listening to this strange man in the wilderness. One day JTB sees Jesus pass by and says, ‘That is the Lamb to God who takes away the sins of the world.” James and Andrew, ready to receive what Jesus can give, start to follow. Jesus turns around and says, “What do you want?”
Bruner reminds us that these are Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of John… ‘the simplest and yet perhaps the most profound question persons can ever be asked: “What are you looking for?” Barclay says this is a symbol of the divine initiative- God takes the first step toward us.
What do people seek when they follow Jesus? What do you want from Jesus in your life? What do they say? “Where do you live?”. Jesus: “Come and see”. That’s the invitation. They saw a man very different from JTB – Jesus the Lamb of God, the humble servant, Poor, gentle, warm, peacemaker, pure of heart.
Come and See Where Jesus Lives
Jesus invites us to come and live life with Him His house. Images of living in God’s house are abundant. (Psalm 27:5; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 84:10)
The idea of Home is found in Jesus’ teachings.
John 14:2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
John’s gospel opens with a vision of home. John 14:1-3, 14a In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. …The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
AMP And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us…
Jesus wants us to become part of intimate family of God.
John 15:9 AMP I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].)
You are invited to dwell in the family of God. … to be a part of that intimate communion right now.
How Do We Respond?
We listen to the voices urging us to follow Jesus. If John hadn’t said “Look! There is the Lamb of God,” John and Andrew might have missed him. Who in your life has been pointing you to Jesus? Why haven’t you been listening to them? A parent or grandparent. Maybe it’s someone with their own set of problems. Maybe it’s a preacher speaking to you right now!
“We can come up with a thousand arguments not to look, not to listen. But be very careful. Listen. If you do not, you might never find Jesus.”Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus
John and Andrew ask, “Where do you live?” It is very important that we want to know who Jesus is if we want to follow him. We ask this of devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We ask this of the Scriptures – your Bible – the Gospels. We ask this in prayer. “Lord, give me a sense of who you are. Some people say this about you, other people say that about you, but I want a real sense of who you are for myself.” – Nouwen (James 1:5 -ask)
John and Andrew stayed the whole afternoon. “I just want to be where you are, dwelling daily in your presence” Dwelling with Christ takes time, patience, intentionality, desire.
“Be with him and listen. Listen to the One who invites you. Be quiet. Like a child dwells in the house with her mother and father. Just dwell. Play around. Be there. A half hour a day … Sit there and do nothing. Waste time with Jesus. (Mark 9:5)”Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus
Don’t say “I am too busy.” Don’t say, “I have better things to do.” Just be there. Every day. Pray and discover.Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus
Listen, ask, and dwell, and you will slowly grow in Jesus.
Maybe someone is wanting to follow Jesus today in a new way:
- being baptized to begin a new life
- praying to be restored to the Jesus life
- seeking strength in some particular area
Following Jesus is focusing on the One who calls and gradually trusting that we can let go of our familiar world and that something new will come.Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus
Resource: Nouwen, J. M. Henri. Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety. New York: Convergent Books, 2019.