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Welcome to

ST MICHAEL & All ANGELS CHURCH

(Church of England)

St Michael's Green, Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 2BN

 

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Sermon given by Rev’d Cassa Messervy

Sunday 19th January 2014

 

Baptism stories in the gospels:

Jesus says to his new potential disciples, ‘what are you looking for?’ This is something we may want to mull over this week, as Jesus then makes the invitation, ‘come and see…..’ this invitation from Jesus is the theme for our service today – let’s spend some time mulling it over together.

 

All four gospels tell us about Jesus’ Baptism – however in John the actual baptism is not described, because the writer seems to think we already know about it – what John’s gospel does is tell us about the meaning of Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist – ‘testified’ it says in v. 32 – the meaning is more than said or told - he was transformed by what he had seen - the revelation that God’s spirit had rested on Jesus and that therefore Jesus was ‘the Messiah’, God’s son, the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit not water.  As a result of this realization John points his disciples and anyone who will listen to Jesus.

 

Names used by John:

John’s Gospel uses three titles for Jesus in this passage; which are important. John says Jesus is the ‘Lamb of God’, in v.29 – right at the start, John’s gospel points out Jesus’ death, a death that would happen, in the time frame of John’s Gospel, on the afternoon when the Passover lambs are killed in the temple – Jesus is God’s lamb, he will die a sacrificial death for the sins of the whole world, to show us how much God loves us.    

 

‘Messiah’ is another title given to Jesus. Andrew is so excited by this revelation he goes off to tell his brother – this Messiah, Hebrew for anointed one –is someone who has been anointed for a specific task (kings/Queens are anointed for example) – Jesus’ task as the Son of God is to bring healing and reconciliation to the whole world – a big remit!

 

The title Rabbi again helpfully translated by John’s Gospel, for his contemporary Gentile audience, is teacher, it invites us to think about the disciples relationship with Jesus…..The word disciple means apprentice, someone who learns from and works with someone else. John the Baptist has disciples and you will also see reference to the Pharisees having disciples.

So why does John include all these titles? What is he trying to tell us? Well we are introduced to Jesus knowing who he is – the Messiah, God’s Son (anointed with the Holy Spirit) and what he was to do – as Lamb of God he would die a sacrificial death.

 

John’s Gospel sets up this passage in such a way as to ‘include’ the reader in what is happening. Once we know who Jesus is and what he is here to do -we are meant to stand with disciples who go to follow Jesus after John the Baptist’s instruction. We stand with them when Jesus asks them, ‘what do you want?’ and we stand with then when he invites them to be with him, ‘come and see….’ come and be with me says Jesus.

 

The contemporary readers of John’s Gospel would have sensed Jesus calling to them– we hearing the story today may also hear Jesus calling to us too, ‘come and see’.

 

Application

Jesus the teacher asks us, ‘what are you looking for?’ – we may want to consider during this week – what am I looking for this year in my journey of faith?

Maybe it’s to develop my understanding of the bible or deepen my spiritual practice in prayer. Maybe it is to serve in God’s mission in a new way: take up visiting a lonely person for example. Maybe God is calling you to rest with him if you have just had a time of stress or you are in a time of stress.

 

Then there is an invitation from Jesus, ‘come and see’ – make time in the madness (I know how it is!) make time to be with our friend Jesus, our God who loves us so much because when we do we are uplifted – held, given strength when things are stressful or difficult and when things are happy and joyful!

 

So this week maybe we could all spend some time in prayer answering God’s question of what do we want? And listening to what God might be saying to us about his presence in our lives. 

Sometimes we need to be reminded of this though so on the way out you will be given a little piece of paper with ‘come and see’ on it – take it home pop it on the fridge to remind yourself of the incredible invitation that Jesus gives us to be his friend, disciple/apprentice.  Jesus says, ‘Come and see’.

 

 

 


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