“Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ —- I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.——And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
John 1:29-30, 32, 34
Come and See: Go and Tell
John the Baptist recognized Jesus from Nazareth as the Son of God because he saw the Holy Spirit of God in the form of a dove rest upon Jesus as he came up out of the water of his baptism. John’s epiphany, his understanding of who Jesus was, came when he heard a voice from heaven say, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
John the Baptist recognized Jesus as being Holy. Jesus is not just some rabbi, Jesus is the Son of God, He is Holy. When John the Baptist says ‘he ranks ahead of me because he was before me,’ John understands that Jesus was there at the beginning of creation. John testifies that Jesus truly is the Son of God.
The disciple John, who wrote the gospel of John, also understood who Jesus was. He came to know Jesus as the Holy one of God. John the gospel writer uses tremendous imagery in this first chapter of his Gospel–“the Word became flesh,” and “the light shines in darkness.” But no image carries greater power than this one, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
It was custom to sacrifice a lamb for the sins of the people. In Isaiah 53:7, the prophet prophesied that the Messiah, would be led to the slaughter like a lamb; and in Revelation 5:12, John the disciple would tell of his vision of millions of angels and the twenty-four elders bowing down before the only being who is worthy to break the seven seals and open the sacred scroll. Together they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Jesus is the holy one of God!
The two disciples who were with John the Baptist become curious and they begin to follow Jesus. “When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” The two blurt out, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” John 1:38-39
They had all kinds of questions running through their minds, but they knew to find out the answers, they would have to spend time with Jesus. Jesus replies, “Come and see.” John 1:39
“Come and see.” Our questions also can only be answered by spending time with Jesus. ‘Come and see’ Jesus says to us. Come and see how I can turn your doubts into faith, your fear into trust, your anxiety into peace, your hate into love, your sadness into joy. Come and see and experience my grace and my mercy.
In a cathedral in Copenhagen, Denmark there is a magnificent statue of Jesus by the noted sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. When Thorvaldsen first completed the sculpture he gazed upon the finished product with great satisfaction. It was a sculpture of Christ with face looking upward and arms extended upward. It was a statue of a majestic, holy Christ.
Later that night, however, after the sculptor had left his fine new work in clay to dry and harden, something unexpected occurred. Sea mist seeped into the studio in the night. The clay did not harden as quickly as anticipated. The upraised arms and head of the sculpture began to droop. The majestic Christ with arms lifted up and head thrown back was transformed into a Christ with head bent forward and arms stretched downward as if in a pose of gentle invitation.
At first Thorvaldsen was bitterly disappointed. As he studied the transformed sculpture, however, he came to see a dimension of Christ that had not been real to him before. It was the Christ who is a gentle, merciful Savior. Thorvaldsen inscribed on the base of the completed statue, “Come Unto Me,” and that picture of the Lamb of God in his mercy has inspired millions. ‘Come and see,’ Jesus said. ‘Come and see the Lamb of God who came to show you mercy and grace. Come and experience God’s love. When we experience this love, this mercy, this grace; we cannot help but share what we’ve experienced with others.
Consider this testimony of a young soldier who was utterly humiliated by his senior officer. The officer had gone beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior in disciplining the young soldier and they both knew it, so the officer said nothing as the younger man said through clenched teeth, “I’ll make you regret this if it is the last thing I ever do.”
A few days later their company was under heavy fire and the officer was wounded and cut off from his troops. Through the haze of the battlefield he saw a figure coming to his rescue. It was the young soldier whom he had treated so badly. At the risk of his own life, the young soldier dragged the officer to safety. The officer said, apologetically, “Son, I owe you my life.”
The young man laughed and said, “I told you that I would make you regret humiliating me if it was the last thing I ever did.” The young soldier had accepted Jesus invitation of ‘Come and see.” He knew the love of God, His mercy and His grace. He testified to his ‘come and see’ experience with Jesus Christ by loving his enemy, showing him mercy and grace.
Go and tell. Andrew and probably the writer of this gospel, John, spent time with Jesus, they experienced the holiness and yet the humanness of who Jesus was, and they want to tell others what they have experienced. Andrew runs and tells his brother Simon.
“We have found the Messiah.” John 1:41 Andrew brings his brother 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). “ John 1:42 Peter became one of the greatest evangelist of Jesus’ disciples, and was instrumental in many conversions, both Jews and Gentiles. If Andrew had declined Jesus’ invitation to “Come and See,” and had not taken that experience to “Go and Tell” his brother, Peter would not have become who he became.
When you and I ‘Come and see’ Jesus; when we spend time with Him and receive God’s grace, God’s love and mercy, it is our testimony, our ‘Go and Tell’ which helps to build Christ’s church and grow God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.
The front of your bulletin today has an illustration of Jesus turning to the two disciples following him and asking them, “What are you looking for?”
This is the question for us today. Jesus asks us, “What are you looking for?”
If what we are looking for is a Holy God who has the power to forgive our sins and conquer death that we might have eternal life. We’ve found it in Jesus, the Lamb of God.
If what we are looking for is a Savior who bids us, “Come and See,” the unconditional love I offer, the grace I long for you to receive, the healing for your body, mind, and spirit. We’ve found it in Jesus the Son of God.
If what we are looking for is the One who changes lives and who bids us “Go and Tell” others what I’ve done for you, that they might find salvation from sin and death. We’ve found it the Savior of the world.
Today the question is ‘what are you looking for.’
Search your heart, ‘Come and See’ and then ‘Go and Tell’ what you find in Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world.
Pastor Rosemary DeHut