Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Relentless

A series of expositions on John the Apostle Pt.2

John 1:37 “What do you want?” Jesus asked when seeing the two following him. “Rabbi, where are you staying?” They asked.
“Come and you will see.” Jesus replied
Being a disciple of the Baptist a sense of eagerness has grown in John and Andrew to see this Messiah. For a one Rabbi like the Baptist to recommend his own disciples follow another teacher was very unorthodox at this time. Becoming a disciple under a Jewish teacher and Rabbi took a willingness to put aside your own thinking, admit your need for a teacher, and be willing to actually do the things this teacher will instruct, not only were you asking for instruction by becoming a student but you were making a commitment to that teacher that your answer to that instruction is already “Yes Rabbi.”
Surely with such a heavy reliance on the Baptist they had grown very close. I can easily imagine the Baptist’s disciples watching with fear and admiration as he plainly, and I’ll bet loudly, told the Pharisees to come and be baptized, the thought of what kind of facial expression this brought about from the Pharisees makes me laugh.
Now being the humble servant of God that he is he insists his own students leave him “He must become greater I must become less.” John 3:30

It may seem odd to us for two strange men to walk up to another and ask where he is staying but this was a common and polite way of asking someone for a place to sleep for the night. Remember it is four in the afternoon and it’s gotten too late to walk far. This is also John’s way of explaining to us in his Gospel how one is to come to Jesus, they ask him where he is staying so they might stay there as well, they are saying we wish to go where you go and where ever that is the answer for us is already “Yes”
Notice John doesn’t say here in his Gospel that Jesus then turned and told him in detail where it was they were going, how long they’d be there and what would happen while they stayed, no, he just says “Come and see.”
He makes it clear from the beginning that they will need to make a commitment to trust and follow without always knowing where it is he is taking them.
What must it have been like to sit at the feet of the Baptist taking in the teaching of the coming Messiah and then to go to him and spend the day? At this point your expectations would be high, did Jesus fulfill them?

This was a carpenter that came from a very small town called Nazareth. No prophet was to come from Nazareth and it has been lately discovered that not only was Nazareth a town with not such a great reputation it may have also been a town the Romans used and occupied heavily, which also would have cast it in an unfavorable light.

Despite these things these first disciples cling to Jesus and begin collecting more followers. 
What would it be like to speak to a man so complete, a man of perfect character, a man of no sins and of complete assurance in the present and the future, a man of no worries or concerns, and a man that speaks with complete authority?
Surely as they are being taught by him this remarkable facet of his personality comes through abundantly. I believe as these first few men began to gather around Jesus they no doubt started quite a buzz among the other people about how he taught and likely how it even felt to be near him. There was something astonishing about this man without yet seeing a miracle because Andrew runs to tell Cephas (Peter) and upon him meeting Jesus he is given a nickname, Peter, which was common of Rabbi’s and their disciples at this time, but the interesting thing is that Peter’s following seems decided at there very meeting by Jesus imparting this name to him which means “Rock.”
We know by reading the other Gospels that John seemed to be maneuvering for what he thought at the time was a high position in a new coming earthly kingdom. We can only wonder if young John stands here watching on a little jealous or even angry at the naming of Peter. Names were given for purpose and meaning and they likely would have known the meaning of this nickname.

Rant
 We of this day and age are far removed from the level of trust and obedience displayed here by these first followers. They don’t know where Jesus is going, what’s going to happen, or what he may expect of them, and yet their answer without knowing is “Yes.”
We here in our society have been hearing a sermon of “Self” being preached to us from birth that tells us to use our preferences as our guide to life, to use our five senses to direct our choices, to find our own truth by “finding ourselves.” We pick up Gods Word and we pick out the verses we prefer and we ignore the hard verses that may make us take a closer look at what we are doing. We tell God where he can help us at and where we’ve got things under control. Many people can attend church weekly, get involved heavily, and pray religiously but because they have been so corrupted by this message, this lie being heaped upon our culture they don’t realize they are asking Jesus to come sit at they’re feet, that they are trying to instruct him the author of life.
We can feel at times the Spirit pressing or pulling, or we can feel the Spirit telling us to rid ourselves of a certain behavior and our reply is “Yeh but” or “Not now.” We come to Jesus picking and choosing as if he has set us up a buffet of options in order to best suit our preferences. We can easily read throughout the Gospels to see how Jesus responds to this attitude.

In Luke 9:62 Jesus tells a man that just wants to return and say goodbye to his family that "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

What if this man stayed at the back of the pack of disciples and followed on his own terms, following when he had time or when the teaching being given seemed something he could use in his life. He was dedicated he was committed but only to the periphery. He felt good being near Jesus and even being near some of his disciples but his level of dedication and commitment stopped before it made it to making any real changes in his life and actually by all outside appearances no change was evident. This man might even call himself a disciple, learning many details of the healings Jesus performed, of the teachings he had given, and the details of Jesus’ life but would Jesus recognize him as a disciple?

We must come to the feet of Christ realizing that we need his direction and his instruction.
Like John and Andrew we must be prepared to believe that what the Baptist has told us is true, that he is the Messiah that he is our Messiah. 

We must come to offer our family, our job, our possessions, and ourselves entirely and say “Lord what will you have me do with these?”

To that he will surely reply “Come and see!”