26 November 2012

Encountering Jesus ~ "Come and you will 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 spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).(John 1:35-41)
Last week, I looked at John the Baptist's encounter with Jesus. 

In today's portion of Scripture, John points two others their first encounter with the Lord.... 

I love this thought: 
The next day, John returned to where he had already encountered Jesus... anticipating meeting with Him again, in that place. 

Most of the commentators I read remarked that John presence "there again" on the next day contains within the idea of hoping, standing, waiting, expecting. He believed Jesus would come to him again if he sought his Lord where he'd found Him before. While there is no "formula" or "recipe" for encountering Jesus and I've often been surprised by Him, one of the best strategies to consistently meet with Him incorporates this idea of being in the same place and position (referring to heart attitude) where I've previously met with Him.

And He did see Jesus again. This time the text does not record any interaction between those two men. Instead, John did what he had already been doing: preparing the way, pointing others to their own, personal encounters with Jesus. As a missionary, that is also my heartbeat - that somehow, my presence directs the eyes of others towards the Savior.

The more I think about John the Baptist, I am convinced that he must have been a phenomenal, charismatic teacher. John's disciples, well taught, immediately applied what he'd been teaching them - that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the One they needed to follow. They immediately took off after Jesus. One of the two men is clearly identified as Andrew. Most commentators agree that the second man is probably John, the apostle and author of this Gospel account.

When Jesus turned around and saw them, He asked them what they wanted... "Why are you following Me?" These men were about to have a Jesus rendez-vous. I wonder if He asked this question to help them be sure of their motives... What were they hoping Jesus would do for them? 

Jesus initiated deeper, more personal, interaction. Have you ever seen someone you knew you wanted to know better? And so you try to position yourself so that you have opportunity to converse, work alongside or simply spend time listening and learning from him or her? But breaking the ice? That can feel awkward, like you are intruding. Jesus intercepted that whole scenario by gently accosting them. After they answered, He welcomed them to join Him, for the prospect of spending time with them pleased the Lord as well.

I find it fascinating how John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God - a clear foreshadowing reference to His sacrificial death. Later, when Andrew tells his brother about meeting Jesus, he referred to Him as the Messiah... or the Anointed One... the eventual One chosen and set apart to be king. I wonder if even in that first day, they imagined they'd found a promised political savior instead of a Savior of men's souls?

Messiah was not the first title, however, they used for Jesus. When He asked them why they were following Him, the men replied Rabbi. By identifying Him as teacher, they immediately placed themselves as disciples at the feet of One from whom they desired to be taught. One of the aspects I found very interesting as our children went to local schools was that the students did not call teachers by their name; rather, they referred to them as  "Maîtresse" or "Maître"  ...in other words, teacher. Using a title in that way shows the high esteem, even reverence, these men already felt towards the Lord. This sentiment must have developed and grown as they sat at the feet of John the Baptist, soaking in whatever he had to prepare them for this moment, this encounter with the Son of God. Then John removed himself from the picture and pointed them on to the One Who would teach them even more.

After spending that day with Jesus, Andrew couldn't stop talking about this man. In fact (and according to the Biblical text), his very next step was to return home and tell his brother all about the One with Whom he'd spent the day... the One for Whom they'd been waiting. Andrew immediately became a tool of the Holy Spirit, preparing another for his own personal encounter with Jesus.

Briefly, Scripture challenges me on several fronts as I study this passage: 
  1. Authentic encounters with the Savior leave a burden to see others have that same opportunity.
  2. Placement is everything. It is imperative to be in a position likely to lead to intimate time with Jesus.
  3. Living, talking and walking the Jesus road allows others to recognize Jesus when they they personally encounter Him.
  4. Jesus gently, graciously welcomes all who are willing to follow.
  5. Each encounter with the Lord only deepens esteem, respect and awareness of desperate need for Him.
  6. Genuine heart encounters with the Son of God prompt proclaiming the wonders of His love, mercy, truth, teaching, as well as announcing that He is here! What a wonderful thought with which to enter this Advent season!

What has the Holy Spirit impressed upon your heart 
as you read through this Jesus Encounter?

this week's gratitude list:
(#'s 3307 - 3333) ~ I didn't plan landing on that number on purpose, either!

Joe and Andi are engaged

and now there's a much anticipated summer wedding

future plans falling into place

dancing the night away with friends

remembering favorite dances from college days

these photos of my nana and my pop-pop - I'm looking forward to seeing them next summer

turkey and ham for Thanksgiving

leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast 

finding pinto beans and cornmeal in town the same week

Christmas carols

roasting pig out by the river

lovely Friday evening float/ride on the river - it's been too long since I've done one of those

Christmas carols!

lost luggage arriving

finding out that we can fly from Niamey to Glasgow... and trying to decide if we want to go from there to Michigan or LA???

lovely evening with friends @ Les Roniers - nothing beats the salade Novelle Orleans with steak au poivre vert!

three solid hours of sleep without waking up once

Reese's peanut butter cups... 

Little boy planning to build a bridge, first with legos... then we'll see

hotdogs roasting o'er an open fire

hearing all about the first snow

progress reports completed for this semester

Christmas holidays... three weeks and counting!

thinking and planning for Parc W... Lord-willing the entire family this year

the best soup made with turkey bone leftovers

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