John 1.29 thru 41 God Reveals Christ
“God Reveals Christ to Us”
Text: John 1:29-42
I’d like to show you a picture today (Wait for slide). First turn over the outline sheet from your bulletin and hold it in your hand. Now I want you to stare at the four dots in the middle of the picture on the screen. Maybe some of you have seen this before, but just go along with it if you have. Now, keep looking at it, just for ten more seconds. Now, look at the outline sheet. Do you see it? Or, more appropriately, do you see Him?
I just wanted to make the point that we don’t always see what is in front of us. Do you see everything you are supposed to see? I think we are sometimes blind to many things in our lives. Sometimes we don’t seem to recognize when we are at fault with our spouses or unaware of their needs (I’m mostly talking to men right now). We can miss road signs, information, all kinds of trappings, and many things that either can trip us up or could help us out if we had seen them earlier.
- We don’t always see Christ in our lives!
What about with God? Do we see how God works in our lives all the time? I would submit to you that we don’t always see Christ in our lives. I would venture a guess that, like me, you don’t see the way in which God is leading you in your life. Often times until after you have arrived and many times not at all! We fail to see the way in which God reveals himself to us in our daily lives. We can sit and listen to a sermon, like this one, and miss completely God’s message to us personally. Sometimes we can read His word and find ourselves day dreaming to the point of reading through a whole paragraph without even paying attention to what we just read. I usually try to reread the paragraph, but sometimes I have to move on to the next thing I have to do and I miss what God was trying to say to me at that very moment in my life.
Do you think this is just a coincidence? I have news for you; this is what Satan would love for all of us to do all of the time! He would like us to continually miss when Christ is entering into our lives! He would want us to be distracted; as God was rebuking us for our sin, or guiding us in our lives, or making it known to us that we are forgiven through Jesus Christ! Yet we get distracted and we don’t see Christ and His gospel message in the many ways that He enters our lives. We can be distracted by sin and the pursuit of our own idols.
- If we can’t see Him we can’t share Him!
And then, if we can’t see Him we can’t share Him with others! When we are having trouble seeing the gospel in our own lives we are going to have trouble conveying this message to others. Because we are not seeing how God works in our lives we have trouble telling others of the way in which Jesus Christ can work in theirs. This is an essential for us as pastors…and for all of us as Christians.
I can tell you from experience that if you aren’t seeing the gospel unfolding in your daily life it is difficult to preach it from the pulpit or to tell a neighbor the good news. I have struggled with this very problem. As I began here at King of Kings, I was finding that my gospel proclamation seemed weak. I was having trouble bringing home the message of forgiveness and Christ’s mighty work on the cross. This was because I was having trouble with it myself. I was starting this new ministry and there was much on my mind. I was trying to do my very best at everything that I was doing as the new pastor and because this depended all on me, I was failing to do some things with excellence. When I really stopped to look at this, I saw that I was missing Christ and His forgiveness for me in my own life. I forgot that I needed to live in His grace before I could share that grace with others.
This is the problem though! We have trouble seeing Jesus and sometimes, if we are distracted (or in sin), we may need someone to point Him out for us. And if we are the ones that are called upon to point Him out we want to be ready with an answer…but what if we are caught up in our sin or just “doing our own thing”? God gives us people like John the Baptizer in our lives or sometimes God makes us be a John the Baptizer to others at these times.
- God reveals Christ to John!
In this season of Epiphany, we see how Jesus Christ was revealed to John and the people he was with. God reveals Christ to John and one of the ways He is revealed is as we see Him revealed this morning in our Gospel reading. The title that John gives Jesus as he calls him “the Lamb of God” is important! He says in our text, “Behold the Lamb of God.” God who takes away the sin of the world!! God revealed Jesus to John through His word. John knew that the Lamb in the Old Testament was the symbol of Passover, in which the blood of the lamb was smeared on the entry way over one’s door so that the angel of death would pass by. There is strong symbolism in the terminology that John has used to describe Jesus. This language reveals Jesus and the gospel message itself to the people that were standing there with John.
In fact, the word “lamb” became synonymous with the Savior. Isaiah uses the word in his prophecy concerning the Messiah, as he says: “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.” God promised he would send one who would come to be our Savior, to carry our sins for us…to the slaughter… Now, on the bank of the Jordan River, John sees that “One” who was revealed to him by God. He saw Jesus, and he gave him the title, “Lamb of God.”
I heard a story that illustrates this. A tourist visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a worker fell from a high scaffold. His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. However, to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured. How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower scaffold at the time, and the worker landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved. To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the worker fell for all to see…Our lamb is there for us to see…
Jesus came to John while he was living his life as a servant of God. John was in service to God and, in verse 31; we see that God revealed Jesus to John while he was just doing what he was called to do. While John was just going about being in His service, Jesus came crashing into His life. Jesus comes to John the Baptizer in his life right where he is located. It didn’t matter that John was way out in the desert! Jesus found Him and God revealed to John who the Lamb of God was.
God revealed Jesus to John through His word, which was spoken to him. And through God’s word, John understands the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God…the Messiah, who will “take away the sin of the world.” He sees Jesus as the redeemer, the one that will save the world…through the gift of faith…
John now testifies of this…repeatedly! He tells others about what he sees. He shows those around him that Jesus is the Lamb of God. The savior of the world! Not just the first day he sees Him but the next day too. He will continue to point to Christ until his death. We see the effects of John’s witness. Jesus comes into other people’s lives through God using John to reveal the Lamb of God to others.
- God reveals Christ to us in the same ways!
God reveals Christ to us in the same ways! He comes to us in our lives wherever we are too. We see glimpses of Jesus or “God sightings” in our lives every day…if we look for Him. You know, those times when you think to yourself, “was that God at work?” I remember when we were on our vicarage year and we were just getting by financially. Sure enough, the “Service Engine Soon” light lit up on the dash of our car. I brought it in and the mechanic told me this was going to be $1,500 to $2,000. Barbie and I were gasping as to how we would handle this new, unexpected, expense. We prayed for some kind of a miracle…we just didn’t have a way to take care of this easily… And then the mechanic called back and told us he did some research and found out this repair was on the extended warranty package we had purchased 5 years earlier! I really felt like it was Jesus on the other end of that line…
God comes to us through His word too…when we encounter the gospel and see Christ right there before us in His love letter to us! Have you ever sat down with something heavy on your mind and picked up the Bible to see what God has to say to you. I know I have and I pray this is your practice also. Doesn’t He often times show us an answer to the dilemma we are in? Or tell us how wrong we are about ourselves in some way. He can shower down forgiveness and grace or help us to see how to love one another with the powerful words that are contained in the Bible.
He comes to us through others pointing to Him too. We see Christ through the revelation of the Messiah that sometimes has to be pointed out to us. There are people that God has placed in our lives that are there waiting for us when we are struggling or down on ourselves about something. These people are there for us, as a gift from God, with a revelation from His word which reveals how the Lamb of God has in fact…”taken away the sin of our lives.”
The Holy Spirit works through the witness of experience, His word, and through brothers and sisters in Christ… Now let’s look at that slide again. Just look at it for 10 seconds…keep looking…now look at the person next to you in the pew or you can look at the Bible in front of you…Do you see Him? Is it Jesus? The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?... Now, may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.