Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lessons from the Gospel of John (2)

So… a couple of weeks ago I shared with you some discoveries I made as we are working our way through the book of John at our Tuesday night Transit home group meetings. 
It’s still amazing to me that after four years of Bible college and countless more in the church that I am STILL learning new things and being amazed at God’s word. 
A week ago we spent some time in John 1:35-42
Here’s what I found popping out at me in this passage…
(Just a note of clarification…all John’s refer to John the Baptist…not John the author)
 #1 John’s disciples were people that he was teaching to understand and follow who Jesus, the Messiah was going to be. We are to do very much the same thing…only we teach people who Jesus was and still is and how to live by the example he set…just a fun little nugget to think about. 
#2 John must have taught his “students” or disciples very well. As soon as they met Jesus they respected him and began to follow him…this means that John must have laid out a solid, truthful example of who Jesus would be since those with him were willing to immediately shift their focus and attention to their new rabbi. 
In the same way, we should set people up to encounter Christ. We should represent him so well and lay out his word and truth so plainly that when they finally have a personal encounter with him and in the moment that Jesus decides to reveal himself to them, they don’t even hesitate or think twice about leaving everything to follow him. 
#3 In this passage (you should read it since I am not including direct quotes…) John sets such an amazing example of what our Christian lives and ministries should look like. It says that the next day (after John encountered Jesus and introduced him to the people) he was back at his post doing what he knew he had been called to do….considering that John had just met THE MESSIAH, it could have been so easy for him to drop everything and get on board with that! Start following Jesus around and being part of the new, big thing…but he didn’t, he stayed where he had been placed. 
I think John’s actions speak volumes for us. How often in Christianity and in ministry we get side tracked and swept away in the new, big thing. God has placed us somewhere to do a work that no one else can do and so we stay there for a while. Then we attend a conference or a bigger, better, more exciting ministry and all of a sudden we are “called somewhere else.” while it’s possible that this is sometimes the case…I don’t always think that it is. I think we allow whims and excitement and emotion to dictate where we minister rather than the solid calling of God. And…if John could recognize where his calling was even after meeting Jesus in person…then I am sure we can sort through whatever “exciting opportunities” are placed in front of us to make sure we remain or go wherever it is that Jesus has placed us. 
#4 Everything that John was doing was pointing people to Jesus. This passage is very clear that when John spoke and acted…people were immediately leaving to follow Jesus. 
Just a reminder…EVERYTHING in your life and your ministry should point people directly to Jesus. 
#5 When Jesus is walking on the road and encounters the two disciples…there are a few really neat practical and spiritual layers and applications. 
First of all…Jesus makes the first move towards them. They are sort of just wondering after who they think might be the person they have been waiting for…and he approaches them. “What can I do for you?”
This is practical in the moment but still so applicable to our lives! Each of us who have come to know Christ were the same way. Wondering around not sure where we were going when Jesus approached us and said..”Hey, you look lost. Can I help you? Come to where I am staying…walk with me until we get there.”
(Just a funny side note…the NIV shows Jesus addressing the disciples like this, “What do you want?” Part of me always imagined Jesus being very frank here and annoyed…but as we talked about at Transit…Jesus was being genuine and really just trying to help these guys out. HAHA )
#6 IMMEDIATELY after Andrew encountered Jesus, the Messiah, he shared him with someone else. He went right to his brother and led his brother right to where Jesus was. He understood the magnitude of his encounter and discovery and knew that he had to get others to see it too. 
WOW. Do I do that? I encountered Jesus years ago…but how many people have I led straight to him? Do I really understand the magnitude of the encounter I had…if I did, perhaps I would be busier helping people find him.
Here’s a few questions we came up with on our way through this passage. Would love to hear thoughts and feedback!
1. Why does John refer to Jesus as the lamb…does he know for a fact that Jesus is going to be crucified?
2. Did Jesus go into the wilderness immediately after his baptism? John seems to conflict with other Gospels on this?
3. Did the disciples have the intention of staying with Jesus when they followed him to where he was staying? 
4. Who is person number 3 in this passage? Could it be John the author?
5. In other Gospels, they are fishing in a boat when Jesus calls them…?
6. What does it mean to be a disciple?
Well…hope you got a little something out of what God is showing me on our journey through John! More to come! 

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