“It Is the Lord!”
Isaiah 49: 1-7; Psalm 40: 1-11; John 1: 29-42
Pearl: Recognizing the Lord Jesus and pointing him out to others.
Function: To explore with listeners how and where we see Jesus and to move them to share with others like Andrew did when he told his brother “We have found the Messiah!”
John “outed” his cousin Jesus by saying, “Look, here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” He emphatically proclaimed this about Jesus one day as Jesus was walking toward him.
could go into an analysis of that particular title which John used to describe
Jesus. There is theological meaning to it deriving from the Old Testament
sacrificial system and imagery.
- Most of you are familiar with that imagery.
communion liturgy makes use of the title: “Oh, Lamb of God who takes away the
sins of the world, grant us your mercy…grant us your peace.”
- The sacrificial gift of Christ is a part of our sacrament of communion where we are reminded of God’s self-sacrifice.
- The point is that John recognized Jesus for who he was. He was right on in recognizing the Messiah. And he used a title which captured some of who Jesus was and is.
honestly that title “Lamb of God” comes from the ancient first century so how
might we update our recognition of the Savior today? Hasn’t the world changed
since the first century? Surely, there are other titles we would use today in
identifying our Lord Jesus.
- What title for Jesus would best capture your understanding of your Lord today?
is a very serious question and exercise I am asking you to undertake.
- Just as “Lamb of God” has so much meaning
and it had even more meaning in the first century, surely you could come up
with a title for your Lord which appropriately captures your understanding of
him. For example:
- Gracious One;
- Glorious One;
- Merciful One;
- Lover of souls;
- Faithful friend;
me, I think I would proclaim Jesus in this way: “Wonder Worker.”
- That captures a lot of what I make of the Lord. This title captures the Lord’s ongoing project of making all things new. His wonders never cease, they are new every morning. He is a true wonder worker.
- Just as “Lamb of God” has so much meaning and it had even more meaning in the first century, surely you could come up with a title for your Lord which appropriately captures your understanding of him. For example:
Today’s message is about recognizing the Lord Jesus, inviting others to see him as well, and to join together in following him.
Recognizing your Lord Jesus is so very important today when many loud voices say he is this or he is that. You should respectfully listen to all thoughts and consider people’s proclamations but you have to discern your true Lord, like John.
- The church today, as in every age, is at risk to err in proclaiming the true Lord! The stakes are very high. Leading anyone away from the Lord Jesus is a serious hazard. A lot of it is happening in this very day! Many say “thus says the Lord” when the Lord by no means said that or means that.
how do you recognize your true Lord?
- Christ’s voice is:
- THE voice of compassion.
- His voice comes “from the underside” as Dietrich Bonhoeffer described it. He meant that you will hear Christ’s voice not from those who are “on top of the world, the powerful, the privileged,” but from those “on the underside,” those “under oppression” and from those “under the iron fist” of the world’s winners.
- His voice is one of inclusion. A voice of honoring those who are different from you.
- Christ is seen among the victims living on the margins of the world.
- Christ is found in the loneliest of places.
- He is with the bankrupt farmers.
- You will find him in the prisons and in the slums.
- You will find him with the divorced and the defeated.
- You will find him in your neighbor.
- With the addicted and with the families of the addicted.
- Christ’s voice is:
- The question is, “Are you recognizing your true Lord or are you accepting a false characterization?” It is important that you know and recognize the true Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
And when you recognize him, please tell someone else about him and invite them to join with you in following him and in worshiping him.
Andrew heard John speak and point out the Messiah so he went to his brother Simon (who Jesus later renamed calling him Peter), and Andrew said, “We have found the Messiah.” Peter got to Jesus thanks to his brother Andrew.
John proclaimed Jesus as the perfect, pure sacrificial Lamb of God, the Messiah, likely to try to “move him into action with regard to the kingdom of God.” John thought he was God’s Messiah so he wanted Jesus to get on with things. The thing is that John was right on about Jesus!
people got much more curious about Jesus. Some went to Jesus and asked him,
“Where are you staying?”
seemingly strange to ask maybe it was actually the brilliant thing to say. Not
that they were curious about his living preferences but likely they simply
wanted to spend some time with him.
- His response to them was “come and see.”
- Jesus in like manner also wanted them to come with him so that they could interact with him, dialogue together, and get to know each other. Isn’t this the best way to get to know someone? To spend time with them?
- His response to them was “come and see.”
- While seemingly strange to ask maybe it was actually the brilliant thing to say. Not that they were curious about his living preferences but likely they simply wanted to spend some time with him.
you know Jesus, better once you know his way and his priorities, you want
others to know them as well. Andrew instinctively went to his brother Cephas
saying, “We have found the Messiah.”
- It is totally normal and automatic for you to want others to get in on what you know.
is God’s intent: to share the Lord with others.
- National churches have offices which
conduct research and collect data. Some years ago there was a poll asking how
people happened to come to church (“come see the Messiah”) in the first place.
Here are the replies:
- 2-3 percent joined because of denominational identity;
- 5-6 percent joined because of a particular program or church events;
- 3-4 percent joined because of the preaching and worship life;
- A whopping 80 percent said they joined the church because a friend or family member invited them, and the new attender could see the importance of faith in the friend or family member’s life.
- Jesus’ invitation is “Come and see.” We
are always invited into a closer relationship with him.
- No compulsion. No pressure. Just that smiling invitation to spend some time in the presence of another. When that other person is Jesus, the encounter is a life-changing experience.
- It is crucially important what guests experience when they do come and see. Do they find a warm and welcoming gathering of people, who are always eager to greet a newcomer? Or do they experience what’s essentially a closed group: a gathering of people who know each other perfectly well, but don’t have much time for anyone else?
- National churches have offices which conduct research and collect data. Some years ago there was a poll asking how people happened to come to church (“come see the Messiah”) in the first place. Here are the replies:
you see the Lord; once you know the Lord’s heart, you invite others to join in
on the experience.
- The Psalmist wrote, “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation…I have not restrained my lips… “(Psalm 40:9).
- Speak up for the Lord; point him out. Champion his Way!
Lord will take it from there.
- Point out the Lord;
- Speak for his priorities;
- Make the way of Christ known;
- The Lord will take it from there!