WORD OF GOD SPEAK — TWO WHO HEARD
A little boy said to his mother and father, “I want a little baby sister. All my friends have baby sisters. Well, you pray for one, and if it is God’s will, he will give you one.” He prayed for months and finally forgot about it. Then one day they took him to the hospital to his mother’s bed. His father pulled down the cover and said, “Look son, a little baby sister.” Then he pulled the cover down a little more and there was another little sister. Then he pulled the cover down a little more and there was yet another little sister. Triplets! “Son, he said, aren’t you glad you prayed for a baby sister?” “Yep,” the boy replied. “But aren’t you glad I quit when I did?”
Apparently, there are some things worth repeating aren’t there. That’s one of the most important points about the passage of Scripture we’re studying today. I’ve entitled today’s message Two Who Heard. But I hope there will be two or three willing to share what they heard when I’m done. I’d like one of them to be a student. A learner. Someone still in school of some kind. To stand up, say their first name, and what you heard the word of God speak to you. So we can commend you and say way to go. So be thinking about that.
Turn with me in your Bibles to John 1. Today we’re zeroing in on verses 35-42. Next time, we’ll be studying verses 43-51 so you can read ahead with me for homework. What verses? Verses 43-51. God’s word says, “35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39"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. 40Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter.”
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. Where again? John 1:28 says this all occurred in the Bethany east of the Jordan river. Doing what? Baptizing people. Clearly but humbly calling people to repentance. Pleading with them to watch the Lamb! Pointing people over and over again to look for Jesus. Who was already looking for them. We talked about that last time. And if you were here for that, you might be thinking I’ve already heard this sermon. It’s the same story as last week. Sort of like a cartoon I came across with a couple cows greeting each other the same way. I found another cartoon that made me smile where John the author is trying to convince a 1 st century publisher to print his Gospel of John but the publisher doesn’t want to because he says 3 other guys have already written the same story. Which as we learned earlier in this series isn’t entirely true. John’s Gospel is very different than Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s. But nonetheless, perception is reality and that’s what people think. That it’s just the same old same old.
And it’s true that our passage today begins the same way. It says, “The next day John was there again.” But notice the difference. This time he’s there with two of his disciples. And what he says in front of them should blow our minds. Why? Because he said the same thing before! Verse 36 says when he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
I had forgotten that John the Baptist announced the same thing twice. Did you guys catch that? We always quote John 1:29 as the verse where the Baptist first points out Jesus. Which is true. But we don’t quote verse 36 and I think we should because it takes guts to repeat yourself. Especially in public. Why? Because we don’t want to sound like a mindless moo cow. Constantly repeating ourselves. Saying the same thing over and over again. But the Gospel is not mindless. It may be a mystery. It may be scandalous. It may be a stumbling block to some. But it is definitely not mindless. Which means if we’re not repeating it, it may be because we’re too proud to say the same thing over and over again. Isn’t that true? I think it is.
Haven’t you ever been in the supermarket and seen a child misbehaving pulling all kinds of candy and gum and throwing it into the cart while the mom or dad is frantically placing the items back on the shelf? I heard one say once who looked a lot like me, okay it was me and I can’t believe I was saying this, but nonetheless, I heard myself saying this right before I said, “I”m not going to tell you again” I said “I’m not going to tell you again...” Which is embarrassing isn’t it? Why do we think we should only ever have to say anything only once? And while that may or may not matter for the vast majority of things, like bubble gum and candy, it definitely does matter to Jesus. Because knowing Him is how you get eternal life! And because repetition is what children and grown ups need to hear to follow and keep following Jesus.
Deny it all you want. But we need to hear and keep hearing the word of God speak. Because if we don’t repeat it, how will they hear it? Turn with me to Romans 10. Let’s look together at verses 14-15 [NIV]. You got it? “14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
So here comes point number one. It takes guts to repeat yourself. Especially in public. But that’s what John the Baptist did. He said, Look! Behold! Watch the Lamb! In verse 29 and he repeated himself in verse 35! He wasn’t too ashamed of the Gospel to proclaim it more than once! And neither should we be! Our grand central theme should be Jesus lifted up! Our great center of attraction. This was the way it was for John the Baptist day and day after day. Even in public.
Point number two. It especially takes guts to repeat yourself in front of your friends. Which is weird because you’d think you could be yourself in front of them right? They know all about you. They know if you snore. If you have webbed toes. Where you’re double jointed. All about your bald spot. Your receding hair line. And guess what? They don’t care! Why? Because they’re you’re friend. You can relax and be yourself and know that you’re accepted for who you are flaws and all. And the coolest thing is whether your friends realize it or not is that Jesus feels the same way about them! He loves them like crazy! So much so that He would rather die than spend eternity without them. In fact, He already did. I was reminded of that recently when we rented Charlotte’s Web on DVD.
Charlotte is a talking, gray spider that basically saved Wilbur the talking pig’s life. For those of you who have not seen the movie or read the book which is way better, I will not ruin it by going any further. For me, the punch line came near the end when for a variety of reasons Charlotte and Wilbur must say good bye. But before they do, Wilbur with a questioning look in his eyes asks, “Why did you do all this for me? I don’t deserve it.” Charlotte replies, “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you.” In a tender moment, right before Wilbur says good bye, he states, “I would gladly give my life for you—I really would.”
Sometimes, I think that we as adults become too caught up in what we call the real world. We share the simplest truths and then once we’ve shared those truths, we stop sharing them! As if once is all it takes! But that is not the case. For our children. Or for any of God’s.
So we’ve got to swallow our pride and start repeating ourselves folks. Over and over again. Hopefully in creative and fresh ways that make people smile and laugh and consider the evidence. But basically, we’ve got to repeat ourselves. In public. Number one. And especially in front of our friends and family. Number two. Because repetition works. Even for adults. Which is point number three. Verse 37 says, “When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.”
A disciple was a follower. A student learner. An apprentice. Someone learning on the job so to speak. In today’s passage, we’re being introduced not just to Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist, we’re also being subtly introduced to two of the Baptist’s friends. Andrew and Peter. Two who heard first from John and then from Jesus.
It takes guts to repeat yourself in public. It takes guts to repeat yourself to your friends. But we should keep doing so because point number three is repetition works. Even for adults. And point number four, we should keep repeating ourselves because you might be the only person they’ll listen to. Verses 38-42 conclude, “38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ ‘39Come,’ 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 [or 4:00 pm Jewish reckoning]. 40Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus.”
So let me ask you today. What do you want? Do you want to be satisfied? Deny it all you want but the only eternally significantly satisfying thing around is a tremendous friendship with God. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. Do you want to be successful? Deny it all you want but there is more to life than winning the world’s approval. It takes more guts to ask and receive the Lord’s approval than mans. You’re heard it said that repeating yourself is embarrassing. And that the world won’t respect you if you do. Wrong! John the Baptist shows up with his camel hides and wild hair and keeps talking more and more about Jesus. Repeating himself constantly. And if you do that today, some folks will look at you like you’re rain man too but that’s okay! Because real men aren’t ashamed of the Gospel or making themselves sound redundant. They have a radical humility about them. Focused on the Lamb not the crowds.
And finally, do you want to be significant? Ask the ones nearest and dearest to you to turn around and follow Him with you. God can do amazing things with just one voice. Or two who heard.