Peace Lutheran in Eyota



A joyful Sunday to you! I had a great morning at Peace Lutheran Church in Eyota. Here's the sermie outline. 

Gospel: John 1:43-51
Title: Come and See
Good news: Jesus provides opportunities for us to “come and see” every day.

  • The journey of faith is one of heart and head. It’s knowledge and it’s feelings. It’s stories about Jesus from the past and it’s experiences we have and hear about in the present. Following Jesus is all these things –a combination of knowing and feeling, since the very first followers of Jesus were called.
  • Our Gospel text for today takes place in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. It’s the story of people starting to follow Jesus. A handful of Jesus’ first disciples are called in this initial chapter. Prior to today’s Gospel, he is baptized by John. And then John says, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” Two of John’s followers start following Jesus and he says, “What are you looking for?” They ask, “Where are you staying?” and Jesus says in verse 39, “Come and see.” This becomes an important refrain. “Come and see.” Andrew and Peter become Jesus’ first disciples in the Gospel of John. They hear about Jesus – and then they have an experience of Jesus.
  • Then, today’s text. Jesus finds himself in a new region. Galilee. He sees Philip and says, “Follow me.” And Philip does. Immediately. He’s all in. Then Philip finds Nathanael and tells him all about Jesus.
  • Nathanael’s response: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” It’s kind of funny really. I hear a lot of Iowa jokes now that I live here in Minnesota. Like, “Can anything good come out of Iowa?” It’s not clear how much Nathanael really meant this – but it’s pretty clear that he is not all that impressed by anyone from Nazareth. Philip’s simple response to his friend, Mr. N: “Come and see.” There's that refrain again. Come and see.
  • Nathanael first hears about Jesus and he’s unimpressed. Then he has an actual experience of Jesus. Jesus says upon seeing Nathanael: “Wow, here’s an awesome guy. You’re legit” (I’m paraphrasing here). And Nathanael says, “How do you know me?” Jesus: “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip even talked to you.”
  • I saw you. Jesus says, “I saw you.” Nathanael didn’t know anyone knew about him sitting under that tree so he’s impressed. Really impressed. Suddenly he realizes something awesome CAN come out of Nazareth after all. He has an encounter with Jesus and he is changed. Nathanael says: “You’re the real deal, Jesus” (again…this is an Emily paraphrase).
  • From early on John’s Gospel, we recognize that the journey of faith takes different shapes and forms. Even for these first followers of Jesus. For some of them, it’s immediate. For others, it’s not. For Philip, Jesus said: “Follow me” and he did. For Nathanael, his first reaction to news of Jesus is, “Ewww. An Iowan.” Then he has an experience and is changed.
  • In our own lives – following Jesus takes many shapes and forms. No perfect way to believe. It’s heart and head. It’s stories and experiences. And it’s imagination.
  • Jesus knows us – regardless of the shape of our journey to him. He knows us and he keeps knowing us. And that gives us a lot of freedom. Later – in John 15, Jesus will say: “Remember, you did not choose me, I chose you.” He “Sees” us, he loves us, he values us – and then invites us to come and see him.
  • In our own journeys, it’s good to step back and think about the invitation to “Come and see.” To pay attention. To notice God’s presence. And to invite others to come and see, too. Think back on the past day. Think back on the past week. Did you have holy moments in the past week? Moments when you got to encounter Jesus in some way?
    • I’m teaching Confirmation to a group of 9th graders at a church in Rochester– and their questions inspire me to follow Jesus. Their curiosity brings the Gospel to life. *give examples of some of their questions*
    • How about for you? Where do you “Come and see” Jesus? Maybe here at church. Maybe in that great novel you’re reading. Maybe in your travels. Maybe in a great conversation.
  • Jesus invites us to “come and see” his presence throughout lives. Work. Play. Home. Family. In our church, our synod, and in our denomination. Jesus is at work amid all of it.
  • People of Peace Lutheran Church – you’re at a really exciting juncture. A new pastor will soon be with you. You’ve been inviting people to “come and see” the presence of Jesus in this place – and you will continue to do so. And Jesus IS here – and at work through you.
  • We don’t have to understand it all – we don’t have to know the future. We just need to keep following Jesus’ original invite to Philip – that Philip then extends to Nathanael: “Come and see.”
  • Each day we wake up – and we respond to that invitation: “Come and see.” Say those words with me: Come and see. Come and see. Come and see.
  • Please pray with me. Lord, you come to us in our hearts and in our heads. In our hopes and in our dreams. In the concrete and in the abstract. Remind us of these words: “Come and see.” Help us to recognize you, help us to follow you, and give us courage to extend this invitation to those we meet. Amen.

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