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John 1:29-42

Do you remember when you first met Jesus? Maybe another way this question can be asked is: Do you remember when you first saw Jesus for yourself?

Although born into and raised in a God-honoring and church-life-participating household, I did not ‘see Jesus for myself’ until the summer before my freshman year of high school at a Christian youth camp. It was during the corporate singing of the song “I Am A Friend of God” when I suddenly, for the first time, became overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of God’s desire to be in friendship with me. I was being compelled towards something in a way I had never been before.

Later that night I asked my youth leaders, ‘Does God really want to be my friend?’ Their reply was simple (yet in hindsight, theologically robust!): ‘Yes. Jesus is God, and Jesus wants to be your friend.’ From then on, I was hooked. Having now heard about this disposition of Jesus, and having now seen it - for myself - my life could no longer be the same.

Leading up to that initial moment when you saw Jesus, for the first time, for yourself - what did you hear about Jesus? What did you see?

One of the central themes of the season of Epiphany is Jesus Christ - the light of the world - being revealed to the world. To this very day the Church bears witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the true light of the world, which shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.[1] Amen.

Included in this week’s Gospel reading is an account of John the Baptist revealing Jesus to a few of his disciples, who, as the Scriptures indicate, become Jesus’ first disciples. I am enthralled with the ministry of John the Baptist, because when it comes to discipleship, we have more in common with him than we think! Of course Jesus had disciples, but Jesus pointed his disciples to himself. I like identifying with John the Baptist because we, like him, are not to ultimately point people to us, but rather, to Jesus.

This 17th century painting titled, ‘The Pointer,’ is Italian artist Ottavio Vannini’s depiction of John 1:35-37, which reads: “The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”

John the Baptist turned to his disciples and said, ‘Hey. The guy I have been telling you about…there he is.’ And, according to the Scriptures, it appears that is all John’s disciples needed to hear - without any hesitation they followed Jesus.