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John 1:35-51

What the Soul Seeks

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 14, 2013

When Jesus appeared at the Jordan River John called out and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Two of John the Baptist’s disciples heard this and they left John and followed after Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What do you seek?” That question becomes the theme of the rest of the chapter and is a question for us as well. What do you seek? What you looking for?

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

What the Soul Seeks

John 1:35-51 

John tells us the reason he wrote this gospel, so that we might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in believing we might have life in His name. The other gospels were written to give an account of Jesus’s life and ministry, but the singular purpose of John’s gospel is so that we might believe and in believing have life.

In the very first verses of his gospel, John introduces Jesus in an amazing declaration, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” The other Gospels give us the genealogy of Jesus, that’s John’s genealogy right there, “In the beginning the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The other Gospels give us the nativity scene in Bethlehem, John straight up declares in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God sent His Son, the Word, to reveal God’s heart to us.

Why? Because God’s heart is to reconcile the world to Himself. He is the One reaching out with the offer of life. He knows the hurt, the pain, the loneliness, despair and darkness in people’s lives so He sent His Son, the Word, to reveal His love to us and to invite us to be reconciled.

In this chapter we are also introduced to John the Baptist. God used John the Baptist to bear witness of Jesus, “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” The scriptures say that John came in the spirit and power of Elijah. When people think of the spirit and power of Elijah, and they often think of the miracles that Elijah did.

But Elijah was sent to Israel when Israel was in its darkest place. Their hearts had gone far from God, their country and their economy was collapsing around them, they were pursuing every worldly thing you can imagine and as a result their lives and nation were in shambles.

John came in the spirit and power of Elijah as a forerunner to announce that God’s Messiah was now living among them. He called people back to revival and he baptized in the Jordan River as a baptism of repentance.

When Jesus appeared at the Jordan River John called out and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Two of John the Baptist’s disciples heard this and they left John and followed after Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What do you seek?” That question becomes the theme of the rest of the chapter and is a question for us as well. What do you seek? What you looking for?

I. What You Seek Defines Your Life

  • What you are seeking, what you desire, what you are looking for, will determine the course of your life.
  • These two disciples want more than just to know where Jesus is staying, they want life; they want to know the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  • If you took a survey and asked people what they are looking for in life, what do you think they would say? 
  • People want happiness, they want to love and be loved, they want success, security, and they want their emptiness filled with something. Some people want fame and fortune; they want recognition from others because they want to be valued in the eyes of others. For them value is often found in comparison to others.

Illus – Have you ever been to a high school reunion? These are always competitions about what job you have, how much you make, what clothes you wear, what names you can drop, how far you’ve climbed the ladder of success and how much hair you have left.

  • The problem is that people are looking for life just like they’re looking for love in all the wrong places and instead of finding the life and love they seek; they end up making an even greater mess of their lives.

A. We are becoming what we love 

  • What you are seeking, what you’re longing for will determine the course of your life.
  • These two were seeking for truth and they became followers of Jesus, it literally changed the course of their lives.
  • We need to understand the desires of our hearts and what we are looking for as well.

Illus – Isn’t that what American Idol is about? One time Ryan Seacrest, the host, asked the judges what the winner would receive. Simon Cowell responded, “What everyone dreams of; fame, stardom and a ton of money.”

  • But what we love, what we long for, determines the course of our life because love is a transforming power.

Illus – A.W. Tozer wrote a powerfully insightful work when he wrote, “We are all in the process of becoming. We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we will be. Not only are we in the process of becoming, we are becoming what we love. We are to a large degree, the sum of our loves; and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most; for love is among other things, a creative affinity. It changes and molds and shapes and transforms.

What we love is therefore not a small matter; it is of critical and everlasting importance. It is prophetic of our future. It tells us what we shall be, and so predicts our eternal destiny. Loving wrong things is fatal to spiritual growth; it twists and deforms the life and makes impossible the appearing of the image of Christ in the soul. Love is within our power of choice, true spiritual love begins in the will. We should set our hearts to love God supremely and joy is sure to follow. 

Colossians 3:2-4, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth; for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

B. What we desire is found in Jesus

  • When the disciples ask Jesus where He was staying, they were doing what I do when I try to get myself invited to dinner; they were hinting that they wanted to be with Him. 
  • But Jesus’s answer becomes a powerful answer to the longing of our soul. “Come and you will see.”

Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Psalm 63:1,3,5, My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water… Because Your lovingkindness is better than life… My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

  • Many people believe that if they could just marry the person of their dreams, they will be content and satisfied. But when we have the opportunity to speak into it, our advice is always the same, “You can’t be content in marriage until you learn to be content single. Our hearts are made to be contented in God.”

Philippians 4:11-13, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am… in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

II. Come and You Will See

  • The rest of the chapter is the result of Jesus’s invitation, “Come and you will see.”
  • These disciples that come are examples of the different ways that people come to Christ.
  • Two of them heard John the Baptist say that He was the Lamb of God and they left to seek out Jesus for themselves.
  • One of them, Andrew, shares with his brother, Simon, saying, “We have found the Messiah,” and brought him to Jesus.
  • And then there’s Philip. No one shared with him, Jesus Himself sought Philip out.
  • Philip found Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
  • But Nathanael asked questions, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip answered, “Come and see.”

Psalm 34:8, O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

A. Time will reveal what you are

  • Each of these disciples has a different testimony of how they found Jesus, or perhaps how Jesus found them. But each one is different.
  • We can relate in the sense that each of us has our own testimony. Although sometimes people hear of radical stories of a drug dealer or a gang member, or the alcoholic who came to faith in a dramatic way and then look at themselves and think, “Man, I have a wimpy testimony.”

Illus – Many of the hippies that came to faith in the 60s had radical testimonies, but the pastor who led them to Christ, Chuck Smith, was raised in a Christian home.

  • Some make a profession of faith and it’s an emotional experience, others feel nothing at all. But it’s not the emotion of the moment; it’s the fruit that remains.

Illus – Have ever known of a person who appears to have a radical conversion, buy a huge Bible, plaster bumper stickers all over their car and walk around saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” But then later you see that they faded and fell away and went back to the world. Maybe they said a little prayer, but didn’t mean it at all, or maybe they became offended because difficulties came into their lives.

Mark 4:16-17, “These are the ones on whom seed was sown on rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive with joy; but they have no firm root, but are only temporary; when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.”

  • When Jesus said, “Come and you’ll see,” it was a way of saying come and see for yourself. I like that, there’s no pressure in that statement. God wants us to come because we understand what He’s offering and desire it in our heart.

Illus- I once came into the restaurant and my partner had buttonholed an employee saying, “Just say the prayer, just say the prayer.” Do you think his prayer was authentic?

B. Friends tell friends good news

  • Most people are brought to Christ by someone else. Andrew, after meeting Jesus only one day, immediately told his brother Simon.
  • We don’t know a lot about Andrew. We know that he was the one who brought the boy to Jesus with the five loaves and two fish the day Jesus fed the 5,000. He’s the one who brought his brother Peter. But there wouldn’t be a Peter without an Andrew.
  • This is the theme that runs through all of these verses. When Philip told Nathanael about Jesus of Nazareth, he responded, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip responded, “Come and see for yourself.”
  • Invite someone to church; invite someone to meet Jesus for themselves because it’s good news for their soul.
  • When Jesus looked upon Simon, He said, “You are Simon, the son of John, you shall be called Cephas,” which means “the rock.”

App - That’s the heart of God after us. “You are…; You will be…” Simon was a big burly fisherman that was most likely loud and boisterous, but Jesus saw him for who he would become.

  • Philip is different in the sense that no one told him about Jesus, instead, Jesus found Philip.

Illus - There are stories coming in from all over the world that many Muslims are having dreams of Jesus.

  • Nathanael hears about Jesus, but questions. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Then he asked Jesus, “How do You know me?”
  • We have to come back to our original question; what are you seeking, what are you looking for? 

John 1:35-51    NASB

35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
 
43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46 Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" 48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." 50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

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