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John 1:35-51

What do you seek?

  • Jean Marais
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 07, 2024

Today we are continuing our study of the book of John. 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.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

What do you seek?
John 1:35-51
April 6-7, 2024

      Today we are continuing our study of the book of John. 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 this chapter, we are 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, 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 were collapsing around them, they were pursuing every worldly thing you can imagine and as a result, their lives and nation were in shambles.

      Is that not what we also see today? People’s personal lives and nations going to ruin when they turn from God.

      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 baptizing them in the Jordan River with the baptism of repentance.

      His baptism was not a baptism of salvation. His baptism was a sign that those who were baptized were repentant, tired of living the way they were living. It was the preparation of the heart for the Messiah to come.

      John mentions that John the Baptist was baptizing in Bethany beyond the Jordan. I believe this is no coincidence. Bethany means “House of Affliction”. It speaks of people who were spiritually desperate, living in affliction, on the other side of the Jordan, “outside’ the promised land.

      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.” This must have been quite an interesting moment. John knew Jesus well. They grew up together. But one day the revelation was given to Him that Jesus is the Messiah.  Once you get that revelation, everything changes.

      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 are you looking for?

I. What You Seek Defines Your Life

  • What you are seeking, what you desire, and what you are looking for, will determine the course of your life.
  • These two disciples wanted more than just to know where Jesus was staying, they wanted life; they wanted to know the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

A. Behold the Lamb

  • These few words changed their lives. They were already disciples of John the Baptist, but they knew that he was the one preparing the way for the Messiah, he was not the Messiah. They wanted to know more. Their hearts were prepared.
  • So, when John pointed out and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world’, they knew what the next step should be. They wanted to follow Jesus.
  • As they started following Him, Jesus asked them, “What do you seek?”
  •  They said to him, Teacher, where are you staying?
  •  This is significant. They did not just want to walk a few yards with Jesus, get a few tips for success, ask Him to quickly bless them, and leave. They wanted to know where He stayed.

Illus – A few years ago we had the privilege to go to the island of Murano just off the coast of Venice. It is famous for the glass art that the glass masters make. When you visit there, you have the chance to go into the studio and see the masters at work. It is fascinating. This skill they have is incredible. To become a master is not easy. Those who choose to follow that life typically begin as an apprentice in their teens and train for at least 15 years until they are allowed to work as humble laborers in the furnace. To then become a master glass blower, they must demonstrate a special talent. Even after all that time, not everyone has what it takes. I watched this and I appreciated the talent and artistry, but I did not have the passion to sign up and become an apprentice for 15 years. But at some stage every apprentice that was there looked at this from a different perspective. They had a deep desire to become like the master.

  • I believe many people heard John the Baptist say, ‘Behold the Lamb’. Many of them must’ve thought, ‘That’s interesting, good to know!’, and just continued with their lives.
  •  But these two disciples were different. They wanted to follow Jesus. They wanted life. They were not satisfied with mundane soul-empty living.
  • They wanted to “Behold the Lamb”. They wanted to fix their eyes on Jesus. That was all that mattered.
  • 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? … 

  • The problem is that people are looking for life just like they’re looking for love in all the wrong places, thinking that the things they chase will give them the desires of their hearts. And instead of finding the life and love they seek; they end up making an even greater mess of their lives.

B. You become what you love

  • What you are seeking, what you’re longing for will determine the course of your life.
  • These two were seeking truth and they became followers of Jesus. It changed the course of their lives radically.
  • 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 lives 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 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;

  • Let’s take for example the love of money. Jesus said the love of money is the root of all evil. It brings out everything that is of the flesh and there is no line it will not cross to acquire it.

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.

  • All of us are set before this same decision. Are we like the crowd that just takes note of Jesus, or are we like the disciples that want more?

C. Jesus satisfies our deepest desire

  • When the disciples asked Jesus where He was staying, Jesus gave them a powerful answer to the longing of our souls. “Come and you will see.”

 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.

  • Deep down, this is the longing of every heart: Experiencing the unconditional love of God and peace with Him.
  • 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 content in God.”

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.

A. Jesus sees you

  • Each of these disciples has a different testimony of how they found Jesus, or perhaps how Jesus found them.
  • 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 an alcoholic who came to faith dramatically and then look at themselves and think, “Man, I have a wimpy testimony.”
  • Everyone is different. But every encounter with God is personal.
  • Some people think that nobody sees them. They are just part of the crowd. If everyone is special to God, if everyone is the apple of His eye, then nobody is really special. They then think they are alone in the crowd.
  • They do not realize that God is not like man. God is almighty, omnipotent, and inexhaustible. His attention isn’t divided. Everyone always has his full attention, His perfect love.

Illus- As parents we can get a glimpse into that. If you have many children, each one is different, but you love them all. The love for one doesn’t half when you get another child. Instead, love is multiplied.

  • How much more our God who is love. His love is immeasurable. You don’t have to compete with someone else for God’s love and attention. As humans, although we might love equally, we have limited time and attention to spread around, but not God.
  • We see this in this passage. Jesus spoke intimately into every one of their lives, specifically to them. Maybe you can identify with one of them.
  • We encounter Andrew. He called 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.

Illus – Most people know the name Billy Graham. But I am sure nobody here without researching it will know who led Billy Graham to the Lord. Yet that person has made a mighty impact in God’s kingdom with many souls credited to him.

  • Andrew was sharing the good news. His passion activated Simon. Most people are invited to Jesus by someone. Sometimes all you have to do is invite people to Jesus. He takes it from there.
  • The we have Simon. Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter, meaning Rock. God changed His destiny and gave him a different vision and purpose. Maybe this is what Jesus did for you. Or maybe this is what you need. You do not see how your life can make any difference. Jesus can change that.
  • Then we have Phillip. Jesus said, “Follow me”. Jesus called Him without any other disciples witnessing to him,

Illus – Stories are coming in from all over the world that many Muslims are having dreams of Jesus.

  • 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 Nathanael meets Jesus, Jesus says, Ah, an Israelite without deceit!
  • Nathanael asks Jesus, ‘How do you know me?’ That is the point. Jesus knows YOU. He knows your deepest desires, however misguided they might be at the moment. He knows your deepest longing, your deepest hurt, your deepest shame. Jesus sees you.
  • Because of this revelation, Nathaniel says, Rabbi, you are the son of God. Because you have seen me, you are the son of God.
  • Then in essence Jesus said to Him, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

B. You will see greater things

  • Verse 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.”
  • The difference is that Jesus doesn’t only see where you are. Many might be able to see where you are, but they don’t have the ability to do anything about it.
  • With this verse, Jesus was referring to the ladder that Jacob saw with angels ascending and descending on it when God spoke to him.
  • Jacob was in essence fleeing from his brother. He was going into the unknown, away from everything that was his security. Yet God revealed Himself to Jacob, promising Him that he would be with Him and would bless Him. He gave him a vision and a destiny.
  • Jesus is saying, I am the ladder. I am the connection between heaven and earth that was severed by sin. I am the bridge to get back into a relationship with God. I am the answer and the miracle that you seek.
  • Their lives would never be the same. They saw the greatness of Jesus. They saw the miracles, they saw His character, they saw His passion. In short, they saw God incarnate.
  • Not only did they see it, but they were also part of it. His story became their story.
  • When Jesus steps into your life, it is not only to reveal to you what a horrible sinner you are. He reveals to you that which is keeping you away from the fullness of God and His plan for your life.
  • Then, if you’re willing to follow, and if you’re willing to surrender, His story becomes your story. Him being in your life changes everything.
  • He takes what he revealed, who you are, maybe even that which wants to break you and destroy you, and turns it into something beautiful. He uses you, walks with you, guides you, councils you, stretches you, enlarges your territory, and it ultimately becomes your story with God.
  • Where you are now is not the end. God is not done yet. I believe that greater things have yet to come. Seek Him first.

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

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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