Abiding with Jesus - Second Sunday of Epiphany Year A
The Reverend Canon Charles Royden
John 1: v 29-42
(Please stand and use the response in the service sheet )
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" "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. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And 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).
There are several things which stand out in the passage this morning
Jesus the Lamb of God. It is a huge passage here this morning from John’s Gospel. Jesus is proclaimed as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus defeats evil, note the sin of the world. Its not about our individual transgressions, when you parked on that yellow line and ran in the shops. This is about the sin (singular) of the world, the sin is viewed as a cosmic power and the Lamb defeats the enslaving power of sin. We could preach hours of sermons on what this means and how the death of Jesus breaks the power of sin.
We also have the re-naming of Simon as Peter.
“‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas’ (v. 42). This kind of name change has precedents in the Old Testament. God told Abram, “Neither will your name any more be called Abram, but your name will be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5).
Also God told Jacob, “Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
Such name changes indicate the beginning of a new life—a new purpose—a new relationship with God. Jesus has big plans for Peter
I would however like to look at 'Abiding with Jesus'
This morning I want us to think about the big question which Jesus asked of those first disciples and how they responded. Jesus first words in John’s Gospel are
What are you seeking?
It is a great question for all of us and one which we need to pose to others. We live in a culture which is seeking lots of things but all of the answers are perceived to be found in the acquisition of stuff.
Andrew said that in Jesus he had found the Messiah. He didn’t have a clue what that meant. But he did know that the hopes and dreams, the searching and longing of human existence had been found. What God had planned for the world was found in the person of Jesus. Messiah means the anointed one, the promised one, it carries all sorts of nuances but it boils down to God’s answer to human need. It is the recognition of this that causes Andrew and his brother Simon in our story today to join Jesus as his disciples. We know that disciples are learners, followers of Jesus, however when they come to Jesus and Jesus asks them what they want, they express this by saying that they want to 'remain' (Meneis, aor. meno)) with him - stay with him - abide with him. This word abide (meno) is a really important one for John’s Gospel, it is used over 40 times. It is the word which is used in John 14 when Jesus says that in his Father's house there are many mansions, or rooms. Literally it says that there are many 'places to remain or abide) abiding places!'. How do we abide with Jesus, what does this mean for us?
We abide with Christ as we do his will. Jesus said
“As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10).
Those who abide live his way and as we visit the sick, visit the bereaved as we live out his presence in the world, carry out his commands, do his will.
We abide with Christ as we pray. Jesus said that if we abide with him we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done for us. Of course the disciple who abides with Christ will never ask for material blessings, we have been told to pray for nothing more than daily bread.
We abide with Christ as we take communion. Jesus said “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56) We don’t understand how that happens, it is a visual expression on a spiritual truth in which we live the presence of Christ in a way that avoids capture with human words.
We abide with Christ with others
For many years the Billy Graham organization had a strategy for Christian witness called with a program called, “Operation Andrew.” It was based on this passage form John’s Gospel. We are told that the first thing which Andrew did was to find his brother and bring him to Jesus. In preparation for the Billy Graham crusades volunteers would be recruited from churches who agreed not only to attend the crusade, but to bring at least one other person with them. This is not cold door knocking, or arguing, or going on courses, just using our own opportunities to allow people to come and see for themselves. It is about social networks and friends and family and it works.
Andrew has no great prominence in the Gospels, but when we do glimpse him, he is always doing the same thing, bringing others to Christ; and through them at second hand effecting mighty things for Christ, which but for him would not have been done at all” Andrew does this on three occasions, this being the first. Later, he will bring a boy with loaves and fishes to Jesus (6:8-9). Finally, he shares in bringing a group of Greeks (12:20-22).
The Gospel of John is all about witness, and this is an important message for this morning, especially at Epiphany when we think of revealing who Jesus is to all people. Witness is not a frightening thing, it is about sharing, it is not about threats, not coercion, not intimidation, not pleading, not having good arguments, but simply an invitation to come and see. At its heart, evangelism is noticing what God is doing in our lives, sharing that with others, and inviting them to come and see for themselves.
Today’s readings remind us that we have the resources to make a difference, to serve God, to find fulfilment, and to be partners in God’s vision of personal and global transformation. We have heard because somebody else heard and told us, or brought us. Perhaps this year as we seek to abide with Jesus we can for vision to see how we can bring somebody else.
mone, noun, room; dwelling; abode.
Note: These are the only two occurrences of the noun in the New Testament, not just in John.John 14:2 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
John 14:23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
meno, verb - remain, stay, abide; live, dwell; last, endure, continue; trans. await, wait for.
33 verses, 40 occurrences in the Gospel of John
20 verses, 29 occurrences in the Johannine letters.
Note: out of 120 occurrences of the verb meno in the New Testament, 69 come from the Johannine tradition (or 57.5%). None of the other uses of it appear to be in the same vein as John's specialized use.John 1:32-33 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
John 1:38-39 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.
John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath.
John 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
John 5:38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.
John 6:27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal."
John 6:56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.
John 7:9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
John 8:35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.
John 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
John 10:40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there.
John 11:6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:54 Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.
John 12:24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:34 The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
John 12:46 I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.
John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
John 14:17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
John 14:25 "I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
John 15:4-7 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
John 15:9-10 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
John 15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
John 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed.
John 21:22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!"
John 21:23 So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"
1 John 2:6 whoever says, "I abide in him," ought to walk just as he walked.
1 John 2:10 Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling.
1 John 2:14 I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 2:17 And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us.
1 John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:27-28 As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.
1 John 3:6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
1 John 3:9 Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God's seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God.
1 John 3:14-15 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them.
1 John 3:17 How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
1 John 3:24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
1 John 4:12-13 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
1 John 4:15-16 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
2 John 1:2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
2 John 1:9 Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.