O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Come and you will see
"Come and you will see"
January 16, 2011
Have you ever seen the Northern Lights here in the skies of Winnipeg? Bright, colourful, moving lights that seem to float in the heavens? Well, excuse my boring Ontario life, but I never have - at least not until ten days ago. There I was, Jan. 6th - Epiphany day. I was driving to pickup pizza when my eyes started playing tricks on me. First I thought it was my new glasses - they must be dirty. Then I thought it was the windshield - it must be dirty. My mind jumped from reason to reason working hard to explain away the phenomenon - until I realized - these are actually spooky moving lights in the sky.
Later, I thought to myself, isn't it interesting, we all want God to reveal Himself to us in some display of power, but would we be willing to see? We all want to see - but will we let Him show us? I thought of the Israelites who were led out of Egypt. God split the sea to deliver them from Pharoah, and then less than a month later they abandoned Him to worship a golden calf. Even after seeing the greatest display of power imaginable, the Israelites did not believe in God. Perhaps they were able to explain it away in their minds.
Now, I'm not saying that God is trying to tell us something with the Northern Lights, but the illustration helps us think about Epiphany. The word Epiphany means 'reveal.' Reveal. During this entire season of Epiphany, God is revealing Christ to the world. He is revealing His mission. He is pulling back the curtain to give us a sneak peek of what He is doing to save us. A sneak peek of how His mission continues today. We all want to see - but will we let Him show us? Let's take a look at how simply this happens with the disciples in our text.
In our Gospel reading, John reveals Jesus as the Lamb of God. He says, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." John knows very little about Jesus. He does not spend years teaching about Jesus. He simply says, "Behold, the Lamb of God." And yet two of John's disciples hear this simple statement and they begin to follow Jesus. They want to see.
They walk along for a little while, and then Jesus knowing these followers want to see something, finally asks them, "What are you seeking?" They do not answer His question - Instead they ask, "Teacher, where are you staying?" Jesus answers with an invitation and a promise - "Come and you will see." Come and you will see what I am doing here - Come and you will see my mission here - You will witness God working amongst His people - You will see Him calling out to them, revealing Himself to them through His Word.
Today, much like His first disciples, Jesus knows we want to see these things. And He wants to show us. You are here this morning following Jesus after hearing He is the Lamb of God. Would you ask Jesus, where are you staying? Do you want to see His mission, see Christ working amongst His people? If you had the opportunity to see His mission, would you go?
Jesus answers these questions with the same invitation and promise. "Come and you will see." And for us here at Beautiful Savior he answers in a very specific way. For we see His mission today at Beautiful Savior Lutheran School. It is His mission. It is the ministry through which He is working amongst His people. And He is telling you now, "Come and you will see" what I am doing at my school. Come and you will see how God has blessed it. You will see how it has grown. You will see how many people are hearing my voice there. My voice rings through the halls. It is heard calling in the classrooms, in the playground, in the gymnasium. Jesus is the one who stands at the doors waiting for the children with open arms. Come to the school and you will see. Come be a part of His community there, and you will see. Do not treat His school the way I treated the Northern Lights, let Him show you all that He is doing there.
In our text, the disciples called Jesus 'Teacher,' how fitting that His mission should be a school. Beautiful Savior Lutheran School has been the chief mission and ministry of this congregation for over 15 years. For over 15 years God has moved people to keep His voice present in His school. He has invited the families of the school to 'Come and See' what He is doing in His congregation here. And now with renewed vigor and communication, the message of salvation will sound forth in both His congregation and His school.
God has approved and blessed this mission at the school. With 110 students in full-time classes and 268 students in the preschool and daycare programs, God has blessed His mission to the physical capacity of the building. There is no bigger field ready for harvest in the entire city of Winnipeg.
Over the Christmas period, I saw all of these children present the birth of Jesus to their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and neighbors. Hundreds upon hundreds of people filled this sanctuary three different times during Advent. God has ripened the fruit. What an exciting mission to be involved in. And so the question must be asked:
What are you doing to connect these people with our congregation so that they can continue to hear the voice of Christ? How are we, the disciples of Jesus, helping His mission? How can I get involved at the community of the school? That is a great question.
Jesus needs a bookkeeper for His school. He needs a lawyer. He needs people to use the skills He has given them for service in His mission. Mechanical skills, electrical skills, hospitality, landscaping, carpentry, computer hacking skills - you name it. There is a way for you to connect with the people at His school. Jesus needs help in the library. He needs members for His school board. He needs people to read with the children. He needs hands to help with a hot lunch program. He needs His disciples to get excited about the way His Name is being proclaimed to hundreds of people. We need to be involved in the lives of these people, so that Christ can save them. We need to be there, so that when they ask "who is this Jesus anyway?" we can say, "Come and you will see." We can bring people to Jesus.
For this is the completion of our Gospel reading, the disciple Andrew shows us the easiest way to share our faith with others. He shows us how to escape the embarrassment and the fear that we usually feel when we are presented with an opportunity for evangelism. Ask yourself, having just met Him, how much does Andrew know about Jesus and His teachings? How many times had he heard Jesus teach? (big pause) Only once. How are you different from the disciple Andrew? You're not, for sharing your faith is not about having the answer to every question, it is about bringing people to Jesus. It is an invitation and a promise. As Jesus says, "Come and you will see." Andrew finds his brother Simon and tells him, "We have found the Christ." And he brought him to Jesus. That is evangelism.
Tell your family and friends that you have found the Savior. And when they ask you any questions that you cannot answer, say "Come and you will see." Let's all say it together. "Come and you will see." God has equipped you with all that you need, and much like the disciple Andrew, you don't know what will happen - the next person you tell could be the next Simon Peter - they could become a pastor, an evangelist, or a missionary - all because you say 'Come and you will see.'
But let's bring it all home - for this is the reason you are here today- this is how you have come to be in this building - hearing the Word of God right now - because someone, perhaps your mother or father, brother or sister, friend or neighbor brought you to Jesus. You heard them say, "Come and you will see" and now you know that Jesus, the Lamb of God has taken away your sin. He has forgiven you for all of the ways you have neglected His mission. He has forgiven you for keeping His invitation to yourself. He has been sacrificed like a lamb to save you from the death these sins deserve. And as you drink the blood of the Lamb and eat His flesh today, He continues to say, "Come and you will see." You will taste - you will know that I will never stop loving you. I will always give you a reason to bring your family and friends to me. I will equip and strengthen you for work in my mission field. And I will do it all by bleeding. For Behold, I am the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, You have seen His mercy and now you see His mission. You have heard His invitation and promise, and now you can repeat it to others. You have seen the Lamb of God, now taste His salvation. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr