The LCA provides this sermon edited for lay-reading, with thanks to the original author.

Epiphany 2

John 1:35 – 40

John the Baptist was about the most popular person and preacher of his day. People in the cities trekked out into the desert to see him and hear what he had to say. Andrew and the other John were two of John the Baptist’s close disciples. As great and popular as John the Baptist was, he kept telling people about THE One who was coming. He told them that the coming one would be so great he himself would not be fit to be the slave who undid his sandals.

Here is a picture of the lowest slave with the smelliest job in the house! Whenever a visitor arrived after walking through the dirty, dusty or muddy roads, this slave had to kneel down, with his head about level with a main source of body odours from the guest, and take off the sandals and wash the feet of the visitor. So much greater would the coming one be, that the famous John of the day says he wouldn’t even be fit to serve as the lowliest slave.

Then John used another picture to describe the great one who was to come. He announced that the title for the greatest person ever to come would be “The Lamb of God.” Note that he didn’t say a “Superman” was coming, nor a popular Santa Claus type figure, but this one would be the greatest sacrifice ever offered up to God. The people knew about the lambs of God. They took lambs to the Temple – where God lived among them – and they offered the lambs up to be assured of forgiveness. At the Passover they took a lamb to be sacrificed. It wasn’t any old sheep. Not one badly flyblown and likely to die anyway. It was to be the best! A year old, without spot or blemish. The most expensive.

The one who is to come from God would be the best. Without any sign of evil or sin.

When John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, “Look, the lamb of God!” Andrew and the other John are fascinated and curious to get a closer look. They leave John the Baptist and begin to follow after the Jesus who had been pointed out to them.

Note the importance of the work of John the Baptist. His calling from God was to point people to Jesus. He was to prepare the way, and introduce people to Jesus. What greater role could any person have in the world than to point people to Jesus? John pointed people away from himself so people could the better look and know who Jesus was. Whenever we have the opportunity to tell people about the Christian faith, it might be easy for us to want to talk about ourselves and our Church when it could be more valuable to tell them about Jesus. Christian witness often means turning people away from us and any temptation to brag a bit about ourselves, and rather point them to Jesus and tell them about Jesus.

Andrew and the other John leave the Baptist so they can follow Jesus and get a closer look. Then we read, “Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

What a question! What a moment in their lives! We might well ask, “What do you and I want from Jesus?” The mind boggles with the possibilities. What would you say if Jesus saw you following him and he asked you, “What do you want?” Maybe we should pause for a moment and think about an answer we might give?

The answer Andrew and John give is so ordinary! It is just the same question the teenagers might ask of their favourite TV star – “Where are you staying?” To the excitement of any fan, Jesus takes Andrew and John to the place he is staying. “Come, Jesus replied, and you will see!”

“So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the 10th hour.”

They were able to spend the rest of the day with Jesus. What could have been better? It would be the highlight of a person’s life. The two never forgot this day. It was such a special moment John remembers the time of day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

We don’t know where Andrew and John went with Jesus. I think it would be interesting to know where Jesus was staying. Nor do we know what else Jesus said to them. But we do know what Andrew did. Like any teenager, eyes wide open with excitement, and saying something like: “Guess who we met up with today?” we read,

“The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means the Christ).”

In this way Andrew introduces his brother Simon Peter to Jesus. And look who Peter becomes in the life of Jesus and in the early Church. Andrew becomes known as ‘Simon Peter’s brother’ in the Scriptures. Both in the text here, again in John 6 verse 8, and also in the lists of the 12 given in Matthew 10:2 and Luke 6:14).

Andrew is never a great leader like his brother Peter. Andrew lives in the shadow of his brother.

I think many of us might see ourselves as an ‘Andrew’ type of Christian. The Christian Church needs Andrews. It would be great if the Church was full of Andrews. People who serve God willingly without having to be number one. Each person is precious to Jesus – the Andrews and the Peters. Jesus knew about you even before you had heard of him. He offered himself up as the great sacrifice to God on your behalf, long before you were even thought of.

“What do you want?” Jesus asks us. I think we could answer along the lines:

“We want to be with you. Wherever you live. We want you to be our perfect sacrifice offered up in love for us. We want to point others to you, like John the Baptist did. We’d like to introduce other people to you the way Andrew introduced Simon Peter to you. We’d like to be an Andrew!

In conclusion I would like to add two more points about Andrew: There are two other occasions when Andrew is mentioned in the New Testament as doing something.

The first is at the feeding of the five thousand. It is Andrew who brings the lad with five loaves and the two fish to Jesus. It was Andrew who believed Jesus might be able to do something with this meagre supply of food. Again, Andrew is bringing someone to Jesus.

The second time we hear of Andrew is the time some foreigners, who were Greeks, want to see Jesus. They first ask Philip (a Greek name) about getting an audience with Jesus. Philip doesn’t know what to do. Philip goes to Andrew – the two actually come from the same town (John 12:20-22). Andrew and Philip together go and tell Jesus about the foreign visitors. Again, Andrew is bringing someone to meet Jesus, even foreigners. And that is what the Epiphany season of the Church year is all about. Many different people coming to Jesus. Even foreigners. Jesus is the lamb of God for each one, including all foreigners too. He is the Lamb of God for you and me too.