Eugene Peterson’s book Eat this Book teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it, and then put it to use in practical ways. Our early Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. This passage describes John the Baptist’s meeting with Jesus and the effect John’s testimony had on others. Read following passage at least twice and then chew on the comments and soul-training exercises below.*
WE HAVE SEEN THE MESSIAH
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “Where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. (NIV)
♥ John the Baptist had a followers, disciples, including Andrew, who became Jesus disciple. John had been set apart by God before his birth. An angel told his father, Zechariah, “He will be great in the sight of the Lord . . . and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth”(Luke 1: 15). John had an active ministry. He could have been upset and jealous as his disciples drifted away to follow another rabbi. Instead he describes Jesus as “the Son of God, and the Lamb of God.”
♥ Andrew (and his brother, Simon Peter), heard what John had said about Jesus Jesus when he said “Come, and you will see.” The next day Philip became a follower and immediately found Nathanael and told him he had found the one Moses and prophets have written about. “Come and see.”
♥ One way we can share our faith is with our mouths. John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip all testified to the who Jesus was and drew others to him. The power of the words of a person who follows Jesus are always powerful. Memorize I Peter 3: 15 – 16: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.” (The Message says, “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.”) Then create a few sentences that explain why Jesus is your hope in this dysfunctional word. Then tell someone.
♥ Another way we can share our faith is with our lives. This week “be Jesus” to everyone you meet – family, co-workers, bad drivers, surly cashiers or wait staff, people with disabilities. Treat people with respect, pay attention to their conversation, smile and say a friendly word, tell the truth gently, offer help if they have a need. Remember the old saying, “You may be the only Bible some people read.”
Father, empower me to speak my truth and live like Jesus.
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“We have gotten so used to the ultimate Christian fact – Jesus naked, stripped, crucified and risen – that we no longer see it for what it is: a summons to strip ourselves of earthly cares and worldly wisdom, all desire for human praise, greediness for any kind of comfort; a readiness to stand up and be counted as peacemakers in a violent world; a willingness to let go of those pretenses that would have us believe that we really aren’t worthy. Even the last rag we cling to – the self-flattery suggests we are being humble when we disclaim any resemblance to Jesus – has to go” (Brennan Manning in The Signature of Jesus).
*These devotionals will be posted every Sunday.