Jesus wants a lasting encounter
Topic: Encountering Jesus Scripture: John 1:35– :51
Encounters with Jesus Sermon Series
Jesus Wants a Lasting Encounter
Now John (the best friend of Jesus) writes this book completely different than Matthew, Mark, and Luke. His perspectives are different, and the personalness of Jesus is on full display.
He blows away Greek philosophy of the times just with his opening statement as they were trying to figure out the meaning of life and the order to life and they would often use the word Logosso John says in Chapter 1 “in the beginning was the word (Logos) and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him, all things were made. Without Him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and in that life was the light of all mankind…And the word became flesh and dwells among us, and we beheld his glory. (John 1:1-3, 14)
This was a thunderbolt into the Greek world, John affirms that there is a purpose to our life, something we were made for, that we must recognize and honor to live well and freely.
The Bible insist that the meaning of life is not a principle or some other abstract rational structured, but a person, an individual human being who walked the earth.
Greek philosophers said it was insanity, but it started a Revolution.
If Christianity is true, a well-lived life was not found primarily in philosophical contemplation with intellectual pursuits, which would live out most of the people of the world.
Rather, it was found in a person to be encountered in a relationship that could be available to anyone, anywhere, from any background.
Every other religion and philosophy says you have to do something to connect to God; but Christianity says no, Jesus Christ came to do for you what you couldn’t do for yourself.
Every other religion says hear are the answers to the big questions, but Christianity says Jesus is the answer to them all.
To show us how this works in real life we see John 1:35-51
Jesus encounters students.
Back in the day if you wanted to be a student you would attach yourself to a teacher.
John the Baptist had a lot of students.
But here is Jesus calling out to students…
This would have flipped culture all around….
Jesus was looking for A Lasting Encounter
Jesus Calls the First Disciples John 1:35-51
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which 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.[j]40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus[k]was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which 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 means Peter[l]).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, 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 anything good come out of Nazareth?”Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
That is the truly radical and unique truth that Christianity has contributed to the world.
Nathanael’s problem is pride and contempt and dismissiveness of prejudice.
Can anything good come from Nazareth? Everybody from Jerusalem looked down on Nazerites.
Yet all through the Bible, when God chooses someone to work through, he chooses the younger sibling. He choses Abel over Cain. He chooses Issacs over Ishamel. He chooses Jacob over Esau. He chooses David over all eleven of his older brothers. Time after time he choses what the world doesn’t expect.
God always works through the men or boy, women or girls nobody wanted.
Never the one from Jerusalem, but always the one from Nazareth.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward 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 him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Every encounter with Jesus is like this….Jesus sees us for who we really are!!
First, he is generous towards Nathanel, compassionate kind. Sees him for who he really is.
It’s the undoing of our souls.
You being seen, unhidden, in your glorious mess, whatever that glorious mess is.
And then Jesus slips in, “I say you under the fig tree.” Jewish tradition would have put men studying the Torah underneath fig trees. Now one of the reasons we can trust that this is an eyewitness account is that nowhere else do we ever see what happened under the fig tree or why it was significant.
Nobody knows all that matters is that Nathanael couldn’t believe that Jesus knew about it.
Christianity is about God coming to earth in the form of Jesus Christ’s, dying on the cross,
TO FIND YOU!! AND WHEN HE DOES!!!
49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
The next breath, just moments after saying can anything good come from Nazareth?
Nathanel would say yes. He found the answer he had been looking for.
You saw me under the fig tree!!
Nathanael become the first recorded person to confess belief in Jesus as the Son of God.
50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’do you believe?
Yesterday you were rolling your eyes at me and today you were ready to adopt me. You found a man who has a supernatural knowledge of you and you are moved, or maybe you heard a song, or someone preached really good and you felt it, or the situation required it.
But Jesus is looking for a Lasting Encounter
You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[m]you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
When you first come to Jesus you think “I am probably not going to get answers to the big questions, but maybe he’ll help me be a better person, get rid of my loneliness or some other problem. But when you actually find him he will be far more than you ever imagined him to be.
Though most spiritual seekers start their search afraid of disappointment, Jesus says that he will always be infinitely more that anyone is looking for. He will always exceed our expectations, He will be more than we can ask or imagine.
Whatever you are expecting, whatever you are hoping, whatever you are dreaming -- you will discover something much greater in Nazareth.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c]in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
And how Jesus did Far more through His lasting encounter with Nathanael also known as Barthomolew.
Bartholomew is also known as Nathaniel and there is scarce little known about how he died but it appears that since he was martyred in Armenia, he too must have been involved in the Great Commission and taking the good news into that part of the world. Apparently, he became a missionary to Asia Minor. Legend claims he was crucified upside down in Albania.
“Jesus is not a figure in a book but a living presence. It is not enough to study the story of Jesus like the life of any other great historical figure. We may begin that way but we must end by meeting him. Jesus is not a memory but a presence… Jesus is not someone to discuss so much as someone to meet, to encounter.” -William Barclay