The Second Sunday after Epiphany; Year A (1/19/2014)

Texts:Isaiah 49:1-7 Psalm 40:1-11 (8) 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 St. John 1:29-42

Prayer of the Day: Holy God, our strength and our redeemer, by your Spirit hold us forever, that through your grace we may worship you and faithfully serve you, follow you and joyfully find you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

1:29 The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 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.’34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 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?” 39 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. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

St. John 1:29-42, New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

No Saint Peter?

What would the history of the church have been like if Simon Peter had never met Jesus? We would not have those great stories about Peter walking water (and then falling in), putting his foot in his mouth time and time again, cowering in fear on the day Jesus died, and fighting with Paul about welcoming Gentiles into the faith. We would also not have his bold confession (“You are the Christ!”) or Jesus’ declaration to him (“On this rock I will build my church.”) Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters would not have a Pope. (That would be troubling, especially these days…) Our congregation would not have a name. Well, at least, it would have a different name. Had Saint Peter never met Jesus, it would have radically changed the history of what we know as the church. We (at last we, the members of Saint Peter Lutheran Church) should be thankful that he did meet Jesus.

And we owe that thanks, of course, to Peter’s brother Andrew. According to St. John’s Gospel, Andrew was one of John the Baptist’s followers. One day John pointed Jesus out to Andrew, and encouraged Andrew to follow him. Andrew stayed with Jesus for a time. He obviously was impressed. Impressed enough to be one of the first Christian evangelists. He became a messenger with good news (the literal translation of the Greek word for evangelist). He shared that news with one who was very close to him: his brother and fishing partner, Simon. He said to him, “We have found the Messiah.” And then he went the next step: he brought his brother to meet Jesus, who looked at Simon and immediately knew who he was, and the role he would play in the Gospel story. “You are Simon, son of John.” Jesus said. “You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Imagine what the church would have lost had John not directed Andrew to Jesus. Had Andrew not remained with Jesus long enough to be touched by him. Had Andrew not told his brother about Jesus. Had Andrew not brought his brother to meet Jesus. Without knowing what would come of it, Andrew shared with his brother the most important truth he had ever learned: that the Messiah was among them.

How many others throughout the centuries, like Peter, have not met Jesus — have not become excited about our faith — because nobody ever thought to share the faith with them? How many others, like Peter, are friends or acquaintances of ours? Imagine what could happen if my efforts to invite someone into the faith could help another, like Peter, to be touched by Jesus, excited about the faith, and begin a ministry that would have power in people’s lives for years to come!

This week we give thanks for Peter’s brother Andrew, without whom Peter would never have met the Lord. May we follow his example!

Who will you invite into the life of Christ this week?

 Amen.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. How did John the Baptist, and then Jesus, help Andrew to faith?
  2. How was Andrew instrumental in sharing his faith with Simon Peter?
  3. What does it mean that Jesus invited Andrew to “remain” with him?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. Who was the first one to help me meet Jesus?
  2. Who do I know who has not yet met Jesus?
  3. How might I invite that person to my church, or to my Bible study... or to my faith?