Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John 1:40-45 -- On Finding the Messiah

"One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
John 1:40-45

As I was reading this morning, these verses struck me because the first thing that these men did when they found Jesus was go and tell their families and friends about him, and ask them to come and find out for themselves. :)  I think sometimes in the Modern world we get so tied up with whether people are going to be offended that we don't do the obvious and basic thing that we *always* do when we find something cool... show it to others.  We see this in children when they come in yelling about a cool rock or a cool bug.  We do this as adults when we see a good movie, play a cool game, find a good price, or even read a good post on social media. :)  And sincerely, of all the ultra amazing things IN life, what is more amazing than finding the Messiah?  Let's never, ever be ashamed of that.

Now, I'm not saying that we have to go out of our way to push religion at people who don't want to hear it... not at all.  What I am saying is that we shouldn't be ashamed of God or who we are, and when people ask about our lives, or we're sharing something about our personal lives, we should share reality without editing out the part about religion and God.  If they want to know more, they will ask, and if they don't, that's okay.  They're still our friends, and we can rejoice in one another's happiness.  Can you imagine if these men had found out about Christ and then kept it to themselves?  They wouldn't have been very good disciples at that point.  ... Nor are we, if we hide who we are, and act like we're ashamed of the gospel.

It's quite true that religious discrimination is alive and well in our society.  Some of us even contribute to it by treating members of other religions with disdain or intolerance, or telling other people that their values and beliefs are worthless. Maybe if we show our religion openly, we'll lose an opportunity or experience persecution.  On the other hand, if we talk about the gospel as something that brings us joy, and not use it as an excuse to attack someone else's beliefs or pursue an argument, maybe we'll bring someone to Christ and they will discover the truth of the gospel from him.  Isn't the second possibility more than worth the first?  And isn't God more important than what we might lose?  God asks us to be a light to the world, to let others see our good works, and to set a good example (Matthew 5:16).  Sometimes doing that is hard, but standing up for God in a loving and positive way is always the right thing.

Today, as we discover and rejoice in the gospel, let's share that excitement.  Let's be ourselves, and not hide the spiritual aspect of our lives.  Let's be amazed still at the fact that we've found the Messiah, and invite people to come and see.

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