||2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Rev. D. K. Schroeder
John 1:40-42 Sermon
January 15, 2005
Hymns (from The Service Book and Hymnal):
136 "Come Thou Almighty King"
326 "I Love To Tell the Story"
553 "Jesus Calls Us O'er the Tumult"
198 "Saviour Again To Thy Dear Name We Raise"
SOMETHING WORTH SHARING
TEXT: (v. 40-42) “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ).’ Then he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which when translated, is Peter).”
When I was 5 years old, I had a playground accident during Vacation Bible School. I was playing on a merry-go-round in the park. We were going really fast, and I got dizzy. So I decided to jump off while it was in motion. Admittedly my judgment wasn’t the greatest at that age, and I hadn’t quite grasped the consequences of centrifugal force. That merry-go-round was something like a washing machine in the spin cycle. So when I jumped off, I was flung face-first, right into the side of a large tree.
I was a mess—so much so, that my own mother didn’t recognize me until she wiped some of the blood off my face.
Anyway, it was a rushed trip to the doctor, 12 miles away. I had scraped myself up pretty bad; but the one thing that happened, was that I was just getting a permanent tooth in the front. The impact jammed that tooth and pushed it out the top of my gum. Since cosmetic dentistry wasn’t as common in those days, the doctor pulled the tooth out and stitched up the hole in my gum.
All in all, I was fortunate that my tooth was the only major damage I sustained. I’ve been told that I could just as easily have sustained a fatal blow to my head. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I must have had the angels working overtime on me.
Through the years, I dealt with that gap in my mouth where my tooth should have been. As time progressed, my teeth straightened, and from all appearances, it looked like I just had a gap between my two front teeth. My teeth were all healthy, and it didn’t seem to bother myself or anybody else. I really didn’t think too much about it.
Years later when I was in seminary in my early 30’s, I had to go and do a pulpit supply in Albert Lea, Minnesota. When the service was over, I went to the narthex to shake hands and greet people.
As the people were filing through, a gentleman in his late 60’s by the name of Walter came through. As he shook my hand, he told me, “I couldn’t help but notice your teeth, and that gap in front.” That kind of got my attention. Like I said, I hadn’t given it much thought as the years went by, and I didn’t think it looked that abnormal.
Anyway, Walter continued. He said, “I had much the same problem as you have; but look at my teeth now!” He smiled, and I could see how nice his front teeth were. Then he said, “I’d like to give you the name of my dentist who took care of this for me.” With that, he wrote down his dentist’s name on a bulletin and handed it to me.
Several months after that, I discovered that bulletin in my suit pocket. I decided to look up his number and call for an appointment—it wouldn’t hurt just to check it out. I wound up having Walter’s dentist, not long out of dental college, do the work for me, which only cost $135.00.
Several months after that, I went back to Albert Lea to preach again. Sure enough, Walter was in church. As he walked out of the church that morning, he was beaming from ear to ear. “I see you had the dental work done!” he said. “So what do you think of my dentist?” I told him how pleased and impressed I was, and I thanked him for referring me to him. Then he said, “for years, I was embarrassed to smile; but not anymore!” That was obvious.
Walter had something good happen in his life. Something happened to him, which represented a major positive change for him. Walter also knew the same thing that changed his life, would also be a positive change in my life.
Something good happened, and he couldn’t keep it to himself. He had to share it. Even though he didn’t know me from a bar of soap, he still had to share the wonderful news about his dentist, and what he could do for me.
In our text for today, we meet an individual by the name of Andrew. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, who subsequently became a disciple of Jesus.
John had been baptizing people in the Jordan River. The day after Jesus had been baptized by John, John was again hard at work in his ministry. Andrew and another disciple were with him. When they saw Jesus approaching, John identifies him as the Lamb of God. And so John’s two disciples began following Jesus.
After Andrew found out where Jesus was staying, he basically tells Jesus “Lord, wait a minute; I have to go get my brother; he needs to hear this too.”
Asking Jesus to wait didn’t always work out. He didn’t like to play the old “waiting game.” In Matthew 8, 21-22 we find an unnamed disciple of Jesus asking him to wait when he says, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” And Jesus’ reply was, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Jesus knew this man’s heart, and the fact that he wasn’t sincere in his desire to follow him. Certainly Jesus wasn’t advocating letting a rotting corpse sit out without proper attention. Most likely, this man’s father wasn’t even dead yet. Jesus simply wasn’t a top priority in this disciple’s life. His life was cluttered with too many other things. So asking Jesus to wait in this instance just wouldn’t work.
Andrew however was a different case altogether. Andrew had been a faithful disciple of John the Baptist, and assisted him in his ministry. Andrew knew who John was, and what his place was in Old Testament prophecy. And so Jesus waits, and allows Andrew to go and fetch his brother.
Our text says, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him,” The first thing. That shows Andrew’s dedication and how he had his priorities straight. He didn’t wait for a “more opportune time,” nor did he wait for Simon Peter to come to him. His top priority was to find his brother, and take him to Jesus.
Jesus knew Andrew’s heart, and he also knew Simon Peter’s heart. They were both dedicated and faithful men. And Jesus had work for both of them to do.
It would be my guess that Andrew was the older brother of Simon Peter. Peter would have been keenly interested in his brother’s involvement with John the Baptist. I would imagine when Peter and Andrew were done with their day’s work of fishing, and they were relaxing after their evening meal, they would have been discussing John’s ministry and the promised Messiah.
So when Jesus does finally appear, Andrew wastes no time in fetching Simon Peter. And from the looks of things, Simon Peter wasted no time in coming to Jesus.
Both Andrew and Simon Peter were fishermen by trade, natives of Bethsaida in Galilee. Their father’s name was John (not John the Baptist or John the Apostle), and most likely this was a family business. They were working class men, and not part of the elite of society. However it appears that the household was a God-fearing one, so both men would have been well schooled in the faith. Judging by what Scripture says about both men, it would appear that Simon Peter was the outspoken, gregarious type, while Andrew appears to have been more mellow and subdued. However, the talents of both men were valuable in the Lord’s service, as they would become two of Jesus’ key apostles.
Getting back to our text, Andrew’s life had been changed. Something good happened to him, something transforming. And Andrew couldn’t keep it to himself. He had to share it. He had to tell his brother, so he could share in the same benefit. Andrew wanted his brother Simon to meet Jesus. The Messiah, promised so long, was there, physically right there with them, at that very moment.
I doubt if Andrew knew at the time how significant his action would be, nor would he have known what Jesus had in mind for him and his brother. The history and the magnitude of all this wasn’t what was on Andrew’s mind. All he knew was that he had to share this moment with his brother.
What happens when something good occurs in your life? Don’t you just have to share it with someone? Think about when a baby is born. As soon as possible, the new grandparents are notified. Then it spreads to the rest of the family. Photos are taken, birth announcements are sent out, and the name is listed in the paper. The proud new father starts handing out “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl” cigars. This is a proud moment in the lives of new parents, and they want to share it with everybody.
I think its human nature to want to share good news. When something good happens, we began to bubble with excitement. We become like a dam ready to burst. We just have to tell somebody!
So has anything good and exciting happened in your spiritual life? How did you come to faith in Christ? How has meeting Jesus made a difference for you?
Meeting Jesus comes from someone sharing this blessing with us. Infants and children receive this blessing through baptism. Through baptism, a child receives the Holy Spirit which creates their personal faith in Jesus. Even though they might not be able to verbally express it, yet that faith is theirs. Parents or guardians know this blessing, and want to share it with their children as soon as possible.
As a child grows, this faith is nurtured and fed through Christian people sharing this good news from God’s written word with them. These people have something great and wonderful and soul-transforming happen to them, and they just have to share it with others.
This seems so easy—simply sharing something good with others. It seems easy, but it isn’t. It would be easy if sin weren’t a factor here. But sin is very real, and we cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist.
How many times have we had an opportunity to share our faith, but opted to keep our mouths shut? How often have we encountered someone, and decided to keep our church affiliation private rather than admit that we are active in church? How often have we decided to take the “path of least resistance” perceiving that people would react negatively to us being a Christian? How often have we allowed Satan to convince us that this good news of the Messiah is better off left alone in silence?
We have to confess that we have many sins of omission in this area. We’re afraid that we may be perceived as a religious nut, or that we’re getting too close and personal with someone if we tell them we go to church and believe the Bible.
When this happens, we have to remember what Andrew was so excited about in the first place. The Messiah was here, the Saviour had arrived! Andrew would have seen himself as a sinful human being, right along with the whole human race. He knew that his sins separated him from God.
But Jesus came to save him from his sins. Jesus came to be his personal Saviour, so that through faith in him, he would be a child of God and would be an heir of everlasting life. Andrew knew what this Saviour meant, and he was eager to share it. Even though having faith in Jesus was a personal thing for Andrew, yet he knew that Jesus came to redeem the entire world from sin. This was news that had to be shared, and not just kept to himself. He started with his brother, and it continued on from there.
After Pentecost, Andrew’s ministry led him to many different places where he preached the Gospel. He went to Scythia and other parts of Europe, Greece, Epirus, and even a bit of Poland. His earthly ministry came to an end at Patrae in Achaia, where he died a martyr’s death at the hands of the emperor Nero. After suffering cruel beatings, he was bound by cords to a cross in the shape of the letter X, where he was left to die. For two entire days, Andrew remained hanging on that cross, very much alive and preaching to everyone who passed by. Andrew had something good to share which was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he spent his last breath sharing it.
As I think back to that Sunday in Albert Lea, Minnesota, I wonder how much fortitude it took for Walter to approach an absolute stranger the likes of myself, and say to me, “let me tell you about my dentist.” But I’m certainly glad he did do it. He had something good happen to him, and he had to share it with me.
We’ve had something good happen to us too. We have been redeemed, restored, and forgiven through our Saviour Jesus Christ, and we are at peace with God. This is indeed something worth sharing.
Listen now to a couple verses from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5, 14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
As we remember Andrew’s dedication to Jesus and spreading the Gospel, we conclude with the words of the hymnwriter Cecil Francis Alexander: “As of old St. Andrew heard it, by the Galilean lake, turned from home and toil and kindred, leaving all for his dear sake.”