Slow Down And Look

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 1.

In America today we are impressed by our technology, by the internet, by the powerful things that we have. We have “smart” phones and apps and WiFi. But I come from a simpler time.

I remember as a child the simple toys we had. Our toys were not high tech – but we had better relationships with one another.

My brother and I used to play soldiers on Grandpa Joe’s farm. Our weapons were simply tobacco sticks, and our jungle was the tobacco field. I remember my first radio was a little simple AM job that would fit in your pocket, and I believe the brand was Realistic. I remember 8 Track players, and my first tape recorder – a reel to reel model. There was a Christian show that came on every Sunday called Damascus Road. I remember dial up internet, and super slow speeds.

Everything we have today is faster, faster, faster. Recording tapes were replaced with Compact Disks, which were replaced with DVDs, and now most people “stream” their movies and music. When Sherry had our first child, she and the baby, a beautiful boy named Michael, stayed in the Base Hospital for three days. People have children now, and are home the next day. Heart surgery used to be a big deal, and you expected to spend weeks in the hospital. Now heart surgery is done one day, and you are home the next. As a boy I knew where the pay phones were so, if I was running late, I could call my parents on their one corded phone. Today everyone seems to have phones, and most people (not me, just yet) have smart phones.

We have SMART phones but NOT SO SMART people. When I was growing up, you memorized 15-20 phone numbers of people you were closest to. Now I can barely remember my number!

We want everything fast, fast, fast.

fast news
fast cars
fast relationships
fast food
fast medicine
fast religion

Fast religion is false religion. To learn of the God Who is requires simple – waiting upon the Lord – faith. We think ourselves advanced – but we are NOTHING compared to God. God describes Himself asיְהֹוָה Yᵉhôvâh, “The One Who Is”. God told Moses, I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. God is immense. He is everywhere, and knows all things. David said:

Psalm 139:7-12 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

God calls whosoever will to a simple faith in Him.

Faith Is To Simply Watch And Wait Upon God

John the Baptist was given a simple commission from God. He was to go into the wilderness, and to baptize those whom God sent. It was in the wilderness – unplugged – that John found the Messiah.

John 1:29-33 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not:…

This passage fascinates me. In the passage we see the witness of John the Baptist concerning Jesus Christ. Twice John tells us,I knew him not. This is the Greek eidō autos ou, and it carries the sense that

John knew Jesus as COUSIN, but not as CHRIST.

John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins. When Mary became with Child of the Holy Spirit, the Angel Gabriel told her:

Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, were cousins. Their children were cousins. They grew up not far apart, and perhaps played together as children. And yet John says, I knew him not. He knew Jesus as a cousin, but had no idea that He was the Messiah. How did John come to know that Jesus was the Messiah? John says:

John 1:33-34 But He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God

God told John, “Go out into the wilderness, and baptize the seekers I send you with water. The One Who comes to you with the Spirit of God descending on Him, this will be the Messiah.” What drove John to baptize faithfully, day after day, in the bleak wilderness, far from the city? The promise of God that as you baptize, as you do that which I tell you to do, as you heed Me, I will show you the Messiah. So day after day John the Baptist got up, and went out into the wilderness. He knew his calling. He knew what God told him to do. And with singleness of vision John looked for the Messiah.

Beloved, if you want to be blessed of God, you need to look for God. You need to wait upon God. You need to faithfully wait on Him. This is what John the Baptist did. God told him, “Go to the Jordan – baptize the ones I send your way – and look for the descending Spirit. That will be the Messiah!”

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.

Did not Abraham see the Lord in the plains of Mamre, when he watched and waited for God, going where ever the Lord said (Genesis 18)? Oh, we must wait on the Lord and His timing.

Did not Elisha ask Elijah for a double portion of his power, when that old man was going to be caught up by chariots of fire (2 Kings 2)? Did not Elijah say if you see me when I am caught up, you shall have the double portion? Elisha watched, and waited on God, and received the double portion.

What of King David? If David had killed King Saul, rather than waiting on the Lord, then his reign would not have been as powerful as it was. David kept his eyes on God, and saw God’s blessing. When David took his eyes off of God and put them on the wife of Uriah, he brought cursing on his home. .

Oh, we must wait on God!

The first generation of Israel would not have perish 40 years in the wilderness had their gaze been on God, and not on the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:33). Their corpses would not have littered the wilderness, and they would have inherited the Promise of God had they waited upon Him.

Moses was blessed time and time again when he waited on God. Had he kept his eyes on God in Numbers 20, then he himself would not have lost the Promised Land.

How we need to put our eyes upon God. To unplug, and look, and wait on Him. When we, like John the Baptist, look for God’s blessing, then we will be blessed. John looked for Jesus moment by moment. When he earlier saw Jesus, he saw a COUSIN. But it was only when John saw the Spirit of God did he know that this was the CHRIST. Pastor John H. Jowett wrote:

That is faith, to do God’s will here and now, quietly leaving the results to Him. Faith is not concerned with the entire chain; its devoted attention is fixed upon the immediate link. Faith is not knowledge of a moral process; it is fidelity in a moral act. Faith leaves something to the Lord: it obeys His immediate commandment, and leaves to Him the direction and destiny.”

Saving Faith Tells Others About Jesus

John 1:35-36 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; ..

Word Study Look again at the interesting wording of our text. The next day after John stood. The word “” is the Greek ἵστημι hístēmi, {pronounced his’-tay-mee}, which means “to make a stand, to stand up for”. The day before John stood up and said, “I am not the Christ, but THIS is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. THIS is the Messiah, the Savior and Lord we have waited for”. John was the ONLY ONE making this declaration, the only one standing for Jesus. But he made the stand.

Even if you are the only one, you must make a stand. God never does a great thing with great crowds. God uses the remnant, the few and the faithful, the Isaiahs and the Ezekiels and the Hoseas and the Habakkuks. I was reading an article the other day an article from Alpha and Omega Ministries on the American Revolutionary War:

I heard some revealing and somewhat surprising statistics about the American Revolutionary War. This war between the American people and British Empire was for our independence and self-governance. The statistics given were from the First American Revolution fought for our national freedom. I heard it reported that only 3% of the population fought in the war, 10% furnished supplies, 37% fought against us, and 50% did absolutely nothing. I know, shocking and disturbing percentages. That 3% was only a remnant of the total population, but God delivered this new and young nation from their adversary through them.”

It is often not the majority that makes the difference, but the committed and faithful minority, the remnant, that makes the difference. John stood up for Jesus.

John 1:36 …. {John} saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Two of John’s followers hear him, and they begin to follow Jesus. If you notice in the text, only Andrew’s name is mentioned. We do not know who the other disciple is – God does not give us his name. There is a reason for this. Read again with me:

John 1:37-39 And the two disciples heard {John} speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

Both Andrew and the other unnamed disciple follow Jesus. Both call Jesus Rabbi, a title used by the Jews to describe their teachers. What they meant in their hearts was that Jesus was a Master, the Greek διδάσκαλος didáskalos, {pronounced did-as’-kal-os}, or a “Master or Top Level Teacher”. They began to follow Jesus because, first of all, John pointed Jesus out. Secondly because Jesus told them to follow Him, to “come and see”. The Matthew Henry Commentary states:

{John the Baptist} was willing to turn them over to Christ, for to this end he bore witness to Christ in their hearing that they might leave all to follow Him, even that they might leave {John}. He did not reckon that he lost those disciples who went over from him to Christ, any more than the schoolmaster reckons that the scholar lost whom he sends to the university. John gathered disciples, not for himself, but for Christ to prepare them for the Lord.”

Genuine saving faith points others to Jesus. The purpose of any Church and any Pastor is not to point people to us, but to Jesus!

John would later tell his diminishing group of followers:

John 3:28-30 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

We do not win people to the Church for the Church’s sake. We win people to the Kingdom of God for Christ’s sake. Jesus is the bridegroom, but we are not. Our mindset must be – MY MINDSET MUST BE – that {Jesus} must increase, but I must decrease. This is the only healthy mindset for those in the kingdom of God.

We point to Christ, not to ourselves.
We point to Jesus, not to the WE.
It’s ALL about JESUS! Period!

If people are receptive to the Gospel, they will hear Jesus say Come and see. Jesus asks every person “what do you seek?”. At that point, Andrew and the unnamed disciple have a choice. They can follow Jesus, or they can stay with John, or they can turn their back on God forever. Their choice – YOUR CHOICE, I hope – was to hear and follow Jesus. This takes TIME and COMMITMENT. Dr. Thomas Constable notes:

Only by coming to Jesus could {these men} really comprehend what they were seeking spiritually. The same thing holds true today. The two men accepted Jesus’ invitation and stayed with Him for the rest of that day.”

There is a freedom that comes in following Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we detach ourselves from our old way of life. We, in following Jesus, find ourselves in a better place. The Bible says:

Romans 6:17-23 God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prior to following Jesus we all were hopelessly bound to sin. But the Lamb of God came, and, like Andrew and this other disciple, we begin to walk in the light of God with Christ. We do not deliberately yield our members over to sin, but ALL OF US follows Jesus. People seek Jesus because they, like these two disciples, are tired of the rat race, of the sin go round world. We who are saved are ready for something better – something we were created for,

We were created to walk with God. We were created to be in the family of God. We were created to follow Jesus. Not as Judas Iscariot followed Jesus – his was a following of hypocrisy. His faith was not focused on the Lord, but on money. The Scripture says:

John 12:6 {Judas Iscariot} was a thief, and had the {disciple’s treasury}, and {stole for himself} what was put therein.

Judas was with Jesus, but not of Jesus. As the Apostle John said:

1 John 2:19 … They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Those who are of the faith that saves are not just in proximity to Jesus, but they LOVE Jesus. We love Jesus because we know He is our Savior and Lord. Jesus Christ is our High Priest, the One and only One who brings us to God. As the Scripture says:

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Does God Know Your Name?

John 1:40-42 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 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.

I do not know why only one disciple, Andrew, is named of the two who followed Jesus. I suspect it has something to do with this:

Andrew told someone else about his faith in Jesus. Andrew led his brother to Christ.

Andrew responded to Jesus’ invitation. He “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3). Andrew found his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. Andrew had been waiting for the Messiah, the Savior of God’s people. Now that he found Him, he wanted to tell those he loved about Jesus. He brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus says to us:

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Andrew merely led Simon to where Jesus was – and Jesus changed Simon to Peter. Only John among the Gospel writers gives the Greek transliteration Κηφᾶς Kēphâs, {pronounced kay-fas’} of Simon’s new name.” (NET Bible notes). Why did Jesus give Simon a new name? Because when a child is born, the parents give this child a name. Simon – a very common name in the Jewish world – was born again by faith in Christ.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Simon was no longer just plain old Simon. He belongs to Jesus now. God promises to every child of His that:

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Let us all turn our eyes upon Jesus. Let us simply focus on Him. Let us go home with Him, and lay down to rest at night with Him, and rise up in the morning with Him. Let us walk with Jesus, one moment at a time, one day at a time. Let us revel in His promises, and study His commands. Let us rest the pillars of our lives upon Him.

Where is your focus? If it is in Jesus daily, then your joy and confidence will not cease. Those who rest in Christ are blessed – not just in eternity, but right now. May God the Holy Spirit draw you close to His side. In Christ’s name and for his glory I pray this. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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