Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (January 18): "We have found the Messiah!"

Scripture: John 1:35-42

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, 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 do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"  39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  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 means Christ).  42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

Meditation: Who is Jesus for you? John calls Jesus the Lamb of God and thus signifies Jesus' mission as the One who redeems us from our sins. The blood of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) delivered the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt and from the plague of death. The Lord Jesus freely offered up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7). The blood which he poured out for us on the cross cleanses, heals, and frees us from our slavery to sin, and from the "wages of sin which is death" (Romans 6:23) and the "destruction of both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

Jesus is the Lamb of Gd who sacrificed his life to atone for our sins
It is significant that John was the son of the priest, Zachariah, who participated in the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple for the sins of the people (Exodus 29). In Jesus John saw the true and only sacrifice which could deliver us from bondage to sin, death, and the powers of hell. How did John know the true identity of Jesus, as the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 1:29)? The Holy Spirit revealed to John Jesus' true nature, such that John bore witness that this is the Son of God. How can we be certain that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God? The Holy Spirit makes the Lord Jesus Christ known to us through the gift of faith. God gives us freely of his Spirit that we may comprehend - with enlightened minds and eyes of faith - the great mystery and plan of God to unite all things in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus asks us - "What are you looking for"?
John in his characteristic humility was eager to point beyond himself to the Christ. He did not hesitate to direct his own disciples to the Lord Jesus. When two of John's disciples began to seek Jesus out, Jesus took the initiative to invite them into his company. He did not wait for them to get his attention. Instead he met them halfway. He asked them one of the most fundamental questions of life: "What are you looking for?" Jesus asks each one of us the same question: "What are you searching for? Do you know the meaning and purpose for your life?" Only God, the Father and Author of life, can answer that question and make our purpose fully known to us. That is why the Lord Jesus invites each one of us to draw near to himself. He wants us to know him personally - to know what he came to do for us and what he wants to offer us.

"Come and see" - the Lord Jesus personally draws each of us to himself
"Come and see" is the Lord's invitation for each one of us to discover the joy of friendship and communion with the One who made us in love for love. Saint Augustine of Hippo reminds us that it is God our Creator and Redeemer who seeks us out, even when we are not looking for him: "If you hadn't been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One who called you when you were opposed to Him make it possible for you to turn back?" It is God who initiates and who draws us to himself. Without his mercy and help we could not find him on our own.

When we find something of great value it's natural to want to share the good news of our discovery with our family, friends, and neighbors. When Andrew met Jesus and discovered that he was truly the Messiah, he immediately went to his brother Simon and told him the good news. Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus so he could "come and see" for himself. When Jesus saw Simon approaching he immediately reached out to Simon in the same way he had done for Andrew earlier. Jesus looked at Simon and revealed that he knew who Simon was and where he came from even before Simon had set his eyes on Jesus. Jesus gave Simon a new name which signified that God had a personal call and mission for him. Jesus gave Simon the name "Cephas" which is the Aramaic word for "rock". Cephas is translated as Peter (Petros in Greek and Petrus in Latin) which also literally means "rock".

Christ builds his church with living stones
To call someone a "rock" was one of the greatest compliments in the ancient world. The rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: "I have discovered a rock to found the world upon." Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was - the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5).

Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know the Lord Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness the truth and joy of the Gospel to others. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to draw us to himself.  Do you seek to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?

"Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Let your Spirit be aflame in my heart that I may joyfully seek to do your will in all things."

Psalm 40:1,3,4,67-9

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods!
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire; but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me;
8
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
10
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your mercy and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: We have found the Messiah, by Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD)

"'We have found the Messiah' reveals that his fame was widespread and had come from the time of the mag (Matthew 2:1-6). That fame was renewed by means of John, who had baptized him, and by the witness of the Spirit. Then Jesus became solitary once again during his fast of forty days. This was why the elect were thirsting after news of him. These were his instruments, just as he had said, 'You were chosen by me before the world' (John 15:16,19). He chose Galileans, a people without learning whom the prophets described as 'dwelling in darkness' (Isaiah 9:1), since these had seen the light, so that he might put the doctors of the law to shame. 'For he chose the foolish of the world, so that he might put the wise to shame through them' (1 Corinthians 1:27)." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON 4.18)


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author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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