The Church needs to encounter again: note the time.
John 1: 35-42
“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’ 39 ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter)”
We don’t know who he was but we do know the time.
The other disciple to Andrew is widely believed to be John who wrote this gospel based simply on the fact that he doesn’t mention his own name.
That detail doesn’t seem important to the writer and yet the time of about 4pm does.
Though John was probably in his 80’s when he wrote the gospel and in his 30’s when the events occurred, he still remembers the time, etched into his ageing memory.
Let me pose the very same question that Jesus asked, “What do you want?”
Many times in the gospels we see invitations asking for Jesus to come to the homes of people in need or just wanting to host him. Maybe you need Jesus in your home today? Maybe you desire your home to be filled with the presence of God.
But I have a better desire.
It was the request of Andrew and the other.
They wanted to see his home.
Can you imagine with me right now, entering the home of Jesus? Seeing the place where he slept, where he ate, the environment that he stayed in.
Nearly 30 years ago we had invited a very important national leader in our Church denomination to preach in our very small church and we subsequently invited him to our home. I remember the time very well it was about 3pm, we had just eaten lunch and the leader was giving a seminar from the settee on ‘if I was you this is what I would do’. My wife having worked the night shift was so tired started to drift off to sleep and my son who was only 2 years of age started pulling on the impeccably pressed trouser leg of the leader which gave him some awkward annoyance as he began to shake him off. That was the moment realising my days in Elim were numbered that I began to pray for the return of Christ! But that was also the day when the important leader began to know who we really were and what our life was like.
When someone visits your home then you will not fully know them. But when you visit their home then you walk into their culture and you encounter them at a whole different level.
It was about 4pm and something happened in the place where Jesus was staying that changed the lives of these 2 men. The result was they encountered the Christ and secondly they went to tell others they had done so. Discovery and strategy for Mission at about 4pm.
We need Christians to articulate again that what they want is an encounter with the Christ. Oh that Churches will gather to encounter Him. The focus not being we want Jesus in our homes and in our lives and in our hearts. All that is good.
But there is more.
We need to step into His sphere, His culture, to know His ways and to move into His existence. Only then will we be changed by discovery into a life of mission and service. Only then will the Church know a baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Are you ready for such an encounter? Note the time.