Stick Around: Reflections on John 1:29-42
We could be strengthened in our witness to his unique status as the Son of God. This is John the Baptist's witness in the gospel of John as a whole and in this passage.
We could open our inward lives to the Spirit, which lit upon Jesus that he continues to bestow. As John tells his disciples "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it remained on him" (1:32).
We might, like Andrew, be empowered to invite someone else to "come and see" where Jesus is and to remain with him as well. In John's Gospel it is Andrew who recognizes Jesus as the Messiah here at the start of his ministry and goes to find his brother and brings him to Jesus. If we remain with Jesus, communing with him in prayer and scripture reading, we might, like Simon Peter, be given a new name, Cephas, which means rock. We might, like Andrew and Peter, grow in the maturity and stability of our faith to direct and support others in their search.
John's community was in conflict because they stuck around Jesus. They focused on one concrete significant detail. For John's community the concrete significant detail at the center of their lives was that Jesus had a unique relationship with God. It was not the confession of Jesus as Messiah that was problematic in relation to the synagogue. What was problematic in their remaining within the synagogue was the status and identity they attributed to Jesus as Messiah in his relation to God (Lincoln, 118). Jesus was Son of God and Word made flesh. That was the concrete significant detail that fueled their faith in the face of opposition.
It was then about four o'clock in the afternoon (Jn. 1:39). John included this concrete significant detail. It is concrete because it was the beginning of Sabbath. It was significant because Sabbath meant staying in one place until the end of the following day. That means that the disciples had an extended opportunity to remain with Jesus and commune with him, enjoying his presence and learning from him. They had the chance to stick around Jesus. We do too.
Raymond Brown, The Anchor Bible Commentary, The Gospel According to John
Andrew T. Lincoln, Black's New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to Saint John
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.
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