St. Matthew’s Sermon 01-15-2017

St. Matthew’s Sermon 01-15-2017

Show and Tell

Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God. Amen

The Gospels of Mathew, Mark and Luke are often called the “synoptic Gospels”; syn meaning with or together with and optic relating to the eye or vision; they look as though they go together or, they appear to be together, the same.

John’s Gospel isn’t included in the list because it is so different than the other three. And that is quite apparent right from the beginning, even here in the first chapter before today’s reading. Mark has no nativity story, he starts with a brief introduction of John and by the 9th verse enters the story of John baptizing Jesus. Matthew and Luke have their birth narratives, although slightly different. But John introduces the Christ all the way back in the beginning of time writing, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God”.

For a moment all 4 Gospels come together in their stories with John the Baptist and Jesus meeting, even then with some slight differences, and then John’s account departs again. And that’s where we are in today’s reading, right at the point where both the Baptist and Jesus, as well as John’s story and that of the other Gospels, meet and part again.

Recognizing this, however, shouldn’t bring us to thinking about, much less arguing over, which one is telling the story correctly and which one, or ones, are not. Rather, we must be aware that the stories differ, subtly or drastically, according to the particular emphasis each writer is placing into the many aspects of Jesus’ message. Today’s case in point: Christ’s gathering of his first disciples.

All three of the synoptic Gospels, Jesus calls his first followers. In two, Mark and Matthew, Jesus is walking along the Sea of Galilee, he sees two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, and says, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” In Luke Jesus asks to borrow Simon’s boat to create a little space between himself and the pressing crowd. When he is finished Simon is blessed with a catch of fish so large he has to call his partners, James and John, over to help haul it in. When they’re done Jesus says to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” and all three follow him.

But here, in John’s Gospel, Simon’s brother Andrew is a disciple of the Baptist. He hears John’s announcement “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” And he follows Jesus, later finding his brother Simon and telling him “We have found the Messiah”!


In my last sermon to you I pointed out that the emphasis of Matthew’s telling of Christ’s Baptism being on our direct connection to Jesus through it and our responsibility to carry the message forward in the race; fulfilling all righteousness by doing the work of God’s revealed will.

John’s emphasis is similar, although not connected through the act of Baptism. Instead John connects revelation and proclamation. In his telling, John reveals the Christ saying “This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’” And further proclaims “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

In succession, Andrew hears these words that reveal Christ to him and goes to his brother Simon telling him “We have found the Messiah”!

John’s Gospel message then is similar, but rather than calling our attention to doing the work of fulfilling all righteousness, defined later in Matthew’s Gospel, he is pushing the importance for us to whom Christ has been revealed, to proclaim! This is spelled out later in his Gospel.

The differences between the synoptic Gospels and John’s account don’t negate each other; it’s not a matter of which is right and which is wrong. They are all ‘right’! And so we don’t get to choose which to follow; the ones that call us more prominently to serving others in worldly needs such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and defending the oppressed or the one that calls us to proclaim the Good News to all, revealing Christ as the Lamb of God; Lord and Savior.

The fact is, they are both very important and we must be mindful not to neglect one in favor of another just as we cannot rest in our assured salvation while ignoring the needs of others.


As we look around in our world today there is no doubt that it is in critical need of help. Even right here, in our own nation, the problems are obvious.

Just here in the US over 43 million people live in poverty; in any given night there may be over half a million people homeless with more than a third of them being families. 64 million people can’t afford medical care; on and on the list goes. So, yes, even in America there is great need for physical care for us to fulfill.

But also, here in the US, there are around 44 murders each day and a greater number of people are permanently disabled by violence. Over 1 million violent crimes were committed last year; over 90 thousand of those were reported rapes (of both women and men). Each year over 44 thousand people die by suicide and 25 times more than that attempt suicide. All this while Church attendance continues to decline; that fact being in evidence right here in St. Matthew’s.  And on and on the list goes. So, yes, even in America there is great need for spiritual revelation for us to fulfill.

The Lamb of God has been revealed to us but we are a small portion of our world, our nation, even our community. But, our world, our nation, even our community need so desperately to hear the revealed Word of God; they need to hear our proclamation of what has been revealed to us and what it has done for us!

Don’t keep your faith a secret! Tell people what you have learned, show them the way to the joy of life with our God as revealed by Jesus Christ!

As the Baptist, one voice, proclaimed and soon thousands heard the Good News, so your one voice can spread through the world!

This, too, is doing the work of God’s revealed will.



John 1:29-42
1:29 The next day he [John] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
1:30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’
1:31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
1:32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
1:33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
1:34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
1:35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,
1:36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
1:37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
1:38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
1:39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
1:40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
1:41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed).
1:42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).


Isaiah 49:1-7
49:1 Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The LORD called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
49:3 And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
49:4 But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD, and my reward with my God.”
49:5 And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-
49:6 he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
49:7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,
1:5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind
1:6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you
1:7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.