Saturday, September 15, 2018


Sermon Summary, 8/19/18, “Encountering Jesus: The Skeptic” (John 1:35-51)

Last week at lunch, Curt asked, “Why are there so many that disdain religion, strive to tear it apart?”  Good question, and there may be many answers: Pride, arrogance, belief they can do everything on their own (“I did it my way”).  The problem with the humanist approach is that they’re left without answers to the most important questions in life: Why am I here? What is life’s meaning? What is my purpose? How am I supposed to live? 

They might say, “Love others.”  I say, “O, Jesus said that.”  Or, “Treat others as of infinite worth.”  “O, Jesus said that.”  Or, “Help the poor.”  “O, Jesus said that.”  Amazingly, they  recognize the rules but not the rule-maker.  I would suggest what they need is to encounter Jesus.  Us too.

Today we begin a new sermon series, with themes from Tim Keller’s book, Encountering Jesus.”  Today is the story of a skeptic, Philip from John 1.

Nathanael (who has encountered Jesus) invites Philip who says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Nathanael says “Come and see,” and Philip answers the invitation, a lesson for us.  Not a theologian or evangelist, just “Come and see.” 

Jesus sees Philip, knows his heart, and says, “a son of Israel in whom there is no deceit.”  Jesus strikes a chord.  Philip replies, “How is it that you know me?”  Jesus says, “I saw you under the fig tree before Nathanael called you.” 

Now here’s the deal, no one knows what was going on under the fig tree, but Jesus knows and Philip knows that Jesus knows.  That’s all that matters.  Here’s an exercise for you.  Invite Jesus into yourpresence.  You know he knows what’s going on under your fig tree, don’t you?  The question is what we will call him.  Philip calls him “the Messiah, the King of Israel.”  Will we call him “the Lord of our lives?”

And what are our expectations when we see Jesus?  Jesus says, “You will see greater things than these…. You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  (Remember Jacob’s ladder?  Jesus says he is the ladder, the way to heaven!  Better than mind reading.  Jesus has come to change the world!)

Jesus knows what is happening under our fig tree.  We need to proclaim him Lord and invite him into our hearts, have conversations with him that will guide our lives, that will provide the answers to life’s most important questions, that will far exceed our expectations.  Amen.

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