The lectionary has us in John 6 for three weeks. It is one of those long watershed chapters. It all takes place in the aftermath of the feeding of the 5000. In the Gospel according to John the feeding and that crowd are a little more specific about their desires than in the other gospels. They wanted to make Jesus their King. But the type of King they wanted was not the King Jesus is. The crowds were seeking, but they were not willing to be found. God was offering the bread of life, but they wanted their bread. This sermon explores that dichotomy.
With the change of the church year and getting out of the festival season we will start to notice the new Gospel reading. Luke is left behind and Matthew and John have the year. It may seem like overkill, but when you’ve read through each enough you can have a epiphany. Each gospel wants to be read on its terms. John’s terms are meditative. They are like an icon through which we see the reality. What this sermon does is attempt to ponder the diptych. The first scene is John the Baptist’s proclamation of the Lamb of God. The second scene is he response of two of his disciples. John the Baptist, the authoritative prophet, gives us the valid answers to Jesus’ question – “what are you seeking?” The sermon examines the uniqueness of that answer. It then looks at the second scene as an image of our response.
Worship note: I left in our opening hymn, an Epiphany season staple, LSB 409, Hail, O Source of Every Blessing.
That is the question that Jesus, in his first words in the gospel, puts on Mary and Joseph. And it is rhetorical. It is posed not to get an answer, but to force us to answer it for ourselves. Why do we seek Jesus?
That is a sticky question theologically. This sermon posits that the deeper answer has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with Jesus. Why do we seek Jesus? Because we heard His voice. Because God calls us. Because Jesus is the only one who can forgive our sins. It looks like we are doing the seeking. It looks like we are the ones who “find Jesus” or “find our path”. Mary and Joseph look like the ones finding the “lost” Jesus. Perceptions are tricky. Jesus knew where he was and was at the correct place the entire time. Who exactly is the lost one and who is the seeking one?