Tomorrow’s gospel lesson comes from John 1:29-42. It’s a different version of the Baptism of Our Lord than you will find in the other gospels. For one thing, the story takes place on the day after Jesus was baptized. For another, John the Baptist gets to tell his own version of the story, describing his experience to a handful of his own disciples. No water is involved.
But there’s a lot of seeing going on. John sees Jesus coming. John testifies that this is the one on whom he saw the Spirit of God descend, after being told he would see this phenomenon. “And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God,” John says.
It doesn’t stop there. The next day John watches Jesus walk by, and tells a couple of his disciples, “See! There’s the Lamb of God I told you about yesterday!” They follow Jesus, who turns and sees them, then asks, “What are you looking for?” When they ask where he’s staying, Jesus says, “Come and” – you guessed it – “see.”
And that’s just the first half of the reading! It reminds me of Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle’s predictable reading primer, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” that every preschool and kindergarten teacher knows by heart. Each colorful character in the story sees the next character “looking at me.” Except, in this case, the characters aren’t looking at, they are looking for. John the Baptist is looking for the One who has been promised. His disciples are looking for a conquering Messiah. Jesus is looking for disciples who will follow and learn from him.
We run into trouble when we stop looking, when we decline the invitation to “come and see.” But we also run into trouble when we start looking for the wrong thing, in the wrong places. There’s an old chorus that goes, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” Keeping our eyes on Jesus, we can focus on God alone, the author and finisher of our faith. There, we find peace, forgiveness, rest, grace. Where, you ask? Come and see.