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What are You Doing at 4 O'Clock?

The Gospel of John is my favorite book of the Bible. The poetic prelude of the first 18 verses establishes Jesus as our Creator God; He was at the beginning of it all and it sets the tone for John’s argument for Jesus’ claim to messiahship. Those words are emblazoned on my heart much like a faith tattoo.
Another reason I am a fan of John is the skill and care he takes in telling Jesus’ story. The redemption story in John 21 when Jesus forgives Peter of his betrayal is, in my opinion, the most powerful encounter Jesus had with a human being in the Bible. But I recently heard in a sermon at Cokesbury Church’s South campus a story at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry when he first meets John that is very compelling… if you look closely!
As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. John 1:36-39
I want to thank the teaching pastors at Cokesbury Church for bringing this story to the forefront. If you are casually reading this passage, then you will easily miss the significance encapsulated between the lines. Again, casually engaging this scripture, you would imagine John and Andrew meeting Jesus, exchanging some light banter, and the story continues. But let’s look a little closer!
As followers of John the Baptizer, the idea that Jesus was the Messiah was not a surprise to John and Andrew. First, John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God and as Rabbi, which is significant because they may have just heard him speak for the first time earlier that day. But that is not even the most impactful part of the encounter.
The detail that Rev. Maynard pointed out as primarily significant in this story is the one most easily dismissed. Andrew and John asked Jesus where he was staying, and Jesus invited them to “come and see.” Then John commented, “It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying.” The Book of John was written about 60 years after this encounter, yet John specifically remembers that he first met Jesus at 4:00 o’clock. The moment was so impactful, that over 60 years later, John remembers the exact time of day he encountered the Messiah! 2,000 years later, we know that John encountered Jesus for the first time at 4 o’clock in the afternoon!
Just like the followers that physically walked with Jesus, we are called to walk with Jesus daily too. But do you remember your first encounter with the risen Messiah? Can you recall where you were, who introduced you, and what you were doing when Jesus took control of your life. I know some people are “born into their faith” but it became a significant detail in John’s story for the rest of his life! What is your story?
If you are feeling compelled to tell your story, but aren’t sure where to start, I would highly recommend you spend some quality time reading the book of John. And by “quality time” I mean paying attention to every sentence and understanding the context of every detail, because John’s story is our story too!
The next verse after this story (John 1:40) is another encounter that can be casually overlooked, but in eighteen simple words, the course of human history was changed forever. We will look at this verse in more detail in a future post…
To hear the full sermon from Rev. Charles Maynard:
For more information about Cokesbury Church in Knoxville, TN:

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