Home Service Sunday 15th January 2023

Prayers of Approach

Lord, help us to come with open hearts and minds, eager to spend time with you, longing to learn more about you, wanting to take more of who you are out to the world – until everyone has come to you. Amen.

Welcoming Lord, thank you that you invite us to come and see. You extended a warm welcome to us. Thank you that you invite us to stay and eat with you. Thank you that we can draw closer to you. We worship you, O faithful one, knowing that you have chosen us. We are honoured in your sight, and you have become our strength. Amen.

Thank you, Lord, that you have always welcomed us; thank you for your invitation. You invited us to come and see; thank you for your invitation. To come and see your goodness; thank you for your invitation. To come and see your kindness; thank you for your invitation. To come and see your generous hospitality; thank you for your invitation. To come and see your miracles; thank you for your invitation. To come and see that you died for us on the cross; thank you for your invitation. To come and see the freedom we now have in you; thank you for your invitation. Freedom to be the people you have called us to be; thank you for your invitation. Thank you.

Hymn Jesus calls us o’er the tumult (R&S 355)

Readings: Isaiah 49:1-7

John 1:29-42


This passage from Isaiah is one of the so called ‘Servant Songs’ and gives another picture of the mission of the servant, sent by God.

There is a sense here that the servant could be a collective identity, a personification of the whole nation (v.3), but what comes across in these verses is the power of God and God’s universal aim. The servant is to become ‘a light to the nations’, as the vision moves to include a picture of universal salvation across the whole earth, something like the rising of the sun giving light everywhere.

John the Baptist identifies Jesus as ‘the Lamb of God’, and the one who ‘baptizes with the Holy Spirit’. Later, two people try to find out more about Jesus, and he invites them to ‘Come and see’. These first two disciples believe they have found the Messiah, and bring others to Jesus. The Gospel passage is one of witness. John has seen something of what his cousin is to become and is quick to impart the information to his disciples. Andrew and his friend are intrigued, so Jesus invites them to spend the day with him. Andrew is so impressed that he brings his brother Peter to meet Jesus too. There is a clear message here – we are not to keep what we discover about Jesus to ourselves.

Hymn From heaven you came helpless babe (R&S 522)


Isaiah’s prophecies and description of God’s ‘servant’ have come to be interpreted throughout history as a kind of ‘job description’ for the Messiah and sets the scene for the appearance of Jesus and the recognition of his identity through the things he says and does. Today’s Gospel reading marks the beginning of that process and could more or less be summed up in three short phrases, ‘there he is: come and see: go and tell!’ it is a progression that fits quite well with the modern world.

Just think for a moment about the vastness of the world.

1. How many countries can you name in one minute?

2. How many rulers or world leaders can you name in one minute?

Now think about how quickly news can spread around the whole world. With modern communications it is almost instantaneous and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and the like can spread ideas and information as fast as you can press or click the button. Bloggers, vloggers, pod-casters and influencers ‘shout’ “here I am, come and see, follow me”. Phrases such as ‘follow us on Twitter’ are commonplace and unquestioned. But where does this following lead? If you follow someone – someone famous, perhaps – does it give you a true picture of who they are? Is it a picture you want to have?

Throughout history there have always been followers. In Jesus’ time rabbis had followers, or disciples, who were being trained and would go on to continue and develop the work of their teachers, and pass it on to others in their turn. John the Baptist was no exception, he too had his followers, but there was one important difference. John wasn’t just concerned with gaining disciples for himself and perpetuating his own teachings, he was looking for someone greater. And John made a discovery. He saw something in Jesus that, perhaps, he wasn’t expecting, and he didn’t want to keep it to himself. Quite the opposite; he went out of his way to tell Andrew and his friends what he thought, even though it meant losing these disciples to Jesus.

Andrew was intrigued by what John said about this man Jesus and together with another disciple went to see for himself. They accepted Jesus’ invitation to find out more, to ‘come and see’, not just where Jesus was staying but to spend time with him and learn from him. Then Andrew couldn’t keep what he had seen to himself either. He went in search of his brother Peter. This wasn’t some sudden inspired grand plan to evangelise the world. It was just someone who thought his brother needed to know. So, he told him.

Peter didn’t take it on trust either. He went to see too. And then he went and told others. Perhaps his friends, James and John – we don’t know exactly; but we do know that he went on to tell many other people. He came. He saw. He told. Again, and again, and again. And what he told was quite simple, really: we’ve found the Messiah; come, and see.

And the story continues. But now it’s our story to tell. We are the ones who have come to see. We are the ones who now have to repeat it to others. Our words, and especially our lives, need to be like signposts to Jesus, or like John’s pointing finger. Behold! See!

Who are you going to tell this week?

Hymn Will you come and follow me (R&S 558)

Prayers of Intercession

God of all time and all places, we pray for your Church throughout the world. For congregations facing persecution and violence: may they know your grace and peace. For congregations struggling financially and numerically: may they know your grace and peace. For congregations that are divided and disillusioned: may they know your grace and peace. For congregations witnessing in areas of poverty and conflict: may they know your grace and peace. For ourselves and our fellow saints in this area and this nation: may we know your grace and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Hymn Colours of day dawn into the mind (R&S 572)


Lord, you invited us to come and see and you opened our eyes to your wonders. We have been transformed by our encounter. Now give us the courage to go and tell, to share who you are with others we meet, so they too may be transformed by you. Amen.

Prayers and other material (adapted) © Roots for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.