John 1:35-51

John - Jesus and Work

John 1:35-51
I was slightly frustrated when I came to this passage. John’s gospel includes some incredible moments in Jesus life, but on first look this appears a bit of a filler passage. But then I read it again, and again, and again. In effect, I meditated on the passage. Through that repetition I found real joy and inspiration. I caught sight of the texture of these verses as they described real people having real encounters. John the Baptist willingly releasing followers (disciples) to follow Jesus.  Yet another example of John the Baptist’s humility and prophetic calling. Five different men deciding to follow Jesus. Friends inviting friends, brother inviting brother. John the gospel writer refusing to name himself in the narrative as he stays true to his vision for his gospel – to point people to Jesus.

I also enjoyed the realisation that in these 16 verses we see at least 9 different titles for Jesus. Together they reveal Jesus humanity, Jesus divinity and Jesus mission. You can walk through all three by watching this week's sermon.

However, for the remainder of this devotion I want us to focus on just one aspect of Jesus humanity.

“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”  John 1:44-45
 
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. This description reminds us that for about 17 years, from the age of 13 until Jesus started his public ministry, Jesus was a carpenter in Nazareth. For 17 years, 6 days a week, Jesus went to work. Jesus balanced his walk with God around his work. Time in the Torah, attending synagogue, making time to be alone with his heavenly father. All of this was fitted in around work. Hard work, physical work, tiring work. Jesus had to handle finances, and awkward customers, and people who wanted to cut corners.

I find this fact so helpful. For most of us our workplace is where we spend most of our time. How helpful it is to be reminded that Jesus faced all the same pressures that we face in the workplace. It means that the teaching of Jesus in John’s gospel, the example of Jesus, is not just for those with time to spare – it also for those who feel overworked and so often undervalued.

Jesus knows how you feel on a Monday morning and is as interested in how you put your hand to your work as he is in how high you lift your hands in Sunday worship. What is more Jesus wants to be part of your work. When Jesus promises the Holy Spirit later in the gospel (John 14:15-31) He is not promising the Spirit for high days and holy days – He is promising his Holy Spirit for everyday, and that means your workplace or wherever you spend your days. When we received Jesus Christ as our Lord our saviour he redeems every aspect of our lives – including our work life.

Work is not a result of the fall (Genesis 3), but it was damaged by sin. Jesus has dealt with the power of sin on the cross and through the resurrection. Why not use the questions below to help you give God room to transform your workplace.

Apply

  1. In Colossians 3:21 we are encouraged to work at all things as for the Lord. Spend some time praying specifically that God would reveal how you can delight him in your work.

  2. Philippians 4 reminds us to start all prayer with thanksgiving. Spend time each day thanking God for the provision of work and for God’s blessing on your workplace.

  3. If you are able pray in your workspace. If this is impossible try picturing your workspace in your mind and in your imagination walk around your workplace praying for each person and each area.

  4. Ask God specifically that you might meet other Christians where you work and look to connect with them.

Prayer

Father,

I thank you for the provision of work. Help me to honour you in my workplace and have my ears and eyes open to opportunities to bring your grace into my workplace. I also pray for those in my church community who are looking for work or struggling in the workplace. Show me how I can support them.

Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions was brought to you by Simon Elliott our Interim Lead Elder.

If you would like to spend more time thinking about faith in the workplace you might find this link helpful: Work | LICC

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Simon unpacks these themes in more detail in his sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.