My First Homily - John 1:35-42

It was the 4th Jan 2008 and a very terrified John stood in front of the other students, legs and hands shaking. We had just heard the gospel that we heard today, and I was about to give the homily. I really like this homily, I put weeks of work into but please remember as you read it it was my first and written over four years before my ordination. The personal stories here are very real, and I owe a great deal to all of my friends for their prayer and guidance.

So first of all here is the Gospel and then the homily, I hope it inspires you to pass on the wonderful Good News of Christ.

John 1:35-42
The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus went past, and John looked towards him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ He replied, ‘Come and see’; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and say to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – which means Rock.

We have just heard how the first disciples met Jesus. So I would like to share a little story with you, about how a few friends of mine helped me find Jesus, but I’ll change their names so none of them get embarrassed. It begins, a few years ago, as I started college. Andreas was doing the same course as me and we became good friends, in fact when we left college we got jobs at the same company so our lives were closely linked for a good few years. When I think back to those days, a few good times stand out:
  • A badly played and embarrassing game of charades with his church friends
  • Many Christmas Eve’s spent playing computer games before heading off to midnight mass
  • And, a lot of evenings spent trying to solve the mysteries of life the universe and everything. Andreas was a Christian and me well I probably pictured myself more as a Jedi Knight, so these were always interesting discussions.
A few years and a couple of jobs later I met Andy, we worked for the same company and instantly got on. I got to know him and his wife Drew really well. I often slept on there sofa on Saturday nights after enjoying a good meal and a little bit too much wine. Sunday mornings they would dash out to church and sometime I would even go with them. One evening Drew suggested that maybe I should look into attending an Alpha course. I took that advice and a year later I was spending my Thursday evenings at a local church. I still didn’t believe but I had an open mind, and the one thing I had worked out was that Andreas, Andy and Drew all had something I didn’t have and I wanted to find out what it was.

Over the next few months as the course went on and different presenters explained and justified Christianity, my logical head took it all in then dismissed most of it. However, my heart noticed that Andrea, one of the Christians on the course, she had the same something, the same peace, my friends seamed to have. Slowly I realised, what my friends had wasn’t something they were hording but something they were trying to give. Eventually, I found Jesus in the smiles of my friends, Andreas, Andy, Drew & Andrea.

We can learn four powerful lessons in today’s gospel, about how to live as Christians, in today’s world.
  • First, Be humble Second,
  • Go when called Third,
  • Meet people where they are And Forth,
  • Tell people what you have found.

Our first lesson… Be Humble. John was humble when he pointed out Jesus, to his disciples. He new they would leave him, but it wasn’t his fame that was important to him… It’s all to easy to get caught up on yourself, I do it all the time, but I know, we all know that others come first and so does God.

Our second lesson… Go when Called. The two disciples took their opportunity, they heard what John said and followed Jesus. They didn’t wait till the last possible moment or find some excuse not to go, they just followed. I am a great one for putting things off, homework or reports are always done the night before. But remember, there are something’s that you may only be given a few moments to do, smiling and dropping a few coins into the beggars hat or stopping to help a broken down motorist. You never know, God may intend for them to notice the cross around your neck.

Our Third Lesson… Meet people where they are. When Jesus was asked ‘Where do you live?’ he just said ‘Come and see’. This was a very different response than ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Which he gave a couple of years later when a man said that he would follow him wherever he went. Why the difference? Jesus’ message was going to be new to the two disciples, so he went somewhere quiet and spent the day talking to them. He started with love and friendship, demonstrating to them what he was about to start teaching them.

Our forth lesson… Tell people what you have found, was demonstrated be Andrew. The first thing Andrew did after meeting Jesus was to introduce his brother to Jesus. Andrew does this a lot in the gospels, check next time you see his name, I’m sure you’ll find he has just introduced someone to Jesus. We all have it in us, to bring people to God, not by shouting the bible from street corners, but by the way we live our lives and treat our friends.

Whether you work in a school, prison, hotel, an office or your home, you’ll meet strangers and friends everyday. Be humble, Go when they call, meet them where they are and tell them what you have found. Our challenge from today’s gospel is to be a little more like Andrew… or Andreas or Andy or Drew or Andrea.


  1. A little too many "I" in your sermons.

    1. Hi Cheval, Thanks for the feedback. So often people only say the nice things that come to mind and not the constructive feedback that is so useful. You are right I do use I a lot in this homily and in several others. I dont think there is anything wrong in useing personal stories, in fact as a Deacon lives a normal life like many of the congregation personal stories can bring real value. However there is a danger in over doing it and I will consider this careful when next writing a homily. If you feel like posting a comment again I would be very interested to know if you just stumbled upon this blog or if you are a member of any of our congregations in Bristol. It would be lovely to say hello one Sunday after Mass.
      God Bless you, and thanks for the feedback,