Thursday, January 22, 2015

Musings on John 1:43-51

Come and See

I didn’t realize how grateful I was for the volunteers who video my sermons every week until they weren’t there.  Thank you to Gary McGovern and Greg Fredeman for your efficiency and commitment.  I tried to start my own camera, but forgot how to use it.  It’s been too long.

In John’s Gospel, it is not just Jesus who calls his followers. Phillip goes to find Nathaniel. And Andrew went to find Peter.
Listen to what Phillip says, “We have found him about whom Moses, in the Law and the Prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
How does Phillip know that the Law and the Prophets wrote about Jesus?  He is changed by his encounter with Jesus.  As we all are.  You don’t meet Jesus and remain the same person.  Phillip becomes a prophet and an evangelist, spreading the Good News to Nathaniel.
Nathaniel is found by Phillip.  Notice how Jesus finds Phillip and then Phillip finds Nathaniel.We yearn to be found be God.  Sometimes God finds us through another person.
What is important about the fig tree?  It was understood that the fig tree was the tree of wisdom, found in the Garden of Eden.  A wise person was referred to as, One who gathers figs.
Why does Jesus say about Nathaniel, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”? He is referring to the original Israelite, Jacob, who was renamed Israel after wrestling with the Angel of God.  Jacob was deceitful because he stole his brother, Esau’s, birthright by tricking his father Isaac.  Jesus is also referring to the Jewish authorities from Jerusalem, who try to trick Jesus throughout John’s Gospel.
How did Jesus see Nathaniel sitting under a fig tree? Has he got Xray eyes?  Yes and no. John portrays Jesus as having extra sensory perception, one of his many God-like qualities. 
This entire lesson pivots on the verb, To See.  Phillip entreats Nathaniel to Come and See who Jesus really is.  Jesus sees Nathaniel, not just sitting under a fig tree, but who Nathaniel really is - a man of integrity, honesty and truth.  Then Nathaniel sees who Jesus really is: the Son of God, the King of Israel.  Jesus responds, “Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus refers to himself as Jacob’s Ladder, the connection between heaven and earth.  Here is another reference to Jacob, that Jesus uses to expand our perception of who he is and what we are to see.
We will see great things through our belief in Christ.  Jesus teaches us to see with our hearts, which yearn to be aligned with Christ’s heart.
We are invited to Come and See so that we can be transformed by our encounters with Christ into a people who find, seek and invite others to Come and See.