Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Come and See" Means You Can't Stay: August 7, 2014

the text: John 1:43-51
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

the ideas
“The next day” -  days seem to be important to John. Each new day seems to bring something new. The climax is Easter when during Jesus’ resurrection John tells us a few times that it was the “first day of the week” (Sunday – first day of the week – Resurrection Sunday – first day of new creation).

Galilee” – Jesus centers his ministry around Galilee for a number of reasons. Partly because the religious elite end up trying to kill him (7:1), and partly, I believe, because no one expects Jesus to come from Galilee. Where Jesus comes from astounds the religious leaders. They can’t believe he is from heaven, but being from Galilee is equally unbelievable. Look at the verse above, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (which is in Galilee). Something very similar happens in John 7:41-52.

The Law and the prophets – Jesus, from Nazareth, Joseph’s son, is the one all the Old Testament is pointing to. One small miracle leads Nathanial to claim that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel. We get the tension that Jesus is both the eternal Logos (Word) of God and a human born from another human who lived in some town in the middle of nowhere. Theologically this is what the Church calls Hypostatic union – we believe that Jesus is fully God and fully human in one person.

“Come and See” – this is the second “Come and see” we get in this chapter. The first time Jesus says it. Now Philip invites Nathaniel to it.

the stuff
Each new day God is doing something incredible. God is working towards the transformation and restoration of all. Each new day brings new mercies and a continued proving of God’s faithful love. But this love comes from unexpected places – it comes from Nazareth in Galilee.

We cannot grow comfortable in our understanding of where God is and what God is doing. We must keep our eyes open. We must continually respond to the invitation to come and see or soon we will forget that God’s love comes from Nazareth - that it comes from the place where we least expect it.

Are you expecting new results from the same, tired routine or have you given up on the old routines because they stopped working? Pray for fresh vision, for fresh wind, for fresh heavenly bread and living water. God is active. God is ministering to this world; it just may be in the place you’ve never thought to look.

Jesus’ loving kindness is constant and for all, but there is an invitation to “come and see.” It requires that we move from our current comfort to somewhere else, something less comfortable. When we do, Jesus’ healing is tangible. It is something that we can experience here and now. This is the “see” part.

Invite your neighbor to dinner to hear their life story – no, not that neighbor, the neighbor you wouldn’t usually invite. Call your grandma and ask her about her parents’ faith and church life. Ask a stranger what their favorite thing about Jesus is. I bet the answer will astound you. Pray for God to give you an amazing dream tonight about something, anything – maybe angels descending. Or simply ask Jesus to soften your heart in a way that makes you that much more loving towards a difficult family member, co-worker, fellow church member, or neighbor.

This is Jesus, the Son of God, Joseph’s son, from Galilee -  come and see.

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