Sunday, January 7
An Invitation and a Welcome
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
The people in the wilderness following John were looking for something. They were living in a land now occupied by Rome, and they were limited in what they could do and say. Their freedom was precarious and their voices were unheard. It’s no surprise they flocked to the wilderness to hear the words of God’s prophets, hoping to hear something that would give them hope for a better life.
It was also a fairly common occurrence that rabbis selected followers that would live with them and learn from them. By immersing themselves in the lives of their teachers, disciples could learn to emulate their teachers, thereby carrying on the teachings throughout generations.
On this day, the prophet John recognized God in Jesus. By pointing him out, John directed the attention of several truth seekers toward Jesus and they followed him intently. When Jesus asked what they were seeking, they requested to follow him for a while with the question, “Where are you staying?” The rabbi, Jesus, extended an invitation that would change their lives forever, “Come and see.”
Throughout this brief passage, the word about Jesus begins to spread like wildfire, and before long Jesus has gathered several disciples ready to follow and learn. He gives some of them new names, a sign that God has redirected their life journey down a different path. It reminds me a little of an endearing relative that gives funny nicknames to the people they love the most.
You know that feeling you get when you climb into the car of a roller coaster and it begins to climb the long, steep hill toward the drop? That’s where we are in Jesus’ ministry. As Jesus gathers disciples, there is an excitement, a nervousness that comes with the anticipation of a wild ride. The journey will be long and difficult, but for now, there is delight and eagerness as Jesus extends the invitation to a journey that cannot be explained, only lived, “Come and see.”
Narrative Lectionary Text: John 1:35-51
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
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 toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get 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.”