2nd Sunday After Epiphany
These are the all too familiar words Jesus speaks to Philip, a man of the same town as Andrew and Peter. I love when these two words come up in scripture, because they are always followed by… well… following. The author simply moves on with the story with the new disciples following their teacher.
They just follow. There’s no inner turmoil over leaving family, or obligations, or various fishing equipment, just following. In the case of Philip here in the Gospel of John, he runs to get Nathanael as well. He tells Nathanael they have found the one of whom Moses wrote, Joseph’s boy from Nazareth.
And here I believe Nathanael speaks the truest words of any of the stories of the calling of the disciples…
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” -John 1:46
Nathanael asks the question others were surely thinking? Why would the Messiah come from some back water place like Nazareth. It speaks to the mindset of the Jewish people awaiting a mighty messiah who would win them a military victory over the Romans.
Sometimes that’s what we want too right? We want to ride in on our white horses and save the day. We want to be right, and win battles of moral victories over those around us, especially in our political climate today.
You know what we don’t do? We don’t stop and see Nathanael under the fig tree. Jesus sees Nathanael, knows he is a kind person with no deceit and calls him to be a disciple. Nathanael has this special experience with Jesus of being known, even before he had met Jesus.
Where these men expected a military messiah, they got a servant who truly knew them. He knew they were imperfect and loved them anyway. He allowed himself to be insulted, and called them to follow anyway. This is the messiah we follow. The God who became human to show us what it really means to follow God.
We need to put down our swords, even those in the shape of keyboards on social media, and start seeing each other under the fig tree, and sitting there in those moments so we can truly know each other.