Perhaps you played the telephone game as a child. While sitting in a circle of friends, one person would whisper a message into the ear of another. Then the message would be passed around the circle until it reached the end. If the message stayed the same, everyone cheered; if the message changed in its passing, the results often brought laughter.
The calling of the disciples in the first chapter of John’s Gospel is not unlike a game of telephone. The message about Jesus is passed from one disciple to the next. First John tells Andrew, and Andrew tells Simon. Then in today’s reading, Jesus calls Philip, and Philip tells Nathanael. The message generally stays the same: “Come and see!” But each person also spins it, giving Jesus a new name. One names him the Lamb of God, another the Messiah. One says he is the one whom the prophets foretold; another calls him rabbi. Each of these names says something different about Jesus’ identity, suggesting that each disciple came to know Jesus in his own way. Yet each of them only came to that knowledge because they were invited by someone else.
Do you remember who first introduced you to Jesus? Like those earliest disciples, you have come to know Jesus in your own way; but someone probably made the first introduction for you. Perhaps it was a beloved Sunday school teacher who told you God’s stories or a parent who taught you to pray or a church leader who showed you what a life of following Jesus looked like. Who, through their words or actions, passed the message “come and see” to you? Give thanks for that person today.
God, we thank you for the saints who have gone before us, making you known from generation to generation. Help us to carry on the gospel call, that Jesus Christ may be known in us and through us. Amen.
We read the stories of Samuel and the calling of Jesus’ disciples in John, and it’s easy to feel jealous. God spoke so directly into their lives that they should have had, it seems to us, full and unwavering confidence in their callings. Didn’t they have an unfair spiritual advantage over us? However, the psalmist reminds us that God knows and sees us individually just as well as God knew Samuel and Jesus knew his disciples. God has plans for us, even if they are revealed in less obvious ways. The reading from First Corinthians is quite different in its message. Perhaps we can at least recognize that even if we never hear God’s audible voice, through scripture God still provides guidance for our lives.
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-20. Can you think of a time when you failed to hear God calling you? What helps you to listen to God?
Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. How does the knowledge that all humans are “fearfully and wonderfully made” inform the way you regard and care for others?
Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Paul writes, “All things are lawful.” What does that mean to you? What are the responsibilities inherent in such freedom?
Read John 1:43-51. Who are the people who invited you to “come and see” Jesus? Is there someone around you to whom you could extend that invitation today?
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