Philip has heard Jesus’ call to “follow me” and witnesses to Nathanael. Philip does not find Nathanael’s dismissive com-ment about Nazareth off-putting. Instead, he invites Nathanael to “come and see.” Philip turns a potential personal “upset” to a “set up.” Jesus takes over and addresses Nathanael, which may have been the biggest surprise of Nathanael’s life. Jesus already knows Nathanael, and that makes all the difference.
What does it feel like to be recognized—sought out and fully seen by God who knows our needs—at the very moment we feel inclined to go another direction? Jesus’ knowledge of Nathanael shocks him. He realizes that being known by Jesus is both undeserved and unmerited. He feels compelled to testify, “You are the Son of God!” His profession of faith is more extensive than Philip’s witness to him.
Imagine what happens to us when Jesus calls us to follow him. He knows us and the secrets of our hearts. He knows our weaknesses, inadequacies, and doubts. Yet he invites us into an intimate relationship with God by becoming his disciples.
John’s Gospel emphasizes the decision of accepting or rejecting Jesus. Nathanael, an Israelite without deceit, chooses to accept Jesus and receives his promise of seeing “greater things than these” and “heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus calls us to follow, and we decide. Following him
requires a daily commitment; our obedience brings transfor-
mation. We follow with our hearts and our lives, settling only for God’s fullness of life.
O Holy One, I am so blessed that you already know me. Help me see the greater things that you have in store for me. Give me courage to ask others to “come and see.” Amen.
We read the stories of Samuel and the calling of Jesus’ disciples in John, and it is 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 calling. 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 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. In what ways do you remain responsive to hearing God’s voice?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. What sense of God’s involvement in your everyday life do you have?
• Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. How do you remind yourself of the spirit–body connection?
• Read John 1:43-51. When have you allowed prejudice to affect your decision about a person’s competency?
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