God Knows Us and Calls Us

Posted by on Jan 18, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on God Knows Us and Calls Us

Dear Lord….Thank you for making us part of your family. Thank you for knowing us and all our faults. Thank you for calling us to be your disciples. May we continue to show our commitment to you as we work our way through this year. Be with us as we consider your words this morning.This Sunday is the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany. I have the sense that we will all be having certain “epiphanies” as the days and year progress. God’s light will continue to shine on us and enlighten us.The gospel lesson for this morning is from John 1:43-51. I am also going to be having comments about the Old Testament lesson from Samuel. These two passages work so very well together, I cannot consider one without the other.In our gospel reading, we find Jesus in the process of appointing his disciples. In the verses preceding this reading we find the names of some of those people Jesus has challenged to follow him. In our reading, Jesus went to Galilee and found Philip and said to him, “Follow me”. Philip was from Bethsaida where two other disciples had also come from, namely Peter and Andrew. While Philip was walking there, he found a man named “Nathaniel” and challenged him to come with them as they had found the prophet Moses wrote about and that the man was Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth.I was taken back by the next thing Nathaniel said, “What good can come out of Nazareth?” Doesn’t this sound a lot like things we are all too familiar hearing. A derogatory comment about someone that we do not know. It appears Philip didn’t say anything in response to that comment. When Jesus saw Nathaniel, he said nothing derogatory nor did he respond in the way we would probably have expected He said that Nathaniel was an Israelite who had no deceit in him. That was a shock to Nathaniel as he had never met Jesus before. He asked how Jesus knew him. Jesus responded that he had seen this person under a fig tree. In Jesus time, the fig tree was a symbol of peace and safety. He had possibly seen Nathaniel reading the Torah under this tree…studying the law. Immediately, Nathaniel confessed who Jesus was. What a surprise! Here was someone who had been derogatory toward the area Jesus came from, and is now confessing who he sees Jesus is…the Son of God…King of the Jews.Jesus sees us just as we are. He sees all that we do…all our choices…and promises, as he did to Nathaniel, that we and all disciples will see even greater things, such as many miracles, Jesus’ resurrection, as well as the angels descending on the Son of Man.We are now aware of the way God communicates with humanity…through Jesus Christ who is both human and divine. God sees us just as we are and accepts us just as we are. Have you had an experience similar to that of Nathaniel? Has someone recognized you by the way you talk to people, by your actions, your kindness? The other very important thing we see in the passage is that people are brought to Christ by the personal witness of people they talk to, work with, meet on the street.Then…let’s talk a little about Samuel. He was caring for the blind, aging Eli in the temple. Samuel slept in the temple by the Ark of the Covenant and was available anytime Eli needed him. When he heard his name called, he thought it was Eli. Eli’s response to the call was,...

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