SERMON OF THE WEEK - January 16, 2011
Next Sunday is the 2nd Sunday after the baptism of our Lord. Gospel reading is from John 1:43-51.
Jesus calls Phillip and Nathaniel. Nathaniel asks Phillip: "Can anything good come from Nazareth?. Phillip answers: "Yes, come and see"
Gospel Reading: (John 1:43-51)
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, Follow me.
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? Nathanael asked. Come and see, said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.
48 How do you know me? Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.
49 Then Nathanael declared, Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.
50 Jesus said, You believe[a] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.
51 He then added, Very truly I tell you,[b] you[c] will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on[d] the Son of Man.
One of the key themes of Jessus' public ministry is the calling of his disciples. In today's gospel Jesus begins this with a search for a team of inner circle of faithful disciples who would take the leadership after Jesus completes his mission. Jesus began a three year venture of leading the spiritual journey that would alter the course of human history which would stand for ever.
The first disciple Jesus chose was Andrew. He was an ordinary man. He chose to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. His brother Peter was also chosen who was extraordinary. Peter did things in a big way. He succeeded big as well as failed big. He wrote letters that became books of the Bible named after him. Peter always stands first when the disciples are listed.
Today's gospel talks about others who Jesus chose. Phillip was from the same town of Bethsaida as Andrew and Peter. Phillip was encountered by Jesus and later Jesus invited him to follow him.
Phillip then went to Nathaniel to talk about the Messiah. Nathaniel's response was, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Phillip replies, "Come and see."
Nathaniel asks this question about Nazareth when Phillip introduced him to Jesus as the prophet from Nazareth. Nazareth was not an important city for the national and religious life of Israel. It had a bad reputation in morals and religious life. Even the Galilean language had a crudeness to it. Due to these factors, Nathaniel was surprised that the Messiah would come from Nazareth or be identified with it.
Nathaniel starts out as a doubter, but then when he encounters Jesus, he is welcomed as one who knows Jesus well. Nathaniel's doubts vanish instantly. He claims Jesus as the "Son of God" and "King of Israel." Jesus promises Nathaniel that the heaven would be opened up for him and he will be granted insight into the spiritual truth of the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is the time for all of us to look for a healthy appraisal of ourselves -- who and what we are.
Many of us are searching for something. It is Jesus Christ what we need. Jesus says to us, come and see - experience his presence and power. Jesus invites us to follow him for a purposeful and rewarding life. The invitation is still there. "Come and See." Jesus is the light that came to the earth to clarify our path and soul. His mission was to guide us and to let us know him. It was to show a better path full of trust, security and promises. Jesus came to redeem us from things which shaped our souls that were not quite right. He came to deliver the truth in a world of false beliefs. What we need is spiritual guidance which we cannot fill with gains in this life such as profits and pleasure.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil