January 19, 2003

John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, "Come, follow me." (Philip's hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)

Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, "We've found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It's Jesus , Joseph's son, the one from Nazareth!" Nathanael said, "Nazareth? You've got to be kidding."

But Philip said, "Come, see for yourself."

When Jesus saw him coming he said, "There's a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body."

Nathanael said, "Where did you get that idea? You don't know me."

Jesus answered, "On day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree."

Nathanael exclaimed, "Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!"

Jesus said, "You've become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven't seen anything yet! Before this is over you're going to see heaven open and God's angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again."


1. This is the first Sunday I'll be preaching at Fifth Avenue and I have decided to not follow the lectionary for this Sunday but to use John 13:31-35 and to follow the much of John Wesley's sermon #92, "On Zeal."

Hopefully there will be a connection with "Come, see for yourself" from this lection.

2. How would you connect this to Zechariah 3:8-10 (NRSV)

"Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree."

Do you think you are being seen beyond your guilt? Do you sense yourself being invited to be with others called to pass on guilt removal for there is plenty of room under the fig tree symbolism, atop the mountain of peace imagery? Is your life an omen of good yet to be?

Can you see the life-change from rule-enforcer to setter-free-from-guilt going on in your life?

3. Can we see in others that they, too, will sit under the vine and fig tree? That we will be at one with each other? Do you think/feel it would make difference if we had this ultimate picture of one another? If you do, how might you begin practicing this vision.

To be seen as sitting in peace and to be invited to join building that peace is enough to change one's life. May it be so in your life.