Second Sunday after the Epiphany “Come and See”
January 17th, 2020 – John 1:46
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Hey! You over there! Come check this out!
Have you seen this lake? Come with me some time. It is FILLED with beautiful walleye.
Have you seen that new movie? You should go see it.
Check out this viral YouTube video. Then you will know what we’re all talking about.
Take a look at the link I sent you on Facebook.
Peek at the email I sent you.
Have you seen the sales on right now? Got take a look.
Go to drydenlutheran.ca/streams and you can watch the church services right on there!
The words “Come and See”. Over and over. Said in all kinds of different ways. We are redirected to come and see this. Come and see that. The TV has this uncanny ability to shout at you “come and see!” without saying a word. The phone is even better at it. Notification after notification rolls in quietly saying over and over “come to the phone and see what’s new.”
Do you ever get tired of it? Are there so many things calling out to you to give them your attention you do not know which way to turn anymore? The car calling out as you pass it on the driveway “Look at me! I need a wash!” The laundry, or the dishes, calling “come and see – we need a washing.”
In all the noise, even the pastor is calling you to church, to come and see. What calls are you hearing? What calls are you listening to?
Samuel heard a call as he laid down. He heard a call three times. Took until the third time for him to understand where it was coming from and say “Speak, for your servant hears.”
The message? Have you ever heard something that filled you with such dread to the point you could feel your ears tingling? Perhaps just embarrassment that gave you that slightly tingling feeling. God’s message was a message of judgement to Eli who Samuel was ministering under. Awkward. So God gives you a message for your mentor that He messed up, didn’t keep his sons’ blasphemy in check even though he knew about it, and his house will be punished forever. No forgiveness for you.
If you were Samuel, how willing do you think you would be to share the news to your superior? Think you might try to soften the blow? “Hey! Come and see this, it is really not all that bad, just you and your house are damned forever! No biggie, right? Hahah…” If you were Eli, how do you think you would react to hearing the news? Probably not as good as Eli actually does. He demonstrates great faith by just saying, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”
How willing are you to listen to bad news? With all the things calling out to you, how likely are you to come and see the thing telling you that you messed up and need to do better. Probably rather look at that thing that tells you that those other people out there are messed up, but YOU are great!
God warns us of this kind of calling. He says the time is coming when people “will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3). Even Isaiah said, “They say to the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us the truth! Speak to us pleasant words; prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10). Very real temptation. You can ignore God for as long as you want. Make yourself feel good by ignoring the truth. His message does not change over time. It is dreadfully similar to His message to Eli. “I warned you. You did not listen to me. You’re done.” No one wants to hear it. No one wants to speak it. Yet, it must be heard, and it must be spoken.
Our Epistle is worth a sober second thought after service.
Where do you flee upon hearing this? Do you appeal to being a “good person”, “better than those people”, “well that’s your truth I don’t believe it”, “my God would never be so mean” “I don’t need Jesus, I’ve got willpower”?
… “Jesus found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ … Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote Jesus of Nazareth…’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” (John 1:43-46).
What does Nathanael see? What is his epiphany? What is revealed to him?
Jesus knowing him. Jesus having come from heaven. Jesus seeing him. Jesus seeing him in the way the Psalmist speaks in our 139th Psalm.
1O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
You cannot hide from this God. Nathanael is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit, as Jesus says. Last week we talked about Jesus revealed to Gentiles by God through representative Magi. This week, God’s epiphany is to Israel – His own people. In a few words, Jesus reveals Himself to Nathanael to the point that he rightly confesses, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Zephaniah speaks of the King of Israel as God Himself, “The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil” (Zephaniah 3:15). This King of Israel sounds pretty good. He takes away the judgements against you? Clears away your enemies? With Him in your midst you shall never again fear evil? Now this I got to come and see.
Read with your eyes His Word. See God’s salvation for you in Jesus. God is calling you to come and see Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit in us we speak with Samuel, “Speak, for you servant hears.” The judgement that “you have been warned and found wanting” stands. God’s message that you do not want to hear brings up THE question, “how then can I be saved?” Jesus’ words are the answer. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” With God. With The King of Israel. With the man, Jesus.
God knows you. You cannot hide. He sees you. He comes to you. Jesus is our answer. He is who we flee to. He is who we follow in life and death. When the darkness of this world closes in, God has revealed light. He graciously says, “Come and see Jesus” and troubled hearts are at peace.