This week we hear the call of the first four disciples from Mark’s gospel. After forty days in the wilderness, Jesus begins his ministry proclaiming the good news of God. Jesus goes to Simon and Andrew and then James and John and says, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they went and followed Jesus. There wasn’t a well let me think about it or a let me get permission from this person or that person, or will you pay better than what I’m getting right now. They just immediately follow Jesus.
The scriptures chosen for this week focus on listening for the voice of God and God’s movements within our lives. God is constantly speaking in our lives through insights, encounters, hunches, dreams, bursts of energy, and inspirational thoughts. Our calling is to listen to the many voices of God, often hidden in everyday experience, and then follow God’s guidance, shaping our encounters with God in our own unique ways. In our reading today from John‘s gospel Jesus’ ministry begins with calling disciples – and significantly, disciples who will immediately go off and call others, saying, “Come and see! We’ve found him!” So Andrew calls his brother, Simon, and in today’s passage, Philip goes off to find Nathaniel. John’s point about the story of Nathaniel’s call is that Jesus knows Nathaniel; Nathaniel is called to come and get to know Jesus. Look at Nathaniel’s question: “Where did you get to know me?” In other words, he says, “We’re not acquainted, are we?” This becomes an epiphany for Nathaniel who makes the connection that John intends us to make: only God could know these things. Only God has such intimate knowledge of us.
This week as we hear the story of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist from Luke’s gospel. This provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our own understanding of baptism. Jesus’ act of being baptized is the assurance of his commitment to partner with us, and is the invitation for us to participate in the work of God’s reign. There is also the promise of God’s Spirit to empower us, and the gift of God’s living word to challenge, guide and strengthen us. We are provided with an assurance that we have all the resources we need to participate in God’s work
This Sunday we focus primarily on the Gospel of John, chapter 1 verses 1-18. It is a tightly packed prologue that allows us to ponder Jesus as divine, but also one who came to live among us in human form. Similar to perhaps some childhood games you may have played growing up, you might get a ‘do over’ if you mistakenly did something—you’d ask for a ‘do over’. In a way, each year as we travel through the season of Advent with Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem which culminates in Jesus’ birth—consider that we all have been given a ‘do over’ in the miracle and mystery of Jesus’ birth. How did Christ’s birth and life help shape or define who you are in the world; who you are in Christ?