As we set off through the Epiphany season, we come face to face with the reality of Jesus, the one who was God born for us at Christmas. Week by week throughout this season we encounter Jesus as he calls disciples, heals the sick, casts out demons and reveals his glory to the world. We see his impact on people as he calls disciples. Andrew, Peter, James and John left their fishing business behind, seemingly without question or second thought, setting off into an uncertain future, simply because Jesus called them.
But nothing can be stranger than Nathaniel’s first encounter with Jesus in today’s Gospel. Nathaniel is just minding his own business, sitting quietly under a fig tree, when Philip comes running up to tell him that he’s found the one the Prophets had been writing about. But rather than being from a great city as befits a king, he’s from the village Nazareth of all places. Nathaniel is sceptical. Nazareth? How could anything good, or promising, or hopeful come from such an ordinary and insignificant place. But when Philip invites him to ‘come and see’, and he actually meets this Jesus, Nathaniel is lifted out of his narrow ideas and limited frame of reference, his contentment with the familiar – to the possibility of something really extraordinary.
With those words, come and see, Nathaniel is invited on a journey. There was no set itinerary on this journey, no promise of riches or power or influence, but there was a promise that God’s kingdom of peace and joy would come, and that he would be a part of bringing it into being. All he had to do was to be brave and daring and willing to leave safety behind, because Jesus never tells us what following him will look like.
And so, this Epiphany, we too are invited to ‘come and see’ who this Jesus is, and to allow ourselves to be drawn out of our nice safe lives to be his disciples.
In peace, Mother Lynda