Inevitably, much of my study for sermons is left out because the point of preaching is not mere information download, but a point of transformation. I hope to write consistently on those things I have to leave out for the sake of time and out of love for my hearers. Perhaps if you find you have more time to consider what is said on Sunday and to apply God’s Word to your life, these posts will aid in some way.
Here’s the message from Sunday:
This phrase was what God Ashley and me through a very dark time in our lives. We weren’t struggling maritally as much as we were left reeling from some very bad decisions people made for us. It was really easy to think we were drifting in darkness and needed to figure things out for ourselves.
Observe the Why.
We’re not given the reason why Jesus decided to go into Galilee. At least not explicitly. We see in the verse, though, he had intention to going into Galilee. He went to find Philip. The calling of Philip is not built up as much as the Andrew and Peter. And it’s definitely not built up as much as the calling of Nathanael. It’s almost as if Jesus makes a bee-line to Galilee just to say these two words to Philip. There is no deliberation or looking around. Philip just obeys.
The “Behold!” is for You
But then, he invites us in this text to see as he sees. V.48: Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” I beheld you. And as the readers of this text, we are invited to see. Do you see it? V. 47: “Behold, an Israelite…” We are told to look at this true Israelite who is coming into the fold. We are told that “Behold! I am at work in the everyday.” When Jesus says, “Behold.” It is not merely exclamatory for his hearers but us the readers of the text.
A True Jacobite
It ought not get lost on us that Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel” after wrestling with the angel of God. Such wrestling would characterize God’s people for the remainder of their sojourn in the Promised Land>Exile>Return>Spiritual Exile. And so it continues to characterize all those who are truly Abraham’s children–wrestling and being injured by God. It is the case for all true seekers that we must be wounded in order to be made whole.
And so when Jesus behold Nathanael and declares him a true Israelite, it is a call to all of us to be seekers and to seek God in the everyday stuff of life. The majority of our lives are lived in the plains and the plain of life. It is here in our sojourn that we must strain to see God’s mighty acts.
What about you? What stands out most to you in this passage and about our need to see God in the everyday stuff of life?