Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jn 1:43-2:12

Have you noticed the connected story from Jn 1:19 all the way through 2:12, the way it is connected with days-between markers? "The next day" (1:29; 1:35: 1:43), and finally,  2:1, "on the third day"?  The earliest days of Jesus's ministry, coming complete with a pericope from prior family life and travels in Jn 2:1,12.

These early days of discipleship confirm an informal model of entry to discipleship to the Lord.  In John, there is that time of convincing and being convinced that way may or not miss in the other three gospels.  Yes, Peter had a brother Andrew who talked to him as you would talk normally about any discovery, about finding the Messiah.  The implied "follow me" of (1:39) is merely Jesus' invitation to Andrew to come see where Jesus is staying.  The next day Philip is found by Jesus (1:45), and Jesus says to him "follow Me"; however, Philip  instead goes and talks to his brother Nathanael first, and brings Nathanael with him.

In both cases the second of the two sets of brothers are addressed individually by Jesus Himself, who says things that solidify the whole thing, the whole issue, for them.  The first, we only get one side of, Jesus telling Simon "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (1:44).  In the second case, we see how deeply what Jesus says (1:47) reaches Nathanael.  The easiest explanation is that Jesus tells Nathanael something about his prior whereabouts or thoughts or characteristic routines that only God could have revealed to him.  And Jesus, again speaking engagingly and informally, has something very important to say about Nathanael: "because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?  You will see greater things than these ... Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

If this phraseology seems totally strange, you hadn't seen a parallel with 1:32-33;  the Holy Spirit descending out of heaven and remaining upon Christ: John saw that.  Jesus predicts Nathanael will see the angels descending and ascending upon him, "the Son of Man."

Many leaders, at the outset of their ministries, promise their followers dazzling things, but no leader promised that!

In the ensuing chapter, the turning of water to wine brings together the Lord's family life and the informal discipleship that had just begun days earlier.  Much has been written about the Lord's relationship to his mother in this event.  We can see that Mary is used to directing Jesus, as any mother is, and, at the same time, leaving things to Him to do as He wishes (2:5).  The last verse in our section expresses the pivoting transition point perfectly.

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