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Lent reflection Cover Image

The Son of Man, John 1:35-51

11th Mar 2019

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  (NRSV)

These days we don’t tend to see people in the street, drop everything and follow them. Quite rightly as it might not be safe to do so, but we can rise above all the murky political correctness and look again at the people who walk past us. 
Perhaps we could see the Lamb of God still on his travels and want to follow him.

I have known wonderful attractive people I just wanted to follow. Further, I would dearly love to think that I was one of those people, somehow fully alive to God, and then other people would want to follow me!

Sometimes I find myself in the queue of half dead, tired people buying cider, nappies and fags at 8am in the local store and I want to scream. Not in judgement but in despair. Sometimes I talk to them but they daren’t speak back in case I’m `one of them`. 

Once or twice people catch the light in my eye and I see it in theirs, and we just know we are saved/enlightened/new/alive – choose your own metaphor.

This light that creates the world still travels through the world, does it not? So why live in darkness?  Maybe if we open our own eyes in love and compassion and let the Spirit shine out people would catch on.

I lived in darkness until my 40s when mysteriously my inner eyes opened seemingly all on their own. I woke to a new world as if the lights were turned up and everything looked so different.

“Rise shine your light has come, the glory of the Lord had risen upon you” says the old Graham Kendrick song. I still had chronic anxiety and was not, still not healed of my many issues, but oh God did I see something new!

So I reckon that the disciples were not so much called, as fascinated. They saw this light in Jesus’ eye and just had to follow him. And he saw the same thing in their eyes, and promised them even greater things. I contend that was always his message – small life or more life – you choose.

When we sit in the fire and light of another saint we also sit in the presence of God. You go and choose your own saints but be careful: the folk in the local shop are so perilously close. Maybe your light could make all the difference?

We all know that there is a greater, brighter and deeper presence, and we can indeed find it in people’s faces in the street if we dare look properly. Roll on the day when we see it in all faces, and all hearts light up as we discover each other.

Martin Barrett, St John's staff