Sermon: January 18, 2009

19 01 2009

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 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.”

 

                                                John 1:43-51

 

 

            You know, I don’t think that I have to tell you what a sports fan I am.  I love my Buckeyes.  I love my Browns.  I love my Indians.  I love my Cavs.  But, you know, what has always amazed me is how each of those teams has their rivalries.  How each of those teams have those about whom they can say nothing good.  For the Buckeyes it is, of course, Michigan.  (How do you get a Michigan Grad off your front porch?  PAY HIM FOR THE PIZZA!)  For the Browns it is Pittsburgh.  For the Indians it is the Yankees.  For the Cavs it is Detroit.

            Well, in a sense that is what you see in the Gospel Lesson for this morning.  Phillip comes to meet and know Jesus.  In fact, he becomes convinced, after spending some time with this Jesus, that this Jesus is in fact the Messiah.  He is the one who has been promised by God who would come to save His people from their sins.  He is the Christ – the anointed one of God.  In fact, he is so impressed with this Jesus that he wants to share this Good News with his brother.  He wants his brother to come to know this Jesus as he has come to know him.  And what is Nathanael’s response to Philip – when he learns that this Jesus is from Nazareth.  Nazareth a know nothing – good for nothing – hick town in Galilee.  “Can anything good come out of Nazareth.”  Philip’s response:  “Come and see.”

            Now, you know, as I thought about this story there was a couple of directions that I thought I might go.  The first thing that I thought about was – Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Nathanael was making a judgment about Jesus based upon where He was from – Nazareth.  Before he had even met Jesus.  Before he had even heard one word from his mouth.  He passed judgment on this Jesus.  After he met Him.  Wow!  Was he impressed.  This guy was something.  Which prompted Jesus to say when Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him,

 

“Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.

 

 

You were impressed by the fact that I knew you were sitting under a fig tree.  Man, if that impressed you – then what will you do when see the angels coming.  Moral:  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  And then I thought about what I could do with that.

            But that’s not what kept jumping out at me.  It was Philip.  Philip and what he did with the good news.  What did he do?  He went and talked to his brother.  He went and told Nathanael.  He thought of someone who was right next to himself.

            You know, sometimes I think that we think that we have to do the grand thing for it to be important.  Do you want to have an impact on your world?  You have to do something grand.  Do you want to share your faith – preach the gospel?  Well you need to sell everything.  Pack up everything.  Move to New Guinea and be a missionary.  Nothing against moving to New Guinea and being a missionary if that is what God is calling you to do.  But what about sharing your faith with your brother.  That’s what Philip did.  You don’t have to go to New Guinea to find someone who doesn’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Look right around you.  What about that person who sits across from you at every Thanksgiving Dinner? What about that person who works next to you?  What about that person you meet at every PTA Meeting?  What about that person you play Bridge with?  Tell them your story.  Share your faith.  Bring them to meet Jesus.

            Do you want to do something special?  Do you want to change the world?  Do you want to change lives?  Well, you have to move to Mexico and help with a food kitchen or with building homes for the homeless.  Again, nothing wrong with moving to Mexico, and if that is what God has called you do – go in peace and serve the Lord.  But what about right around you?  How about helping out with organizing toys at People to People Ministry?  How about helping with Wayne-Holmes Habitat for Humanity?  How about volunteering at Wooster Schools to help children who are struggling with reading or with math?  What about helping serve the food or giving out the bags of groceries at DZ@6. 

            The thing that Philip teaches us is that when it comes to sharing Jesus – to touching lives – that there are people right in your sight – right before you eyes.  Touch those who are near and dear.  Touch those who you see every day as you make you way through town – back and forth to work.  God has placed these people in your sight so that you can touch them.  Stop and think about.  Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do?  Is there a place that you’ve always said that later you would volunteer at?  Well, now is your moment.  Now is your time.  Don’t miss the opportunity.  It may not come around again.

 

Amen!

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