Epiphany 2, 2023

I have been teaching a Bible study on the Gospel according to John and finding him once more to be mind-boggling in the depth. Sometimes as I find new things he has said, I wonder how I could have been so blind in my prior readings. But, I will probably find the same to be true the next time I return to this text.

We hear this week of Jesus collecting his first disciples. This is a sign of Jesus nature. He is God and draws men and women to Himself. There is a strange, magnetic attraction which He has, a power over people, but not a coercion, but the ability to draw them to himself. Mark well the question which He asks of these first disciples to follow Him: What are you looking for? They want only to know where He abides. Is this not the very nature of all discipleship. Have you not also marveled at the service of some old stalwart Christian? He or she gives and gives and serves some more. Where does that come from? There surely is not some return on investment calculus at work here. There is no sense of duty or even gratitude. Such explanations are insufficient. There is something more at work here. Jesus has called them and He has drawn them to Himself. Their life of service and love cannot be understood in any other way, not meaningfully.

What are you looking for? That question haunted St. Augustine long ago and it continues to be the question of preachers today. First we ask it of ourselves and then we ask it of our hearers. Your answer will be your idol or it will be Him.

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