A Call to Relationship
In the readings assigned for this Sunday there is a theme of being called. Both the readings from Isaiah and from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians begin with words about being called, and the section of John’s gospel is usually called “The Call of the First Disciples.”
Today we often perceive being called in terms of being called to an ordained ministry or to a special form of service, such as becoming a nun or a monk. But Jesus’ calling of the first two disciples provides us with a more primary ground to understand the meaning of being called by God.
When Jesus walked by John the Baptist said to his disciples, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” As two of John’s disciples followed Jesus in the hopes of learning more about him, Jesus called them to come and see. So they followed Jesus’ calling and remained with him that day. Because they came, saw, and stayed with Jesus, they, as Andrew said to Peter, could proclaim: “We have found the Messiah.”
Jesus did not call them to do a particular ministry, but to come and see first. When they came to Jesus and stayed with him, they had to see he was among all people, the rich and the poor, the noble and the humble, the powerful and the marginalized. They would see that he afflicted those who lived in comfort: Nicodemus, the rich young man, Pharisees, etc. and comforted the afflicted: the blind, the lame, the widows, etc. Jesus called them to come and see, so they could know he was the Messiah and have a relationship with him.
Jesus called these two disciples to have a relationship with him first, he called them to be his disciples. In this aspect, Jesus calls us to have a relationship with him and to be his disciples just as he called these first two disciples. Jesus calls us and all others to come and see, no matter who we/they are, where we/they come from, what we/they have been through. Jesus wants people come and see what he did as recorded in the Bible and what he is doing in the works of the church, of his followers and disciples.
We are in Epiphany now. An epiphany can only happen when God’s works take place and are received with an inspiration. We cannot control the receiving end, but we do have responsibility to do what God wants us to do. We are responsible for what people will see when they come to us, the body of Christ. God’s work will always, in one form or another, find expression in ministry. Our ministry should be a manifestation in which people can come and see Jesus. God takes no pleasure in sacrifice and offering, (Psalm 40:7) but “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” says Jesus.
Jesus calls us come and see, calls us to have a relationship with him, so that we can serve him as our Lord, serve all people and make them come and see Jesus as the first disciples did when they heard his calling.