Friday, March 3, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 3 Friday

Today's Reading: John 1:35-51 (NRSV)

This particular passage plants in our heads the image of Jesus as the wise, mystic teacher.  As John's presentation unfolds, we see the disciples are called in a way that seems to show that Jesus knows them better than they know themselves.

There is something archetypal about the wise sage willing to put up with the ignorance of the young disciple in order to train him or her so that they will mature.

Nathanael's response to Philip, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" gives the gospel's author the tool to address what others would be wondering.  Nazareth was the sticks.  Think of your most prejudiced image of a rural area of the country in which you live and you'll then understand what people would have thought about Nazareth.

"Come and see" is Philip's answer to this question.  It is an invitation to see for yourself.

Jesus has already used this phrase earlier in the passage in response to a disciple's inquiry.

This is our invitation to follow Christ as well.  We are to "come and see" what Jesus may have in store for us.

The gate of heaven also seems mystical and inspiring.
How does following Jesus put us in this state?
This final verse recalls for the reader the Jewish patriarch Jacob who had a dream of angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven (Genesis 28:10-17). Except that in John, Jesus takes the place of the ladder. This is our clue that Jesus is the "gate of heaven" which will be proclaimed later in the story.

During Lent, we are trying to examine ourselves so that we might let the light of Christ shine into those places we've tried to keep hidden.  Today's reading reminds us that God already sees us better than we see ourselves.  This is daunting but also gives us hope.

Prayer for the day:

O God of beginnings, as your Spirit moved over the face of the deep on the first day of creation, move with me now in my time of beginnings, when the air is rain-washed, the bloom is on the bush, and the world seems fresh and full of possibilities, and I feel ready and full.

I tremble on the edge of a maybe, a first time, a new thing, a tentative start, and the wonder of it lays its finger on my lips.

In silence, Lord, I share now my eagerness and my uneasiness about this something different I would be or do; and I listen for your leading to help me separate the light from the darkness in the change I seek to shape and which is shaping me.  Amen.

Prayer by Reverend Ted Loder from his book, Guerrillas of Grace, (c) 2005 Fortress Press, Inc.

Photo by Kiks Balayon via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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