Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Disciples, Not Teachers
When David Livingstone was in Africa, a mission society wrote saying they had some good persons to send to help him. They asked if there was a good road to the famous missionary’s current location. He wrote back, “If you have people who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want people who will come even if there is no road.”
Did Philip or Nathanael realize the path Jesus was calling them to travel at this first meeting? Chances are they were stunned at Jesus’ comments about Nathanael, especially since Nathanael had just insulted Jesus with his, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” The Gospel says Jesus told them what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree prior to Philip’s arrival, so it’s possible Nathanael might have wondered if Jesus caught the rest of the conversation.
Despite all this, Jesus still invited them, because he seemed to understand they would make good disciples. And after all, it is not as if the rest of the disciples were as pure as freshly fallen snow.
I wonder if we remember that fact. When Jesus calls us to follow, it is not because we are the purest in heart or sinless in our lives. Even the best of us sometimes are not the best we could be. Jesus does not call us to be him, but to be disciples. A disciple learns from the teacher, tries to live like the teacher, but can never be the same as the teacher. A disciple does place a great deal of trust in the teacher, knowing the teacher will place them on the right path.
“Come and see,” Jesus tells us. Trust me. Follow me. We will make our own road.
David Sobek, pastor, Our Savior’s Moravian Church, Altura, Minnesota