The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John 1:43-51
Sometimes we forget that movements have histories. People did not wake up one day and magically begin worshiping Jesus Christ. This happened as a process. As Orthodox Christians we believe that God set this process in motion long before the foundation of the universe.
Before Adam and Eve even fell, God had already set His plan to save us in motion. His plan continued to unfold in the lives of the Jewish people, those who descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and who kept the belief in the One Living God. His plan was fulfilled in His only begotten Son Jesus.
People who know very little about Christianity believe that one day long ago people just decided to believe in Jesus Christ without any particularly good reason to do so. The truth is that the Jewish people, the people who had faith in the one God of Israel, had always been promised a redeemer, a savior, a Messiah. Moses and the other prophets foretold the coming of this great One for hundreds of years. The people were waiting for Him all along.
We see in today’s gospel that the Lord decided to travel to Galilee and when He passed Philip He said to him “follow Me.” Philip was so excited and moved by the invitation of Jesus that he ran to find his brother Nathanael. When Philip found him, he said to him “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Every moment in the life of a Jew there was the anticipation of the Messiah. Even to this day those who reject Jesus of Nazareth are still looking everywhere for a Jewish King.
Philip became one of the first disciples of Christ. He took his enthusiasm with him when he saw Nathanael. As Nathanael asked questions of Philip he responded with three powerful words “come and see.”
This reading is given to us today at the beginning of Lent as a reminder that every person is invited to come and see. It’s not enough to simply assume that we know anything about God. God is not known in theory, He is known in reality through His Son. Is anyone here as passionate about knowing Jesus Christ as Philip was? Is anyone passionate about being part of the original unbroken Church founded by Jesus and His disciples?
Philip proved his passion by challenging others to come and see. His challenge is given to each and every one of us….come and see.
Through our whole life God is always inviting us to take some time to get to know Him. Great Lent is a really great time to get to work on this relationship. One way to know Christ is through the gospels. Today I want to challenge everyone here to read all the way through one gospel during this Lent. Take your pick of any of the four gospels. Spend time as a family and read a chapter every night. Come to Jesus and hear His words every day during the fast. Let Him come alive in your homes. Leave your ipads and computers and distractions. They will still be there after you take 10 minutes of your day and dedicate them as a family, to God. Perhaps these ten minutes will become the most important minutes of your day. Perhaps you will be so moved by those ten minutes that you even become like Philip, inviting others to come and see. Perhaps God will use you to continue and spread His message to the world.
He is our hope, our strength, our salvation, don’t run away from Him. Don’t use Lent as another excuse to be busy and distracted. Lets commit to this challenge and follow Him all the way to the finish line. Glory be to God AMEN.