Sermons 2009
Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany 2B 2009                                              John 1:43-51

 “It’s right in front of your eyes!”  “I couldn’t see something if it were right under my nose!”  “It was hidden in plain sight.”

 How many of us have gone to the refrigerator and opened the door to look for something?  “Where is the mustard or the ham or the cheese or the whatever?”  Only to have our spouse walk up and point to whatever it is at eye level right in front of everything else on the shelf.”  “It’s right in front of your eyes.”

 Or how many of us have wandered the aisles of TriStar or WalMart or Ace Hardware or True Value looking for something.  Then giving up on our own devices and logic were forced to ask for help – only to find that it was right under your nose all the time.

 Or have read stories about people who wished to c0onceal and protect something from the thieves who might break in and steal.  The rare coins mixed within a mayonnaise jar full or ordinary pocket change.  The large karat gem stones and diamonds hidden in a fish bowl among the brightly colored glass marbles on the bottom.  And there is the recent case of a Louisiana congressman who hid large amounts of bribe and payoff money in freezer bags in his freezer – but they were found out, alas for him.  But all these strategems were intended to hide something valuable within plain sight.

 We call Matthew, Mark, and Luke  the synoptic gospels because they each represent a synopsis of the life and ministry of Jesus.  Each varies somewhat according to its purpose and sources.  All three were written earlier than the Gospel according to Saint John, which was likely completed around the end of the first Century A.D.  But in all three synoptic gospels we find significant examples of something right in front of their eyes, right under their noses, hidden in plain sight.

 For example the synoptics would have us believe, despite their closely congruent parallels about Jesus’ baptism and  the many miracles of healing and feeding, that it wasn’t until the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain top that any of his disciples began to have a clue as to who and what Jesus was.  Even then it was only Saint Peter who had a glimmering of the truth and he didn’t get it entirely right at all

 Part of what is happening with the synoptic gospels is the very human struggle of the Early Church to come to grips with what was in front of their eyes, right under their noses, hidden in plain sight.  As the disciples at the stilling of the storm asked in Mark:  ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’; Matthew:  ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’; and Luke:  ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’  That is, who is this Jesus really?

 But by the time John’s gospel was written, that question at least seemed to be settled.  John opens the Fourth Gospel with the great theological hymn:    ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

 And in our Gospel reading for today Philip seems to know who Jesus is from the moment Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”  And he tries to explain to Nathanael what he, Philip, now knows about this Jesus.  Of course all human attempts to explain who Jesus is are very difficult.  After all, how can we really know who God is – we can only yearn for that which is holy knowing that we will not know in our lifetimes what it really is.  But the yearning, the journey, the pilgrimage toward that which is holy is the important thing

 Now Nathanael has initial doubts about Jesus: ”Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  But once in the presence of Jesus, God in Christ, Nathanael’s transformation occurs instantly, however imperfect and incomplete it is:  “…you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”

 Philip and Nathanael may well represent what the Fourth Evangelist wants to tell us about the state of the Church at the end of the First Century.  Philip represents those who were already in the church, those who were already believers and were spreading the word about Jesus Christ.  By this time the Romans had destroyed the Temple and begun the first stages of driving many of the Jews away from Palestine. 

 Christians no longer considered themselves to be a sect within Judaism (although the Romans seem to have thought they were).  Christian focus was now on spreading the word throughout the pagan Greco-Roman world.   And in this time before the Roman persecutions began in earnest, Christians were beginning to have great success as they became organized and sent out missionaries to evangelize all their known world.

  No longer hidden in plain sight, the Good News spread like wild fire.