Bread – Calling

January 15, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, January 15, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Gen. 4:1-16; Heb. 2:11-18; John 1:35-42; Psalms 12,13,14,119:1-24

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? We ask this question because it is, to the scientific mind, a conundrum, a puzzlement, because one must exist before the other if the other is to exist at all.

Unless, of course, God created the chicken and the egg, in which case the only point of beginning is God. A simple but profound answer.

So, do we choose to follow Christ or does Christ choose us to follow Him?

Lest you think this is a stupid question, the answer to this question divides modern Christians because, if we choose to follow Christ, we have a say in the outcome. If, however, Christ chooses us to follow Him, then the only person who has a say is Christ.

This question is on full display in today’s readings from John. The set-up is this, Jesus walks past John the Baptist, John the Baptist says (of Jesus) “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Two disciples of John the Baptist get up and start following Jesus. Jesus turns and asks them what (not who) they are seeking. They don’t respond, but instead ask Him where He is staying. Jesus says “Come and you will see,” and they then follow Him to where He is living at the time. Andrew, one of the two disciples, then leaves Jesus’ side and goes to his brother (later named Peter/Cephas by Jesus), tells his brother that he has found the Messiah, and then brought his brother (Peter) to Jesus. Jn. 1:35-42

Did the disciples follow Jesus because they chose to after hearing John the Baptist speak well of Him, or did the disciples follow Jesus because Jesus deliberately walked past them so that they could see who He is, and their following Jesus was a natural outgrowth of Jesus calling them to be His disciples?

The next question is even more interesting. Did Peter come to follow Jesus because he chose to do so, after hearing Andrew preach the gospel, or was Peter already chosen by Christ? This second option is strongly implied by the end of the passage – “Jesus looked at him, and said ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)’” Jn. 1:42. There was no introduction; Peter appeared before Jesus and Jesus knew exactly who He was and who He would become.

From many, many Bible verses, I conclude that the answer to this question is that I am saved because Jesus chose me to be saved and not because of anything that I ever did or ever will do to earn it. I am saved because God is sovereign and not me. I did not choose Jesus; He chose me, and I finally admitted it one day so that it became obvious to the world. However, I know many, many people who think differently.

It is not my objective here to solve this, but to merely point out all the different ways we hear the calling. The two disciples saw Jesus. The two disciples heard John the Baptist, clearly a holy man, call Jesus the equivalent of the Messiah (the Lamb of God). Peter heard the gospel from a family member and spoke to Jesus directly.

One thing is in common with all of these people. They saw what they saw and heard what they heard, and immediately they responded by following Jesus, by coming into His presence.

How often have we heard the gospel and ignored it for another day? How often have we seen Jesus in other people, and walked away? How often have we been woken up in the middle of the night with the knowledge that God is speaking to us about our future, about our sin, about our impending death, about His love for us, about His death on the cross for us, about His forgiveness and mercy, and about His gifts of everlasting life in the future and victorious life in the present – only to go back to sleep?

You have heard a calling upon your life, to follow Him.

What do you do next?

___________________

© 2014 GBF

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