Come and See: calling disciples

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

Andrew. Three times Andrew is doing something in John – ‘and each time he is bringing someone to Jesus. First, his brother, Simon (v.40). Then, a boy with five barley loaves and two fish (6:8); and finally, “some Greeks” (12:20-22), which signals the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified. Andrew is never mentioned just by himself. Twice he is called Simon Peter’s brother (1:40; 6:8). We are told that Philip came from the city of Andrew and Simon (1:44). Andrew and Philip go and tell Jesus about the Greeks (12:22). It may be that being named as the first follower of Jesus (in the Fourth Gospel) was the first time that he had ever been first in anything. It seems likely to me that he was always living under the shadow of his more flamboyant brother. It also seems to me that our parishes are full of more behind-the-scenes “Andrews” than flamboyant “Peters” who seem to get all the credit. (“Peter” occurs in 32 verses in John – ‘8 times as many as Andrew.) One doesn’t have to be a “Peter” to be an effective follower and witness to Jesus (Stoffregen) Continue reading

Come and See: Lamb of God

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

In vv.19-34 we have seen John the Baptist bearing his witness (see commentary here). Now we find him sending some of his followers after the Lord. There are accounts of a “call” in the Synoptics (e.g., Mark 1:16–20), but they differ greatly from this. The Fourth Gospel tells of a call to be disciples; the Synoptics of a call to be apostles. John’s theme is not the calling of the apostles into office; it is their call to relationship with Christ. Strictly speaking, there is no “call” in this Gospel (except in the case of Philip, v. 43). Jesus does not call the disciples and John the Baptist does not send his disciples to Jesus; Jesus and his role as the Lamb of God is pointed out – or rather John’s witness. The English leaves a bit of room as to how to understand the disciples’ motivation. Are they curious, intrigued or do they perhaps recognize the Messiah and spontaneously follow. Continue reading

Come and See: context

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – the cycle of readings in which The Gospel according to Mark is the principal source of our Sunday gospels. That being said, our reading is from the Gospel According to John. In fact, regardless of which cycle of readings (A,B, or C), the “Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the Gospel continues to center on the manifestation of the Lord” with a gospel from John (General Introduction to the Lectionary, 105). It is done as a means of transitioning from the theme of “manifestation” highlighted in Epiphany to ordinary time readings – I suspect – because there are some years when the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday following the Sunday celebration of Epiphany (when Epiphany Sundays falls on Jan 7th or 8th). The reading for the 2nd Sunday ensures the theme is continued in the simple verse: “We have Found the Messiah.” Continue reading

New Creations: Lamb of God

Baptism-Jesus29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. 30  He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ 31 I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” 32 John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. 33 I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ 34  Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

After John’s interrogation by priests, Levites and Pharisees, the evangelist tells us, The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ This is but the start of a short, compact testimony by the Baptist witnessing to the One he had just baptized. Continue reading

Lamb of God: calling disciples

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

Andrew. Three times Andrew is doing something in John – ‘and each time he is bringing someone to Jesus. First, his brother, Simon (v.40). Then, a boy with five barley loaves and two fish (6:8); and finally, “some Greeks” (12:20-22), which signals the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified. Andrew is never mentioned just by himself. Twice he is called Simon Peter’s brother (1:40; 6:8). We are told that Philip came from the city of Andrew and Simon (1:44). Andrew and Philip go and tell Jesus about the Greeks (12:22). It may be that being named as the first follower of Jesus (in the Fourth Gospel) was the first time that he had ever been first in anything. It seems likely to me that he was always living under the shadow of his more flamboyant brother. It also seems to me that our parishes are full of more behind-the-scenes “Andrews” than flamboyant “Peters” who seem to get all the credit. (“Peter” occurs in 32 verses in John – ‘8 times as many as Andrew.) One doesn’t have to be a “Peter” to be an effective follower and witness to Jesus (Stoffregen) Continue reading

Lamb of God: come and see

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

In vv.19-34 we have seen John the Baptist bearing his witness (see commentary here). Now we find him sending some of his followers after the Lord. There are accounts of a “call” in the Synoptics (e.g., Mark 1:16–20), but they differ greatly from this. The Fourth Gospel tells of a call to be disciples; the Synoptics of a call to be apostles. John’s theme is not the calling of the apostles into office; it is their call to relationship with Christ. Strictly speaking, there is no “call” in this Gospel (except in the case of Philip, v. 43). Jesus does not call the disciples and John the Baptist does not send his disciples to Jesus; Jesus and his role as the Lamb of God is pointed out – or rather John’s witness. The English leaves a bit of room as to how to understand the disciples’ motivation. Are they curious, intrigued or do they perhaps recognize the Messiah and spontaneously follow. Continue reading

Lamb of God: context

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – the cycle of readings in which The Gospel according to Mark is the principal source of our Sunday gospels. That being said, our reading is from the Gospel According to John. In fact, regardless of which cycle of readings (A,B, or C), the “Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the Gospel continues to center on the manifestation of the Lord” with a gospel from John (General Introduction to the Lectionary, 105). It is done as a means of transitioning from the theme of “manifestation” highlighted in Epiphany to ordinary time readings – I suspect – because there are some years when the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday following the Sunday celebration of Epiphany (when Epiphany Sundays falls on Jan 7th or 8th). The reading for the 2nd Sunday ensures the theme is continued in the simple verse: “We have Found the Messiah.” Continue reading