Wednesday after the First Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. John 1:43-51 (NKJV)
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and 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.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
We can see several connections from the calling of the apostles. First, as we learned yesterday, the first were disciples of St. John the Baptist, and he was a relative of our Lord Jesus. Second, the next apostles were the brothers of Sts. Andrew and John—Sts. Peter and James. Third, we learn today that the next apostle, St. Philip, knew Sts. Andrew and Peter, being from the same city of Bethsaida. Fourth, St. Philip knew St. Nathanael.
But it is more than their connections that make the calling of the apostles a grand thing. It is in faith that they behold “Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote,” that is, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. They are made to see that He is the Anointed One, the Messiah come into the world to redeem mankind, and give forgiveness, life and salvation to all those who believe. These apostles would proclaim this message to the entire world.
As we saw yesterday, they already begin to preach the Lord Jesus as the Christ. St. Andrew preached Him to St. Peter, and in today’s devotion, St. Philip preached Him to St. Nathanael who was sitting under a fig tree. This is significant because fig leaves were the first clothes that Adam and Eve wore when they first sinned and revealed their shame.
St. Nathanael was under sin, but our Lord comes to Him and opens His eyes through His preaching to reveal to him that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, come to redeem His people. So too, we who are under sin are redeemed by the Lord and brought into the Church through the preaching and ministering of those called by our Lord.