It’s Personal | John 1.40-42
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). John 1:40-42 | ESV
Manly (“Andrew”) was one of the two who had heard John and had set out after Jesus; and this Manly/Andrew was the brother of Listen! (“Simon”). And the first thing this Andrew does is find his own brother Simon, and he says to Listen!, “Listen! Eureka! We have found him, the Messiah (Jewish way of saying “Christ” aka Chosen One aka Anointed-Promised-Leader-Sent-From-God-To-Rescue-His-People-One). And Simon was speechless. Andrew brought him to Jesus. And Jesus studied a wary Simon for a moment like a buyer inspecting fruit in a produce market. And then he made his pronouncement: “You are the Listener, Simon, son of John (“Grace”) but you will be called Kefa (which is the Aramaic way of saying “Rock” aka Greek “Petros” aka Peter). MAV (Mike’s Authorized Version)
Jesus didn’t seek converts. He made friends. Huge difference. Back up to the exchange we witnessed yesterday. When he becomes aware that two men are following him from a distance, he stops and looks at them – and it’s no mere passing glance. It’s the kind of looking we do at a theater during a movie. We take it all in. He beheld them. Jesus sees people. And then he gave them the dignity of asking what they wanted. Isn’t it interesting that they didn’t want something from him, but him? “Where are you staying?” Culturally, this was a way of saying, “You are a Rabbi and we wish to be your students.” Following a rabbi in that culture (becoming his talmid aka disciple) wasn’t a Sunday morning commitment or even a M-W-F class commitment. It was committing to following him wherever he was going, learning him much more than learning things from him. Teachers in our culture tend to be more like fact holders and the students information receptacles. But following a rabbi was quite personal. And so Simon is brought to Jesus, and, as you can see in the illustrious MAV rendering, Jesus sees Simon the way airport security examines a piece of luggage. He sees him, sees into him, sees through him. And then he renames him – which may seem a bit startling to us, though with our penchant for nicknames, it probably shouldn’t. It’s just that nicknames are usually given after you’ve known someone for a while and had a chance to see their personality at work. But as John will soon observe, “Jesus knew what was in man.” He took the time to see. Jesus was remarkably up close and personal. He still is.
How often do you really see people as opposed to glossing over their faces? What would you say is the greatest hindrance to really seeing others? How can we improve our vision?
Lord, burst the isolating, enclosed bubble I can so often wrap around myself so I can really see others – the person standing before me, driving in front of me. Help me to see. Deliver me from the impersonal ruts of our culture. Through Christ.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.