Making the Rounds | John 1.43-46
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:43-46 | ESV
On the next day (day four, if you’re counting), Jesus decides it’s time to go out into Galilee (the “Rounds” – the ultimate rabbi disciple hunting grounds in that culture) and as he begins making his rounds, he finds Philip (“Horse lover”) Jesus has two simple words for him: “Follow me.” This “horse lover” was from a Galilean fishing village called Bethsaida (“Fishtown”) – home also to Andrew and Peter. And Philip doesn’t horse around – he goes right out and finds his friend Nathanael (“God’s gift”) and he pitches Jesus: “You know the One Moses wrote about in the Law – and all the prophets too! We’ve found him! He’s Jesus (“Salvation”) son of Joseph (“Adds up”) from Nazareth (“the Sticks”). Nathanael shot back, “Sticktown! I’m no stranger to those streets – what good can come from there?!” Philip repeats his rabbi’s frequent invite: “Come and see.” MAV
According to Ray Vander Laan, scholar and tour guide to the Holy Land, Galilee (“The Rounds” “The Circuit”) was where the concept of the rabbi/disciple relationship was born. If the South in this country is the Bible Belt, Galilee was the Disciple Belt. Many things seemed to be making the rounds in Galilee – everything from outlaw gangs to political insurgents to religious enthusiasts. And Jesus jumped right into the flow of it all. In contrast to the other Gospel accounts where the focus is on Jesus’ Galilean circuit (circus! you know it felt like one), John’s Gospel will actually be focusing primarily on Jesus’ activity in the south in Jerusalem and Judea. But John starts off with them, showing Jesus headed off to make his rounds in Galilee that would ultimately involve a circle, more a triangle, really, of three towns: Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin; two on the lake, one inland. No, Jesus didn’t really make an epic journey, a great pilgrimage. He essentially walked in circles, with Capernaum with a frequent rest stop. If you think about it, walking in circles is pretty much what we all do – home to work, to home, to work, to home, to work, etc. The question is, what do we see and do as we traverse that circle again today. And then again tomorrow. As Peter summed it up years later this is what Jesus did in his many circuits: “Jesus of Nazareth, anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” This was his life in the rounds of Galilee – and he invites us to share it in the midst of our own rounds wherever we are. It’s a circuit in which we both find and are found. John and Andrew find Jesus – and find out where he’s staying; Andrew finds Peter; Jesus finds horse-loving Philip; Philip finds Nathanael who finds that he has already been found. The question is, what are we finding as we make our rounds today – and are our eyes open so we can see it?
So, just what are you finding as you make the rounds of your life these days? How attuned do you feel to the opportunities opening up around you to see and know others?
Lord, help me to make the most of my “rounds” today. Anoint me with the Holy Spirit so I can see what do to, where to be, whom to bless, and anoint me with power to actually follow through with what I see. Through Jesus.
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.