Summary: We need to take hold of Jesus and never let go.
First Baptist Church
September 15, 2002
Have you ever misplaced something that you really wanted? Maybe you’re working with some tools and you lay one down and for the life of you, you don’t know where it is. Or you walk into a room to get something and you stop . . . because you have absolutely no idea what you wanted. Maybe you’re the kind who, when interrupted in a sentence, you can’t remember what you were talking about. The worst part of that is when the listener can’t remember, either. There have been times when Debbie has asked me to get something for her in the basement and by the time I’m halfway down the stairs, I have to yell up and ask what she wanted. I’ve gone to the grocery store to pick up 3 items, knowing that I can’t forget them, so I don’t write them down, and of course I come home with 4 items, forgetting the 1 of the 2 items.
So, what does finding something have to do with our gospel story? It has everything to do with it. Other than maybe feeling a little silly or foolish about forgetting something, generally we’re overjoyed when we remember what we thought we forgot. In some ways we could say that old English word, "EUREKA!! EUREKA!!" And that does not mean it’s time to vacuum. The word "EUREKA" actually comes from the Greek word which was introduced by Archimedes which means "I found it."
According to the dictionary, when we say eureka, it expresses triumph upon finding or discovering something. It means excitedly shouting, "I found it!" When you remember what you forgot, you excitedly say, "Oh, now I remember!" You don’t say, (monotone) "gee, now I remember." This happened just the other day to Zachary. We couldn’t find his juice sippee cup. We looked everywhere, and I mean everywhere for 5 days. On Thursday night we were coming to church for a meeting and Zachary went into the gym in front of the house. And lo and behold, here he comes running and shouting, "I found it! I found it!" That’s what eureka means.
That same word "EUREKA" is used 3 times in our passage — when Jesus found Philip; when Philip found Nathaniel. And when Philip says to Nathaniel, "We have found Him. . . Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth."
As I mentioned last week, for the next few weeks, I want us to begin looking at the desires of our soul. I want each of us to look deep into our heart and soul and begin to consider what is it that we long for. What more than anything would satisfy that empty spot in your soul? Let me emphasize, it will never be money, health, good grades, a better job, a new home or anything external. Because deep down, you and I know that nothing external will ever really satisfy our soul.
As we look at this passage from John, what can we learn from this interaction between Jesus, Phillip and Nathaniel?
First, notice what Phillip does after Jesus called him. He goes to his friend Nathaniel and tells him, not in a monotone voice, but in an excited voice because that’s what EUREKA means, "We found the One that Moses wrote about, His name is Jesus of Nazareth."
How exciting it must have been for Phillip to tell his friend Nathaniel. Phillip had been selected by Jesus to be one of His disciples. Jesus simply said to Phillip, "Follow me." And Phillip got up from whatever he was doing and followed Jesus.
I’ve always been struck at those disciples who, when Jesus told them "Follow me," simply got up, left whatever they were doing and began to follow Jesus. As I consider what we long for in our souls, I wonder how many of us have simply turned Jesus down when He says "Follow me." Oh, don’t get me wrong, you believe in Jesus, you really do, but one of 2 things has happened. 1st, you’ve experienced so much pain in your life, that you’ve given up on the healing power of Jesus. You just can’t fathom that God really, really loves you and cares for you. Yet, you’re here and that is the good news. Because it means you still have a glimmer of hope.
Or 2nd, and in thesame vain as the first one, you don’t believe Jesus has all the power He says He does. Nor do you believe all that the Bible says about Jesus. You’ve come to sense that healing only took place in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Samaria 2,000 years ago. We’ve become bitter, cynical, disillusioned, skeptical, suspicious and unbelieving. Do you fall into any of those categories? Sometimes it’s not hard to be duped by satan and to become rebellious, bitter and angry.