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Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany The call of Philip and Nathanael

2 Sunday after the Ephipany

I Samuel 3:1-10, John 1:43-51

"Pass it On"

43 The next day Jesus decided 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 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”

48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.”

51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

A pastor tells of visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia when it was in the foyer of Independence Hall. People leaned over to touch the bell. In came a bus load of children, evidently a bit behind schedule for their leader let most of them go up to touch the bell before hurrying them back to the bus. Not all got to touch it.

One little black boy came running back, touched the bell and ran back to the group of stragglers who hadn’t got to touch the ancient symbol of freedom.

He slapped the hand of one in the group, and said, "Pass it on."

And that reminds me of a song we sang in Luther League many years ago.

It is entitled "Pass It On"

Chorus

It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love,

Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone;

You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding;

The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.

That’s how it is with God’s love;

Once you’ve experienced it, you want to sing

"It’s fresh like spring"; you want to pass it on.

Chorus

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found.

You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound.

I’ll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD

I want the world to know; the Lord of love has come to me,

I want to pass it on.

Chorus

Our gospel lesson and the Old Testament lesson also speak about different men, Samuel, Philip, and Nathanael who were called by God, and then fulfilled God’s plan for their lives. I want to look at these three men and they fulfilled the words of the song

Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone;

You want to pass it on.

Samuel heard someone calling him and thought it was Eli all the time. But with Eli’s help he finally figured out who it was, it was God.

Samuel learned it was not Eli who was calling him, but God. God had called Samuel 3 times and each time Samuel thought it was Eli. Finally, Eli discovered and understood that God was calling Samuel and gave him some instructions to discover the purpose of God’s call.

Philip was discovered by Jesus and called him to follow. And then Philip found Nathanael and told him about Jesus, and called him to come and see. And before Nathanael could do anything, Jesus called to him with information about him, where he was, what kind of person he was.

Notice, the initial calling comes from God. God discovers us as we are, where we are and calls us to serve him. God acts first, then we respond. For most of us the calling from God begins at baptism. It is in that event of Baptism where God first encountered you. The beginning of the process began there. And that beginning is important. The first step of any undertaking is an important step. Having a relationship established with God is a very important part of this process. And it is God who begins that process, God comes to you, God discovers you as a baby, who doesn’t know anything about God, but that’s all right because it is God who acts.

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