Updated: Jan 31
In this season of Epiphany, we now see Jesus as the anointed one, the Messiah, with the dove of heaven upon him. Two disciples of John the Baptist have heard that Jesus is the Lamb of God.
Those two ask Jesus, “Where are you staying?”
It can be assumed, from the Wilderness perspective, in which John the Baptist stayed and spent his time, when not dunking Jews in the waters of the Jordan River near Jericho, they knew Jesus was going home after his baptism. The two disciples wanted to know where Jesus was headed.
“Where do you live, brother Jesus?” they asked.
The Greek word written is “meno.” That word translates to mean, “To remain, abide,” as reference to a place, but also, “to sojourn,” in reference to a destination.
Still, in a in context to time, the question posed can be understood as asking, “Jesus, will you last?”
In reference to a state or condition, it posed the question, “Are you the awaited one? Can we trust there will not be another like you?”
Jesus answered that question by saying, “erchomai kai horao,” which translates as, “you should come and you should see.” Still, as a more profound statement, where the “and” connects two responses, Jesus says to them:
“You should find the answer to your question …
you should experience that answer.”
Such a response is not flippant, or the disciples would have never followed Jesus. The world “should” is stating the condition of obligation and duty. After all, they were disciples of John the Baptist, and discipleship comes with responsibilities, as “learners.”
We are not told how long the group walked after that conversation, or to where they might have stopped before going to Galilee; but, they followed Jesus and were amazed enough to have Andrew get up and go to get his brother, Peter (Simon Peter). From that, we can assume that Jesus was not mute during that time spent travelling. He must have spoken to his new followers, so the disciples’ eyes were opened and their ears could hear things never heard from John.
They found the answer to their question through an emotional connection to Jesus. Their hearts were opened and they were experiencing the one prophesied to come. They could feel that as truth.
This was unlike the experience with John the Baptist, who they knew and had followed until finding Jesus. Crowds came to have their sins washed away, but I can imagine there was a temporary feeling surrounding that activity … especially when the same people would return to be cleaned over and again.
I imagine for Andrew and the unnamed disciple, and for the third convert – Cephas, Pierre, Stony, or “the Rock” – or the one commonly called Peter, what they found and what they experienced was their Epiphany. They felt how special Jesus was.
They would aid Jesus’ ministry, like interns. Jesus needed an entourage, those who would tour with him as go-fers, set-up men, or roadies.
Thus, the disciples of Jesus were called by God before their births too. While in their mother’s wombs they also were named as servants of the LORD.
Because they follower Jesus, they were planned to serve the Lord through Christ. As Apostles, the disciples would no longer serve the needs of the man Jesus, but serve God as extended bodies for duplicate hearts and minds, as was Jesus.
The song of Isaiah that was read today is a deep vision, where Isaiah is channeling a spiritual conversation between the man Jacob and the LORD.
Near the end we read, “The Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,” which is Jesus. This parallels the recount of John the Beloved, where John the Baptist calls Jesus “the Son of God.”
If one follows the conversation in Isaiah carefully, one sees Jesus was to be the Redeemer of the failure brought about by Jacob’s descendants, the Israelites. It was a failure to maintain their commitment that said, “my God has become my strength.”
That was the Intent, such that the children of Israel represented the Word in the beginning, before a people would be born, named while in the mother’s womb – the land named Israel became their womb of development.
But Jacob failed God. His strength was not the One God, Jehovah (Yahweh), but more than one god, Elohim – saying, “my gods have become my strength.” That strength would fail Israel and those descendants would become scattered, requiring restoration to the survivors.
In Hebrew, the word for Redeemer is “qu’al.” Its use is relative to a kinsman, in particular one marrying a widow who is without a male heir. A Redeemer, a “qu’al,” is one who is genetically linked to the widow, in a family relationship, a relative. By marrying a woman solely to produce a male heir that widow can then lay claim on the property of her deceased husband. That is because the inheritance would be claimed by the widow’s new son.
What was lost is then returned.
This means that Israel had failed to produce a rightful heir to the heavenly kingdom. Instead, it had turned away from God, worshiping idols, so that both Israel and Judah became “deeply despised” and “abhorred by the Gentile nations.” Those enemies rose up and defeated Israel before it could produce a righteous heir. The Israelites … the Jews … would become the slaves of rulers not of their own bloodline. Like widows without heirs, they had no right to claim what had been lost through death.
Reading the will always attracts heirs.
In that way, Jesus would Redeem God’s Plan for Israel, the logos of His servant, as the one produced that would return God’s Intent to a priestly people.
Redemption would not be the land – that known as Judea or Palestine. The Romans would keep that. Later, the Turks would lay claim.
Instead, Redemption would be through the installation of priests serving the One God, through the Redeemer Jesus Christ. The baby in the womb is born. There is a male heir to serve the LORD.
Isaiah even wrote who would be found propagating those “of man” (the meaning of the name Andrew) with “a Church” (the symbolism of “the Rock” of Saint Peter), demonstrating how “God is gracious through Apostles,” with the “salvation of God” through Christ. Isaiah wrote, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves.”
Those are the Kings of Europe. They would become the princes of Christ, whereas the Jews would never prostrate themselves before Jesus. The Jews would forever long for a return to the lost land, to a lost prominence as God’s chosen people, while missing the Purpose for which they were chosen.
Thus, the Redemption of the Intent of Israel, which manifest through the Word made flesh, is through the princes of Christianity. They became the male heirs to the throne.
That is where we all come in … because we are Christians.
Still, it is easier to say, “I am a Christian,” than it is to act Christian, without any statements being made.
As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “I am called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.”
The will of God is different than the will of Paul. It is different than the will of Robert. It is different than the will of any one human being.
The will of God is found by “those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”
That is a true Christian, and it is to those who find “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Think about it …
Israel was a nation of people who thought all they had to do was go around telling Gentiles, “We are chosen by God. We are special. All we have to do is be a descendant of one of the Tribes of Israel. All we have to do is say we believe in God.”
When they failed … from acting like whatever they did was through the grace of God … they found out the hard way that they were wrong. However, the first Christians were Jews who believed, like those two disciples of John the Baptist, who followed Christ to find why they were chosen, and to experience first-hand how to serve God.
That is why we recognize Epiphany each year.
Just as the dove of heaven lit on Jesus and stayed there, it would also lite on the Apostles. Through the past two thousand years, it has stayed on all the Saints. Likewise, we too must have to have our own Epiphany and recognize Jesus is on a sojourn.
We have to call out to Jesus, “Hey! What can we do to have you abide in us?”
Jesus will say, “Seek me and you will find me.
“Follow my lead and experience what it means to be an Apostle … learn from the rabbi how to be a saint.”
Then, as David sang, “Wait patiently for the LORD to put a new song in your mouth.”
Find happiness through trust in the LORD.
Experience how “In the roll of the book it is written, ‘I love to do your will,’ because “Your righteousness is not hidden in my heart.”
Let the dove of heaven light on you and remain there.