Christ Joined the People in a Friendly Way

Epiphany 2 Friday

John 1:35-39

“The other day, John and two of his disciples stood there. And when he saw Jesus walking by, John said: “Look, this is God’s Lamb.” And the two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. But Jesus turned around and saw them following him and said to them: “What are you looking for?” They said: “Teacher, where are you staying?” And he said to them: “Come and see.” They came and see and stayed the day with him. But it was about the tenth hour.”

The evangelist John does not speak here about the call of the apostles, but simply recounts how they socialized with Christ and interacted with him because he joined the people in a kind way. At that time, the disciples of John grew to like him for the sake of the testimony and sermon concerning Christ delivered by their teacher, John the Baptist. Consequently, they heard and saw Christ, got to know him, and became acquainted with him. Moreover, they leave him again, return home, after having made friendship and acquaintance with him. They did not yet become Christ’s disciples or were called to be such. But later Christ comes to the Sea of Galilee, walks about, and calls them as his apostles. They had first seen him by the Jordan, but had not thought that they should become his disciples. The evangelist shows with these words that the Lord Christ had a peculiar way of drawing the people to him and to become acquainted with them. And when Christ later comes to the Sea of Galilee and works miracles, e.g., by turning water into wine, and becomes known to everyone, then he finds Simon and Andrew, James and John, Matthew 4:18-22. And that’s where the call begins. But the evangelist John does not talk about this call this time, but only about the acquaintance, how Christ was an affable man who made friendship with everyone, so the people liked to interact with him…John the Baptist here directs his disciples to Christ, as is his office. Thereby he hands them over to a new teacher instead of keeping them for himself, saying: “He is the teacher; he baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire.” When the disciples hear this, they, as simple, pious people, believe it and are moved by John’s words to follow Jesus when John says: “This man is the Lamb
and the true teacher.” This is why these two disciples follow Christ to the place where he was staying…and spent the day
with him. This is a fine acquaintance and friendship that they want to hear for themselves the testimony John gave about him. They gladly wanted to be around him, see him, hear him talk to him, and interact with him. But he did not call them. They also did not spend the whole day with him, but arrived at the tenth hour, that is, about 4 p.m. This is how long they stayed with him. But the evangelist did not write down what they did or said. He only wanted to indicate that
Christ treated them kindly, attracted the people, until he received 12 apostles and 72 disciples, Luke 10:17. Christ did not begin his kingdom with violence, with raving and raging, as the Jews dreamed that the Messiah would come as a very mighty emperor. Instead, he joins the people in a friendly way, is affable, receives all who come to him, chats with them, and excludes no one from his fellowship. This is how the prophet Isaiah described him, Isaiah 42:3-4, that he would not be belligerent and argumentative, that he would not snuff out the smoldering wick and not crush the broken reed.

St. Louis ed., 7:1741-1743.

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