Jesus decided to go to Galilee. Upon arriving:
This word found is active voice in Greek – it is an active finding rather than a passive, meaning Jesus didn’t stumble upon Philip out of the blue, but instead actively sought him out. Jesus looked for Philip on purpose, and found that which he sought.
It’s almost as if he decided to trek to Galilee just for Philip’s sake.
(Think of that: to decide means to set the heart toward a purpose – and in the immediate sense, Philip was the purpose for Jesus.)
There are about ten different directions I want to take this, but I’ll stick with three.
- Philip was a friend of Andrew and Peter. Andrew and Peter were the brave ones who hooked up with Jesus down south by the Jordan and asked if they could stay with him. Now Jesus has led the way north to seek their friend. Can’t you imagine the conversation around the fire the night before they headed out? “Jesus we’ve got this friend. You really need to meet him. He’d really love to know you.” Could it be that Jesus searches for Philip on purpose because of the desire of Philip’s friends? Could it be that Jesus seeks (and finds) the people we love, too, when we ask him?
- In following Jesus to Galilee, the four disciples were returning home. This wasn’t some figurative “my home is in Jesus” home, but the actual place of their birth. These crazy wildcats had set off to follow a prophet who sported camel hair tunics and ate locust as a rule. The prophet had been proclaiming the immanency of the Messiah, and now these men are following home the One they believe to fit the Messiah-bill. They’re changed men, and the first mission Jesus leads them on is home to their family and friends. (We can see a pattern of this being made later on when a man whom Jesus heals wishes to stay with Jesus and be an itinerant disciple, and Jesus instead sends him home to live his faith among his family and friends.)
In my own life, I have just returned home for the first time in 15 years. Oh, I’ve consistently come back for visits, but for a decade and a half, I’ve lived someplace other than my hometown. I was pretty camped out by my Jordan so to speak, and I have spent my 15 years at the feet of prophet-teachers and in the dwelling place of Messiah. But Jesus up and decided to lead my family home to my very own Galilee, and we’ve followed him back into the community of my birth. It’s scary. It’s good. It’s a whole different animal to live your changed person in the company of such keen witnesses, you know? I look at the disciples and know I’m not alone.
- The one thing required of the disciples was to follow Jesus. Jesus decided to head to Galilee. In the next few verses we’ll see that the disciples decided to follow him there. They made their own decisions – and so do we.
This is a Wednesday in the Word post, where bit by bit I write through the Gospel of John. Find previous posts here.
There is a homeschooling newsletter going out by end of the week. The name is The Ambler, a CM Journal and this month’s theme is “Cycles, Rhythms, and Burn Out: what to do when we’re exhausted and have lost our joy.”
If you need some encouragement, or want to pocket away encouragement for a rainy day, sign up here (and please tell your friends!).