Following Jesus is Commitment

John 1:35-51; Mt. 4:18-22   January 22, 2023

If you are excited about something, you want someone else to get excited about it too.  Think about what excites you about Hunting Ridge Presbyterian.  Do you find a way to share that excitement with someone else?  Sharing excitement was happening in the first chapter of John which we heard this morning.  Jesus was in town; things were happening, and the word was getting out. 

As we read John’s description of the calling of the first four disciples, we keep hearing “Come and see.”  When someone says to you, “come and see”, they have something that is very important to them that they want to share. When two of John’s disciples hear John describe Jesus as “the Lamb of God”, they may not really be clear on what he means by that, but they know enough to pick up that John is showing them who to follow.  The two of them follow Jesus and want to know where he is staying, what he is up to, who he is with.  Jesus says “come and see”.  It seems clear that he has something going on that they need to see for themselves. One of them, Andrew, must have essentially said the same thing to his brother, Simon. “Come and see who we have found—it is the Messiah.” So, Simon comes and sees for himself. Jesus seems to already know him, and gives him a new name, Peter, which means ‘the rock’.  Jesus heads for Galilee, the region where Bethsaida is found, which is the hometown of Andrew and Peter. There Jesus finds Philip, a neighbor of Andrew and Peter.  He tells him:  “follow me”. I think we could see the invitation to follow as saying to Philip: “come and see what is going to happen, how you will change, how the world will change when you follow me, or accompany me on this adventure”.  Philip then says the same thing to Nathaniel, who was skeptical that anything good could come out of Nazareth—“Come and see.  This is the one Moses wrote about, the one the prophets told us would come.  He is Jesus!” 

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Three in One: Creator, Christ, Compassion

Trinity Sunday       6.12.22

The Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a central doctrine in the Christian church, Presbyterians included. I want you to notice the paraments that we have in our sanctuary this morning.  Here are two symbols of the Trinity intertwined.  One is a triangle, with the three points representing each person of the Trinity.  And then there is what looks like three circles intertwined, again representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

What is the Trinity anyway?  We do not find the term in the scriptures, but the doctrine is fed by scripture.  We find in Jesus’ parting words to the disciples in Matthew the baptismal formula that Christians the world over have used for 2 millennia—”baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.   Very early Christians began to develop a doctrine of understanding God in three persons or in three forms.  It did not take long for church leaders to disagree over the meaning of the Trinity, especially when it came to describing exactly how the three persons of God are connected.  By the fourth century there were two strong divisions—one group insisting that Jesus was like God and one group insisting that Jesus was God.  Some said Jesus and the Holy Spirit proceeded from God, meaning came after.  Others said Three in One means they all were present for all time.  All of these ideas impact what you believe about the humanity and the divinity of Christ—if Jesus is like God, then it seems more likely he was fully human.  If Jesus is God, it seems he could not have been human but only divine.  The bishops from various parts of the Roman empire had strong feelings about these issues.

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