The Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of the Year, in Year B, comes from the Gospel of John, (rather than ‘the Gospel of the Year’ – namely, Mark’s Gospel).
John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher –’where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.
One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.
The narrative is tightly and sparely told. Beyond the essentials of the story there is use of titles to describe Jesus which function as short-hand (or teasers?) for his meaning. There is care to name some of the persons featured in the narratives, and to explain the meaning of Rabbi.
There is one detail which seems redundant, but some have suggested is a key to the symbolic meaning of the passage – and John is keen on on his symbols.
‘It was about the tenth hour’. ‘About 4pm’ says the note in one edition of the Bible.
Other commentators see this as suggesting that the visit to where Jesus lived began at sundown, and on a Friday. (‘In my beginning is my end…’) They arrive as shabbat begins, and the rest of the day that they spend with Jesus is the full length of the shabbat.
They arrive, in other words, on the last day of the week, the 7th day, the day of rest. They arise to leave on what Jews call the first day of the week, and Christians have variously called the Lord’s Day, the eighth day (interesting concept when the week ordinarily has eight days!), or more prosaically, Sunday. In their encounter with him, which allows Andrew to know the Jesus, the Lamb of God as the anointed one of God, the Saviour, they enter into the new creation won by the Paschal Death and Rising, and shared more usually through the sacrament of Baptism.
- Where is newness and creativity experienced in your life today?
- Who might you point towards Jesus today?
Photograph of Christchurch, Oxford, in the early morning (according to the Latin way of counting time!). (C) 2014, Allen Morris.