Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Incarnate Faith

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Incarnate Faith

Article excerpt

1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

The second Sunday of Epiphany is all about knowing and being known. Samuel, whose birth is an answer to Hannah's prayer, is known by God from conception, and though he doesn't understand God's call, he trusts in both Eli's advice and in God's word. For his faith and willingness to tell the truth, Samuel becomes a great prophet to the people of Israel, overseeing the enthronement of David. He became accountable to his community and God, and insisted on the same from them.

In John's gospel, Nathanael is known by Jesus before they meet; Jesus saw him "under the fig tree," a symbol of peace in the Hebrew Bible. In contrast to Nathanael's skepticism when told about Jesus ("Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"), Jesus greets him with authority and generosity, noting his qualities as a leader and disciple: "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" (John 1:47). Believed to be the disciple Bartholomew, Nathanael joins the new community of Jesus, becoming responsible to, and for, it.

In contrast, Paul explains the position of the new Christian community on knowing in the traditional biblical sense. …

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