John 1:45-46 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
If you canít see, you canít teach. If you canít hear, you canít learn. These 2 proverbs could be said to be the sum of our lessons today. If you canít see, you canít teach. If you canít hear, you canít learn. If it were that simple, we would already be at the end, our task is to unpack the meaning.
You see, the first objection is that there are blind teachers, Ö and this is true, but not in the obvious way. There are 2 kinds of blindness, one is physical and the other is spiritual and emotional. For example, you might be physically blind, but you can see in "other ways." Sometimes its in hearing, sometimes they can smell trouble,Ö in either case, they see what is going on, and can use this to teach. In our Old Testament Lesson, Eli, the priest has become blind, his eyesight is gone, and he is not as close to God has he once was. So when the boy Samuel hears God calling to him, but Samuel does not know the voice of the Lord, Eli doesnít see right away what is going on. It takes 3 times of Samuel coming to him, before he perceives the voice and call of God. Once he sees, then he can teach Samuel who is calling, and how to answer. So the blind can teach, just as long as they are not so blind that they cannot see in some other way. Why is this encouraging for us? Often we have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear - nothing is physically wrong, the only problem might be a lack of time. If God could use blind Eli to teach Samuel about God, surely God can also use us, to teach about the good news of Jesus Christ.
In the course of daily life, people often ask us questions, but most times we only hear on the surface, sometimes those questions about the weather, are really questions about faith, and about the nature of God. If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we may have something different to say. Who didnít get at least a small case of cabin fever? And in that moment of despair, wasnít part of the unspoken question, O God, why have your forsaken me? Why have you prevented me from accomplishing all the things I planned to do? Which thing gives better or more lasting comfort? Spring will soon be hear, the days are getting longer. Or, God still loves you, and God is with you, he kept you safe through all danger, and will give you everlasting peace through the forgiveness of sins which is ours in Jesus Christ. Isnít the first thing that people want to know, that God hasnít abandoned them? And that the snow is not a punishment for all our sins? Isnít the first thing people want to know, is how to make the bad feelings, the guilt of sin, go away? God can open our eyes to see these moments where we can share the faith which nurtures and sustains us.
And that brings us to the second part: If you canít hear, you canít learn. It is a difficult thing, but we take comfort in the promise that with God, nothing is impossible. We have ears. We are not deaf. But that doesnít mean that we can always hear. Sometimes we canít hear, because weíre always talking - and you canít listen to others while YOU are talking. Sometimes we canít hear, because we canít sit still, sometimes the fidgets can be terrible. What do we do, we turn to God, we ask him to help us to conquer the fidgets, we ask Him to help us to listen. And sometimes we canít hear because we are bored, not that church is ever boring, but sometimes our mind is on something else that we would rather be doing, and if you mind is elsewhere, the words might be going in your ears, but they arenít connecting with anything.
But as there are many ways of seeing, so also there are many ways of hearing. And this is important for us also to learn. Philip wanted to tell his friend Nathaniel about Jesus. But Nathaniel just wasnít listening, he couldnít hear what Philip had to say. And so God helped Philip, God gave Philip the simple words, "Come and see." And so Philip brings Nathaniel to Jesus, and on arriving, Nathaniel can hear, and can learn from Jesus the great good news of salvation.
You see, when God finds us, and forgives ours sins and gives us new life, that is such good news we want to tell everyone. In Jesus Christ, we have received a treasure much greater than winning the lottery. And the best thing is, when we share our faith, we are not giving something away, which makes us have less, because when we share our faith, we donít get less, we get more, more people with whom we can travel on the way to heaven. More people to encourage us. More people to tell us stories of how God has been at work in their lives. And that is what Epiphany is all about, for God chooses to reveal the way of salvation in Jesus Christ, through his chosen people, thatís us. We have good news to tell, and there is a fellowship which we share, we grow, we listen, we learn, and by the grace of God, we teach. Who is our savior? If we cannot explain, at least we can say, Come and see; for we know that God wants all people to be saved.