John 1:40-50. Let’s read this whole part.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
So much here! First of all, let’s talk about what Jesus did. Remember, we are here to know the Mercy Man.
First, Jesus sees Simon and gives him a new name. Then, he sees Philip and says, “Follow me!” Then Nathanael. Jesus looks at him and sees him- really sees him. He tells him where he is physically, and he tells him what’s in his deepest heart.
This is so beautiful. Do you realize that this is what happens to us? When we come to Jesus, he looks at us and knows us completely- inside and out- and loves us.
He knows our past, he knows our failures, he knows even the terrible things of us- and He gives us a new name, and he says, “Follow me!”
But how does he do this? How you do know it’s for you? Wasn’t it just for these special men? The chosen ones?
No. You are a chosen one, beloved, if you have chosen him.
You see, later in the gospel there is a verse that says, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” There is a whole discussion in theology about who is chosen and there’s plenty of very smart people who can argue both sides about whether we choose God or he chooses us. But suffice it to say that you, right now, saying “I choose God,” is a sign that He has chosen you.
Some people can be fatalistic. They say, “Well, I’m probably not one of God’s, he chooses anyway, what can I do?”
This is a silly way. It’s like hanging back at the end of the line, and saying, “What’s the use trying to get in?” When the person at the gate wants to let anyone in.
You are chosen, you are called, and I know this because he calls to everyone, and if you are hearing him, and hope is springing in your heart that you WANT to be called, than I know it’s you he’s calling.
He’s calling you, and He sees you, and he knows you, and He loves you.
He sees where you are right now, and he has good plans for you, and good work for you to do, and besides that- a reward. A good reward.
And that part about a new name? That wasn’t just for Simon. He looked at Simon, which means, “listen,” and called him Peter, which means, “Rock.” Jesus looked at Simon and basically said, “I know your future, and I have plans for you, and they’re good.” He looked at what Peter was created to be and called Him to it, and he does the same for you.
He looks right at you, and says,