John 1:29-42 (NRSV)
Verse 29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Verse 30This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.' Verse 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." Verse 32And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. Verse 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' Verse 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God." Verse 35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, Verse 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!"
Verse 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Verse 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" Verse 39He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. Verse 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. Verse 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). Verse 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
In our day, following Jesus is often seen as an internal matter, involving primarily our minds, our hearts, and perhaps some behaviors. For the disciples, it meant literally changing their lives. They left their jobs and homes and hit the road. Following Jesus can still mean changing one’s whole life.
Some seminarians leave their jobs and homes, moving to follow Jesus. Followers often still make other major life changes, doing so out of a sense of calling. One might expect that everything would turn out great when such actions are taken. It did not work that way for the disciples, and it does not necessarily work that way for us.
Changes are disruptive, our journeys can be difficult, and things do not always work out as we had expected. Following Jesus does not change that reality. However, Jesus invites us to take on the challenges that fit us and promises to be with us come what may.
Loving Jesus, you call us to follow you, but the way is hard and sometimes unclear. By the power of the Spirit, help us find the nourishment we need to sustain us on our journeys and lighten our path so that we do not lose the way. Amen.