I’ve been meaning to ask. . . where are you from?
John 1:35-51 Commentary by Dr. Raj Nadella
Curiosity runs rampant in this story and Jesus is the primary focus of such curiosity. John had already known Jesus as the Lamb of God and invited his disciples to meet him. The two disciples who follow Jesus apparently want to know where he is staying, but they ask questions only after he gives them permission. They are respectful of his space and enter it only at his invitation. It is the kind of healthy curiosity that is eager to engage others but is unintrusive.
But the disciples call Jesus a Rabbi, a term that does not capture his true identity in John. Instead of answering their question (where are you staying?), Jesus says, “Come and you will see.” The Greek word for seeing in this context is horaw/oida, which literally means “know, perceive, understand.” Jesus seems to suggest that the disciples called him Rabbi because they did not fully perceive him. He invites them to his place so that they can perceive him. Jesus is inviting them to a deeper level of curiosity, one that entails a willingness to learn as well as unlearn prior assumptions. Such curiosity transcends superficial knowledge and requires greater investment of one’s time and resources. The disciples spent the day with him and called him Messiah.
Curiosity is contagious. Andrew, who followed Jesus, introduces him to his brother Simon. Philip introduces him to Nathanael, who wishes to know if anything good can come out of Nazareth. “Come and see,” says Philip. The subtext is: “Don’t arrive at premature conclusions about anyone, or otherize them based on insufficient knowledge.” Curiosity is also a two-way street. Nathanael hears about Jesus and approaches him, but Jesus had already learned about him enough to call him a person without deceit.
How do we cultivate deeper curiosity that grants a fuller understanding of others, especially those who look, dress, and think differently? It requires investment of sufficient time and resources to learn about them, a commitment to unlearning prior assumptions when needed, and a healthy curiosity that engages others while respecting their space.
10:30 a.m.: 9th Sunday After Pentecost
4 p.m.: Session Meeting
6 p.m.: Tour of the Transformation Life Center, 433 W. Market St.
10:30 a.m.: 10th Sunday After Pentecost
We Are Not Strangers
by Rev. Sarah Are
If you ask me where I’m from,
I’ll tell you about the South—
about sweet tea, church pews,
slow drawls, sultry summers.
And if you pause,
then I may go on to tell you
how I’m from a family of preachers,
how I stand on the shoulders of generations
who believed that love could be the answer.
And if you’re still listening even then,
I’ll tell you that I’m from strong women
with tall spines who have carried the weight
of inequality on their backs with children on
And then I’ll tell you about
the kitchens that I’m from,
which have always cooked enough
food for unexpected guests—just in case.
Or I could tell you about the car
that carried us into the mountains,
summer after summer
so that we could breathe again.
That’s part of where I’m from.
And if you haven’t given up yet,
then I may even mention the dirt—
the earth that catches me,
the earth that holds me.
The earth that reminds me of growth.
The earth that will eventually welcome me home.
You and I aren’t really strangers after all.