Just sitting there is not going to make it happen.

“What you been doing, Nathanael?”

“Just sitting.”

“Figures.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Well. There’s got to be more to it than selling a few fish every day, and then just sitting under some tree and watching this little world of ours go by.”

“It’s not so bad. And it’s the only world I’ve got.”

“Exactly. I think it’s time for something else.”

“Like go find another world in Jerusalem or something? Not me. Galilee may not be much, but it’s fine.”

“I’m thinking more about creating another world.”

“Is this about that wanderer whose been making the rounds? Believe me, getting caught up with him is more of a waste of time than just sitting around. And he’s likely to end up in jail anyway. The Romans will quickly put an end to him if he starts making too much noise.”

“Well, Andrew and Peter and I…”

“Andrew and Peter? I thought they were tied in with that crazy guy who has been holding services down by the river.”

“They have been. But John told them the Nazarene is the one they should really be following. And they are. And now me, too.”

“Philip. Look. What do you know about him? Everybody is a prophet these days. He’s not the first one I’ve seen go by while I’ve been ‘just sitting,’ as you so elegantly put it.”

“He’s different. There is something to him that is not in the others. You’ve got to come and see.”

“See what?”

“See for yourself. He isn’t like the rest. He isn’t like anybody else. I don’t even understand a lot of what he is saying, but I know he’s right.”

“Oh, yeah. That makes a lot of sense.”

“Come and see. And you will know what I mean. There is life in him.”

“If I go and see, will you get off my back? I don’t want to keep hearing about this. This guy is from Nazareth, for heaven’s sake. Nothing good is going to come out of this hole we live in, much less Nazareth of all places. We may not have much going for us but this is not Nazareth, at least.”

“Let’s go find him. I think he was going to be somewhere around Peter’s place…. Look there’s a bunch of people over there. He must be there. Come on.”

“Look at that. You’re Philip’s brother, Nathanael. You’re a good man. And you care about the truth. The big truth.”

“Wait a minute. You don’t know me. We’ve never even met before. I don’t even know your name.”

“It’s Jesus. I’m glad to meet you. I’ve seen you sitting out under that tree. Philip is right. There’s more. And you know it. You haven’t just been sitting under that tree watching the world go by. You’re trying to figure it out and your place in it. You are looking for something so much more to life than what you have already found. You’ve just got to be willing to take the risk to find it. I think you are up to it. You see, I know you better than you could ever imagine.”

“You do know me! You really are the Son of God, the King we’ve been waiting for!”

“Back off. I don’t know about that king thing or any of the rest. But here’s what I do know. You may be impressed that I’ve figured you out. But that’s nothing compared to what you are going to see if you come with me like your brother Philip, and Andrew and Simon and all the rest. You are going to see the heavens open up. Angels descending. The Son of Man ascending. You in?”

“I am. Surprisingly enough, I am.”

“Great. I’ve got to get going. I’ll see the both of you later. We’re meeting at Peter’s for supper. I’m glad you’re going to be there Nathanael.”

“Are we really doing this Philip? A couple of hours ago, I thought you were turning into some kind of religious fanatic. Now I’m one of you and we are following Jesus. Do you even know where he is going?”

“I have no idea.”

“Does he?”

“I’m not sure. But wherever it is he is going, I can’t imagine not going with him.”

“Me neither. And I just met the guy?”

“I told you there was something different about him. And he really likes you.”

“But he doesn’t know me. Sometimes I’m not sure I like me.”

“But he seems to know you well enough that he wants to take you on as one of his own students.”

“Students? That’s another crazy thing about all of this. Let’s face it, you and me aren’t the theology school types. No other Rabbi has come looking for people like us.”

“I know. That’s one of the things that makes him so intriguing. It’s not business as usual for him. If we really do this I think there are probably going to be lots of surprises along the way.”

“He was right. You know there is not much surprising that happens once you’ve sat under a fig tree for a few days. And I have been looking for something more. I just didn’t believe it could really be out there. And what was all that stuff about angels descending and the Son of Man ascending?”

“Let me tell you, Nat, he says a lot of stuff like that. And then just walks away. It can get irritating. But it seems that he likes raising questions more than giving answers.”

“I like that, Philip.”

“Sometimes, Nathanael, I like it too. Anyway, I remember some Rabbi talking about the story of Jacob and the angels descending on the ladder. He said the point wasn’t that we are supposed to climb the ladder, you know that every rung gets higher, higher bit, but that the ladder brings down the angels to us. He said the ladder was about heaven and earth coming together, that God provides ways for us to see what heaven is about and for heaven to shape our lives. Maybe Jesus was telling us that in himself, a connection is made between heaven and earth, between God and us. And that God comes down the ladder to us. If that is really true, who knows what kinds of amazing things we will see.”

“Like miracles and stuff?”

“Yeah, but more than that. Like I said this morning, I’m looking for a new world. Maybe Jesus will set things into motion that are going to make a difference for a long time to come. Who knows what might happen if we really take him seriously, really believe God is doing something special in him. Maybe this world can be different.”

“Like I said, I’m no theology student. But it sure does seem like God is in him in a powerful way. And a way so different than you expect. And Jesus wants us to follow him. To be his students, his disciples. Us.”

“So you really do think we are doing the right thing, don’t you Nathanael?”

“I do. But it is kind of scary and confusing. And maybe dangerous. But I don’t think we could turn back if we wanted to. I am willing to take the risk to see what we can find by following him. I think it’s going to be worth it.

“Dangerous? Really? I hadn’t thought about that.”

“Could be. I mean he is challenging the status quo. He doesn’t seem like the ‘lets just go to synagogue type and that’s it.’ And like I said, Rome might end up noticing him. He’s going to want a whole lot more from us, from those who follow him. Hopefully, along the way, people will be willing to take the risk and put what he is saying into practice. Even if it is dangerous.”

“Whatever is ahead, I know he has a lot of faith. He talks about God and eternal life all the time. He seems ready to trust God for whatever is ahead, because he believes God will be with him no matter what. And he has a vision for what God wants for our lives and this world. I wish I had that kind of faith?”

“Who knows. Maybe we do.”

“We’ll find out. So here we go Nathanael. I wonder where this whole thing is going to end up?”

“Yeah. I know what you mean. So what’s next, Philip?”

“Go tell Mom, I guess.”