Come and See

In the book of John we find a wonderful narrative describing how Jesus gathered some of his early disciples. I have been reflecting on this passage for a number of months and have come to love three simple words of invitation to the early followers and to us as well.

Here is the story told in John 1:35-51...

The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.

Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).

Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.

 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”

“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”

Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

Come and see. Three simple words with profound implications. Three words that offer us an invitation to lay aside our assumptions and skepticism and walk, by faith, through an open door to all that God has in store for us.

The first time we hear these words is when Andrew and his friend - surely with a tone of intrigue and curiosity - ask Jesus, "Where are you staying?" Jesus responds, "Come and see." The story tells us that it was about 4:00pm when they went with Jesus and that they stayed with him "for the rest of the day."

I'm sure they never forgot that first evening with Jesus. I can only imagine the nature of their time together: a meal shared, rich conversation, laughter, stories, insights about themselves and about life. I imagine it would have been similar to having a meal with close friends followed by conversation that takes you late into the night.

The second time we hear these three words of invitation is when Philip tells Nathanael about this Jesus of Nazareth, the one whom Moses and the prophets all wrote about. Nathanael - filled with doubt and skepticism - replied, "Nazareth! Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

Unmoved by Nathanael's lack of faith, Philip simply responds, "Come and see for yourself." We know the rest of that story. By the end of his meeting with Jesus, Nathanael is praising him as the "Son of God" and the "King of Israel."
We are so much like these early followers. Whether we're filled with intrigue and curiosity or skepticism and doubt, Jesus offers us a simple, disarming invitation... come and see. It is the same invitation found in Psalm 34:8:

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

For me and for our family the year 2014 was definitely filled with a fair share of challenges and opportunities to "come and see" that the Lord is good. It was a year of watching and waiting; a year of praying that God would close the wrong doors and open the right ones.

We are so grateful for the door that God opened for us in Palm Bay, Florida. This past week was my first full week in the office at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Each day has been filled with so many new discoveries, so many new relationships.

Words can't adequately express the amount of joy and gratitude I feel throughout the day as I remember and recount all the various ways God has proven himself faithful.

Come and see. Believer, skeptic, wanderer, worshiper, old, young, rich, poor... taste and see that the Lord is good.

Ultimately, the invitation is to a relationship with Christ. In this season after Christmas and Epiphany we find ourselves still pondering the mystery of Jesus' birth and the reality that God took on flesh and blood and walked among us. We anticipate the time in the Christian year when we will celebrate afresh his death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit.

In worship, both personal and corporate, we recount and recall the past and present realities of the life of Jesus. As we do we are invited to come and see a person, fully divine and fully human.

I hope this theme will be an invitation for you this new year. May you "come and see" that the Lord is good and faithful.

Come, come and see what God has done
ix your eyes upon the Son
Come and see him, come and see him
Come, come and see what he can do
e is making all things new
He's the Healer, our Redeemer, come

Come and See Him
/ Words and Music by Paxson Jeancake, 2014



Tab said…
Simplistic, yet beautiful writing!
Tab said…
Simplistic, yet beautiful writing!

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