There is so much theology, hope, and amazing insight we could unpack from John chapter one, but I want to focus on a detail that is perhaps overlooked. At verses 35 and 36, we see that John the Baptist saw Jesus and shouted, I’m sure with plenty of excitement, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” There were two of John’s followers with him. One was Andrew, Peter’s brother. Out of joy and wonder, the disciples rushed toward Jesus and wanted to know where he was staying for the night. Jesus’ response was simple, inviting, even a little odd, “Come and you will see.” Keep that interesting response in mind.
Later in verse 45, we see a conversation between two of Jesus’ disciples, Philip and Nathanael. With excitement, Philip is breaking the news that the promised one that Moses spoke about long ago is actually here, his name is Jesus, and he comes from Nazareth! By the way, Nazareth was a very small village that was looked at as a run down place where nothing exciting or important happened. That is why Nathaneal responds the way he does: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” How does Philip respond? “Come and see.”
Now, I want to come back to both Jesus’ response earlier and Philip’s response to Nathanael. Jesus was just starting his ministry on earth. He knew that he needed to grow a following of people so that they could observe the things he taught and the way he lived. Jesus just met two strangers; he could have told them to stay somewhere else and come back and see him tomorrow. Instead, we see Jesus taking every opportunity he could to invite people into his life for one main purpose: so they could see what it truly means to be made in the image of God. We also get to see how Philip used this approach with Nathanael. Philip is evangelizing to his friend and he is met with skepticism. Rather than trying to make sure he had the right wording or seeing if he could win the debate about whether or not anything good can come from Nazareth, he decided to simply let the power of God, through Christ, speak for itself. “Come and see”.
That simple response speaks to the heart of how we should tell the gospel to those around us. We often are nervous when it comes to evangelism, because we too often try to sell the gospel to people rather than having the gospel sell itself! We need to remember that it is God who gives the increase, not ourselves. Rather than trying to come up with the perfect strategy, we simply need to bring people to the spot where they can “come and see” the incredible things God is already doing. I promise you whatever God has planned will be better than what you have planned. Do what Jesus did and invite people into your life in hopes they can see the Kingdom. Do what Philip did by pointing people towards the One who actually is worth seeing. The Kingdom seed’s growth is not dependent on you, but on God. All we need to do is ask others to “come and see.”
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How can Philip motivate you? Did he wait to introduce Nathaneal to Jesus until he knew all the details and could quote every sermon of Jesus’ backwards and forwards? How can you do the same as Philip with enthusiasm and urgency?
- Who do you know who needs to meet Jesus?
- Specifically how can you invite people into your life with the purpose of introducing them to Jesus and His Heavenly Father?
- Don’t wait to make the introductions until you know everything there is to know about Jesus – but how can knowing more about who He is excite you into action and evangelism? What can we find out about Jesus in this chapter – what names and titles is he given? What is the meaning of each? Does this sound like a person the world (and our family, friends and neighbors) should get to know?