“Come and See”

John 1:43-51

January 17, 2021

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

Rush United Methodist Church

John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”

Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?”

Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

| Centering Prayer |

He started with the Detroit Lions, but finished with the Cleveland Browns.

Now, a traveling evangelist,

It was as if

Billy Glass was speaking directly to me.

Jesus Christ was his Lord.

He invited me to come and see,

To make Jesus my Lord, too.

It didn’t matter that I was a preschool aged child.

I joined the crowd of people

Flowing to the altar in that outdoor amphitheater

Where I answered to call to follow Jesus.

A confession of Christ’s identity

With a simple, straight-forward invitation,

Was all it took to claim me as a disciple.

John the Baptist had his own disciples.

When he saw Jesus walk by

He speaks to his followers,

“Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

Hum.

Look. Redirect your attention.

Lamb. A sacrificial animal

Believed to take away, or atone, a person of their sins.

John the Baptist witnessed to Christ,

The God of atonement.

John’s descriptive identification of Jesus was all it took

For two of his disciples to immediately decide

To terminate their discipleship of John

And to begin to follow Jesus.

A simple confession of Christ’s identity

Was all it took to make disciples.

Jesus asks the two un-named disciples

“What are you looking for?”

“Where are you staying?” they asked.

“Come and see.”

Come: follow me, and

See: observe. Take it all in.

They followed Jesus to where he was staying

And abided with him until late afternoon.

Come and see became for them

An offer to see Christ

With the eyes of faith.

(The New Interpreters Bible)

One of these two is identified as Andrew.

Andrew tells his brother, Simon, saying

“We have found the Messiah.”

Simon comes to meet Jesus.

Jesus immediately names him Cephas,

Translated as Peter, and

The rest is history.

A simple confession of Christ’s identity

Was all it took to make a disciple.

There seems to be a common thread here.

The call narrative of Christ’s first three disciples (1:35-42)

Immediately precedes our Gospel lesson today:

The call of Philip and Nathanael. (1:4351)

Hometown.

Rush, New York?

Jamestown?

Hamilton?

Rochester?

Hometown is as comfortable as well-worn bedroom slippers.

For Andrew, Peter, and Philip

Their hometown was Bethsaida,

A small, lake-side village on the Sea of Galilee.

It was little more than a crossroad,

An intersection for travelers from

One of the four points of the compass.

They probably grew up together,

Climbed the same trees and fished the same hotspots out on the lake.

They probably attended the same school and synagogue.

Possibly, Andrew and his brother Peter

Could have been Philip’s cousin.

Jesus comes to their hometown Bethsaida

From the lower Jordan valley

On his way to Cana, further north,

Where he and his mother had been

Invited to a wedding and reception.

Jesus finds Philip.

It is as if Jesus seeks him out.

It makes me wonder why Jesus chose Philip in the first place.

Ask yourself.

Did Jesus seek you out, or,

Did you find him, or,

Perhaps a combination of both?

Why you? Why me?

Why did Jesus choose us to be his disciples?

Jesus wastes no time.

No introduction.

No small talk about the weather.

He doesn’t ask.

Jesus straight-up bluntly tells Philip,

“Follow me.”

For Philip

The call to follow Jesus

Came as a command.

Perhaps some people can’t take a hint.

Whatever the reason,

Philip makes three.

He goes to Nathanael.

Who is Nathanael?

Brother? Friend? Relative of Philip?

We don’t know.

It makes simple sense to

First approach those closest to you.

Confess Jesus Christ.

Make them his disciples, too.

Philips confession to Nathanael is as straight-up as his call.

“We …” he begins.

(Jesus obviously introduced Philip to Andrew and Peter)

Here is the set up:

“We have found him about whom Moses in the law

And also the prophets wrote.”

Philip did see.

He took it all in and came to conclusion:

Think Messiah: God. Promise.

Think identification: “Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

Think Nazareth: Blue collar. Construction. Manual labor.

You’ve got to be kidding.

The anticipated Messiah is a common stone mason or carpenter?

Philip takes the words right out of Jesus’ mouth,

“Come and see.”

Sometimes I don’t have the words,

Or the words come with great difficulty,

Or the words I use aren’t exactly the best words

And meaning or intent are obscured.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Come and see,

Jesus invited.

Come and see,

Philip urged Nathanael.

The Messiah language wasn’t working.

The Old Testament symbology of the fig tree didn’t cut it.

Moses in the law and the writings of the prophets

Covered too much territory.

Come and see.

Come is the invitation,

Best received when it comes from someone

That is known, trusted, loved.

Come is an action verb;

There is nothing passive about it.

In the Great Commission

Jesus instructs us to go and make disciples.

One disciple brings another to Jesus,

Who, in turn, brings others to Jesus.

Each disciple is charged to make the invitation:

Come and see.

See is the identification that results in conversion.

It isn’t your or my responsibility to convict or convert another;

God’s got that.

When one is placed in the presence of Christ,

Taught everything about Jesus that there is to teach,

Baptized by water and the Spirit,

Like the birthing of a baby,

A new follower of Jesus

Comes, sees, and believes.

A new disciple

Begins the journey.

The story of discipleship is incomplete

Until our witness,

Our invitation,

Brings others to Jesus Christ.

Some of us are curious.

That curiosity is a seed of faith planted by God.

Others of us have been invited,

But still find themselves sitting on the fence.

Not taking a position is to take a position.

Others have responded to the invitation to come, and

Now find themselves in the presence of Jesus

Soaking him all in,

Being filled with God’s Spirit and grace,

Primed for conversion into discipleship,

Ready to be shot out of the starting gate on the journey of faith.

Come and see.

Trust God’s process.

Answer the call.

Most of us, however, find ourselves on the journey;

Already convicted, converted, baptized, and

Someplace in-between baptism and eternal life.

It is our charge

To bring the next generation to meet Jesus.

It is our charge

To teach them all that Jesus has taught us.

Then trust.

Leave the rest up to God.

In my experience

Practice makes perfect.

It will be a bit awkward with the first couple of people.

In time, your words and actions will build confidence,

In yourself and in the invitation.

Dearly beloved

Make the invitation.

Keep making the invitation.

Don’t ever stop making the invitation.

“Come and see,” Jesus invited.

“Come and see,” Philip asked Nathanael.

“Come and see,” is the invitation you can use, too.

Amen.

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