Title: Come and See
As a Christian father and follower of Jesus one of my greatest concerns is my family’s faith. It is my hope that when my time ends on earth and their time ends here on earth that I will get to see them again in eternity. And I dare say, “I don’t think I am alone.”
Go to just about any funeral and the family left behind will say thing like “She’s dancing with Dad now”; “He's hugging Suzie now”; "He's with his sister."
In fact, you are probably here today because you either believe that there is something beyond this life or you are exploring the possibility. And if the funerals I have been to are any indication, you want to make sure you meet your family there.
And it leads to a question. How do I make sure my family is there with me? If that is important to you, I want to invite you to explore with me our text from the gospel of John.
John 1: 35-37
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
We saw that same phrase, “The Lamb of God” in the previous verses we studied last week. We concluded that it was an O.T. reference to the sacrificial system of the Jews in which Jewish families would present a lamb to be sacrificed during the season of Passover to have their sins removed - at least for another year. John the Baptist uses this imagery to describe Jesus. Verse 37.
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Last week we talked about John the Baptist and how he understood his role was to serve as a witness to the light. We see that again this week. John points his disciples to the true identity of Jesus and he wasn’t about to selfishly hang onto those who were following him or call them his own. It was never about him, or HIS ministry, or HIS followers. Instead, his ministry was focused on the inauguration of the Kingdom of God in the form of Jesus. He had a different perspective than gathering his own little group of followers.
There’s a valuable lesson that we can learn from this passage. Our goal must not be about making “followers of John Sears.” We want to invite people to come and meet Jesus. Our goal is not be to make “Elm Street-ers.” Instead, our goal as the church is to declare “Look at the Lamb of God” and to point people to follow Jesus. And if people are going to Monroe Street, or West Side, or Lakeside, or Southside, and they are meeting Jesus, THAT is a Kingdom win. We should not seek to flip them to our church if they are in a place where they can learn to be a better follower of Jesus.
Back to our text, listen to what happens.
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
I have to tell you I would have loved to be privy to this conversation. I would love to have a detailed account of what Jesus shared with them. The word for word transcripts are not recorded anywhere in the N.T. Unfortunately, we don’t know what was specifically said. But we see the results of one of those disciple’s time with Jesus.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus….
Those of you who have children, do you remember how you felt when the Dr. said, “Your pregnant?”
For some of you it was probably a shock; for others you hoped to hear those words. Dads, do you remember when your wife told you? I remember – and after I got over the initial shock and as my wife’s tummy grew in size, I began to eagerly anticipate that child entering the world.
I had questions. Would it be a boy or a girl? What will she look like? Will she have my eyes, or my nose, my ears…Lord please don’t curse her with my ears. There was an anticipation taking place in the coming of my children. And as excited as I was, I know it was probably even greater for you moms as you carried that child to term.
And when my daughters were born, it was a day of celebration as we gathered in the Maternity ward. It was an amazing experience to finally get to meet the newest addition to our family. Do you know that anticipation? If you haven’t experienced it yourself as a mother, you’ve seen it on the face of expecting parents. Now take that feeling and apply it to the Jews.
Illustration Application (Capture the Feeling)
Andrew like all good Jews had been waiting for the Messiah to come to Israel. He had probably had conversations about what the Messiah would look like when he appeared and how the Messiah would act. He would talk about how a free nation would be. There was an eager expectation taking place. Then, on the day of this conversation, Andrew exclaims, “We have found the Messiah.” There is the awe of expectation finally fulfilled when he says this.
And Andrew's world is turned upside down. Did you notice that Andrew went from viewing Jesus as Rabbi (meaning teacher) (vs 38) to Messiah (the one anointed by God to redeem Israel) (vs 41). Excited and breathless, I imagine Andrew leaves the place where Jesus is staying and he hurries out to find his brother Simon. I imagine he finds his brother and when he does, Andrews words come out in a rush.
[Pretending to be Andrew] - I was sitting with John the Baptist by the Jordan River listening to him preach and John told us about this man Jesus who came by, he called him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the word…. so I followed him and I spent the day with him and we talked the entire evening…he told me about himself and who he was and you’ll never believe it Simon…we no longer have to wait…I’ve discovered the Messiah who has been promised by God.
It was a life changing event.
And in his excitement, Andrew invites his brother Simon to “come and see.” Come and see for yourself if this Jesus is the one we’ve been looking for! Well apparently Simon drops whatever his is doing and he goes to investigate Jesus. And at the end of the conversation, Jesus gives Simon a new name.
…Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
I think there is significance to the name change. I think Jesus is telling Peter, “now that you’ve met me, you are going to be changed.” If you accept who I am, you will no longer be seen as Simon the fisherman. Instead, people will call you “The rock.” People will see how steady and reliable you are; how you will be able to endure even the harshest of conditions, just like a rock.
If you know Simon Peter’s story in the N.T., he wasn’t always the most stable disciple. He was brash, sometimes arrogant. He opened his mouth a lot without thinking. When Jesus had been arrested, he denied even knowing Jesus. I’m not sure I’d call the Peter who spent three years with Jesus before he was crucified, “a rock.”
But the Peter after witnessing the resurrected Jesus is a different story. It was that Peter – the rock -- who boldly proclaimed to the Jews on Pentecost, “This Jesus whom you crucified, but has risen from the dead, God has made Lord and King.” It was that Peter – the rock -- who boldly declared to the Jewish Sanhedrin that continued to stand in opposition to Jesus, “Choose for yourself whether it is right for us to obey you or God, but we cannot help talking about what we have seen and heard.”
At the very beginning, I think Jesus knew. And I think Jesus is telling Simon Peter, “You can’t really come and meet me and leave unchanged.”
Can I stop and make some observations for us from this text and apply them to today. Did you notice how time with Jesus led to change?
I. Time spent with Jesus is something incredibly valuable.
Some of you are sitting here thinking “How do we do that?” I mean I spend time with friends and family/ but I can see them. I can’t see Jesus. I can’t touch him. How do I spend time with him?
It’s something you and I can accomplish by reading God’s word and through prayer. For some of us that sounds pretty simplistic. For some of us we struggle with the idea that reading God's word and prayer is time spent WITH Jesus. I’ve been there in my own life. For the longest time, Bible study was studying ABOUT Jesus. It felt the same as reading about Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill.
Personal Application / Testimony
What has changed in my life is this -- I have realized that when I read God’s word, when I hear God’s word preached, I’m not reading some book, or hearing some historical lecture, I’m conversing with Jesus.
I become like Andrew - I have an "In between verse 39 and verse 41" experience as Jesus reveals his identity to me. And the result of that time is that my life is changed. I walk away saying, "I have found the Messiah."
Is your study time a between vs 39 and vs 41 experience? I can be! If you allow Jesus to converse with you as you meet with him. You and I can have an encounter with Jesus and when we do we can’t help but leave changed. There is great value and importance in spending time with Jesus.
II. When you and I spend time with Jesus, the natural outpouring of that time is a heart that invites others to discover Him.
Andrew is compelled to spread the news. And did you notice who Andrew starts with? Andrew starts with his brother, Simon Peter. Andrew wanted his brother to experience the joy of seeing the one he was convinced was the Messiah.
We see this happen as well in the next few verse with Philip and Nathaniel.
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
If you weren’t here last week, we talked about identity of The Prophet that Moses wrote about in the law. Not A Prophet, THE prophet that Moses wrote about. We discovered that this is a reference to Deuteronomy where Moses says to the people, (Deuteronomy 18:15) “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”
Philip is convinced that Jesus is this promised prophet. And he goes to tell Nathaniel “we’ve found the prophet.” His name is Jesus and he is from Nazareth. Nathanael is Skeptical. Because he responds with a question.
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked….
Apparently Nazareth had bad reputation. Why? Scholars can’t seem to agree. There are almost as many different opinions as there are internet hits. I don’t want to get lost in all that. Instead, I want to look at Philips answer.
…“Come and see,” said Philip.
The natural result of a discovery of the real identity of Jesus is a desire to share with others. “Come and see.”
It was Thanksgiving last year. My family had gathered together to celebrate. It was the first time in a long time that almost every one of us was under the same roof -- all my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. After the meal was over, my dad asked us to gather in the living room. And he took the opportunity to share about his mother, my grandmother. Now I never had the chance to meet my dad’s mom. She died before I was born. But the story he shared illustrated her desire to share Jesus.
My dad shared the story of when he was really little (no older than four or five years old), his mom would sit down by the fireplace in the evening. And by that firelight, she would read Scripture. My dad recalled that on most nights when she did that, she would invite him to sit next to her. And she would read to him the stories of Jesus. Dad said that time with his mom exploring the stories of Jesus was precious. He didn't say it, but his mom was asking Jesus to reveal his identity to her as she read. And when he did, she looked at my dad, her son and said to him by her actions, “I’ve found the Messiah. I know where to find salvation. Come and See!” The natural outpouring of the heart that has found Jesus is to invite others to "Come and see."
Back to the pregnancy illustration I used earlier. When that precious newborn finally arrived, what did you do? Did you just keep it to yourself? Probably not. You probably called anyone you thought cared and said, “Guess what? We had the baby!” And then you gave the details. “It’s a boy! It’s a girl! He weighed 8 pounds! She was 20 inches long.” And who did you call first? You probably called your family. Grandma, Grandpa, siblings.
When eager expectation becomes a reality, we share it starting with those who are closest. It happened in both instances in our text today. Our text ends this way.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
Today, it’s Mother’s Day. Some of you will receive cards or flowers or gifts. The restaurants will be packed with people seeking to honor their mothers. There will be time spent around the table. So what would happen if mothers, in return for the gifts you receive, you passed along the gift of Jesus. What if you said to sons and/or daughters, “I’ve met Jesus. I know who he is. Come and See.”
I think we would see greater things than we ever imagined.
Prayer and Invitation