Summary: People come to Jesus because others share with them the good news.
By Rev Bill Stewart
Several years ago I had been invited to a dinner party at the home of some friends from Church. I had accepted the invitation the week before. But when the time came to get ready to go I really didn’t feel up to going. It had been a very busy week at work. When I got home about 5.30 I was feeling exhausted. I lay down on my bed and tried to persuade myself that my friends would understand if I gave my apologies. Then I told myself that it was a bit late to pull out now with just over an hour to go. After all they would have done all the preparations. Dinner would be made and they had probably even set the table. Eventually I managed to drag myself up off the bed and get changed. I made my way wearily to car to drive out to their house; all the time asking myself why I was going because I really needed an early night.
Have you ever received an invitation to something that you really didn’t think would be any good? I’m sure you all have. But you ended up going to it because of the person or people who gave you the invitation? I’m sure you have done that too. And when you went it actually turned out to be really good! Of course we have all been along to something that we thought wouldn’t we enjoy and we didn’t, but sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.
There’s one other thing I have to tell you before I tell you more about this dinner party. And that is that my two least favourite subjects in high school were maths and physics. So who do I end up seated next too at this party but someone who studied maths and physics at university. And that person was working as a physicist with an aluminium company! It is good that I didn’t know that beforehand or I definitely would not have gone! But to cut a long story short, that physicist is now my wife!
2. Come and see, follow me
Before we get into today’s section from the Gospel of John is really a series of invitations. Let me begin reading from verse 35 of chapter 1 as we listen together for the invitations:
John the Baptist to Andrew (and another disciple) to Jesus (vs. 35-39)
35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
John the Baptist invited Andrew and another disciple: "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" … and they followed Jesus. Jesus saw them following and said: "What are you looking for?" And then he gave them an invitation: "’Come and see.’ They came and saw…" Let’s continue to read:
Andrew to Simon to Jesus (vs. 41-42)
40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
Andrew found his brother Simon and brought Simon to Jesus ... Then:
Jesus to Philip to Nathanael to Jesus (vs. 43-46)
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip 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." 46Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus found Philip. Philip found Nathanael and said: "We have found Jesus … Come and see."
I expect that you are beginning to notice some patterns here. I’m sure John, the author of the Gospel, wanted us to see these patterns. Let’s look at some of those patterns.
The first thing we find is people sharing what they have discovered about Jesus with others: John the Baptist, then Andrew, then Philip:
v. 36: "Look, here is the Lamb of God!"
v. 41: "We have found the Messiah"