Summary: Come and see. It's a powerful invitation that will change lives and build churches. Jesus is the answer and there are so many people who we know who need to come and see.
Have you heard the song, "Come and See?" It's a good song... that taps into the theme of my message today, and it begins like this: To all who are tortured and ravished by sin; the frail and the wounded about to give in; there's news of release and captivity's end; we've been set free... come and see! Come and see, the power of sin has been broken; the gates of your prisons stand open... come and see! I too lived in slavery, unmercifully bound, battered and broken, I finally knelt down, and there in obedience... freedom was found. We've been set free... come and see.
To which, I would only add- amen- because our lives are cluttered with people who need to come and see.
There’s a woman standing near, a victim of the one who promised to love her. Battered and bruised, frightened and insecure, betrayed and bullied… she has nowhere to turn. Is there anyone who loves her enough to save her? Anyone with a love so strong? O yes there is. The man from Galilee…can fill any heart, mend any soul! If you believe this, if you know it to be true, run to her… and invite her to come and see!
There’s a man in this room whose purpose has gone. Once, he was in love. Once, people counted on him. Once, he was needed. But now, it’s over, and he shuffles through his days with neither rhyme nor reason. Is there anyone who can fill his heart with purpose… and show him that he’s needed? Indeed, there is One. Jesus of Nazareth is he, and if you’ve found purpose in him yourself- run to this man… and invite him…to come and see!
Poor Johnny Doe, he had his dreams… but look at him now. Scheming, begging, threatening, crying, cursing- saying and doing whatever he has to say and do… to make it through another day. He’s addicted you see. In the hands of a demon. Out of his mind. He’s beside himself, and unless someone brings him to his senses, he will spend his life running in the shadows. Is anyone strong enough to drive out his demons? Anyone courageous enough to go where he lives? Only One- the wonderful counselor and mighty healer. Mary’s son, and if he has freed you from the grips of a demon, run and invite Johnny… to come and see!
Jane, as you surely know, seems to have it all. Professional and beautiful, poised and engaging, she’s always the center of things. Most would give anything to be like Jane, but they don’t know…that it’s all just a ruse. Underneath it all, she has nothing to stand on, and on the inside, she’s a mess because she no longer knows who she really is. Is there anyone in whom she can rest, on whom she can stand? Who can give her an identity… that’s deeper and more enduring than her smile? Of course, there is, and if you have found your identity in Him- if He is the rock on whom you stand- run to Jane and invite her… to come and see!
Friends, let me urge you to be an inviter! Even if you’re not steeped in Presbyterian polity, or conversant with Calvin’s theology, you can still invite others to come and see. When I first joined the church, I joined Pastor Lu’s Evangelism Committee of two, and we would go out, one night a week, and ring on doorbells… so that (if we were invited in) we could lead our hosts to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I did this for more than a year, and I can assure you that it wouldn’t work here… but we can invite others… to come and see what Christ has done for and what God is doing in this church! Anyone who has discovered a great new restaurant, would tell their friends and acquaintances to “go and see” how good it is. Anyone who has found a treasure of any kind would tell his or her friends to “experience it for themselves.” It would be unthinkable to know a life-changing relationship… and keep it to oneself…so let’s promise to be inviters! When it’s great enough, excitement just overflows, and when it’s deep enough, love begs to be shared! Come and see. Come and see. Let’s make this our mantra for a long while to come.
Come and see-it’s mentioned twice in Scripture. The first of which occurs in John 1:35ff. When John was conversing with two of his own disciples, Jesus passed by, and the Baptizer exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God.” When they heard the good news, his disciples left him to follow Jesus, but before they had gone far, Jesus turned and asked them (even as he asks us), “What are you looking for?” What do you want?" “Rabbi,” they asked, “where are you staying?” And Jesus replied, “Come and see.” Come and see what I abide in. So, they went and saw where he was staying and that might have been the end of the story… but Andrew went and found his brother, Peter, and told him, “We’ve found the Messiah, come and see.” Before he had seen any of Jesus’ miracles or heard any of his teaching, Andrew could still say, “Come and see.” Well, on the very next day, after Jesus had called Phillip to follow him, Phillip went to Nathaniel and exclaimed, “We’ve found the one whom Moses and the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus ben Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathaniel found this hard to believe, and he said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” To which Phillip, who had no proof to offer, could only say, “Come and see.”