Summary: A short talk given at an all-age baptism service. This talk focuses on the phrase 'Come and See'. Just as Philip encouraged his friend Nathanael to come and see, so we can encourage others to come and see Jesus for themselves.
Can you remember when you first heard about Coca-Cola? It’s a product that has far outgrown its humble beginnings. In 1886, Dr. John Pemberton first introduced Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. The pharmacist prepared a caramel-coloured syrup in a three-legged brass kettle in his garden. He first distributed Coca-Cola by carrying it in a jug down the street to his local pharmacy.
In 1984, after just 102 years, surveys showed that 97% of the world had heard of Coca-Cola. 72% of the world had seen a can of Coca-Cola. 51% of the world had tasted a can of Coca-Cola; all due to the fact that the company made a commitment many years ago that everyone on the planet should taste their drink.
Now I can’t remember when I first drank coke but I know I’ve liked it since I was very young; and even though it’s bad for my teeth I like a can now and then.
Can you remember when you first heard about Jesus? How old were you? Where were you? What were you doing when you first heard about Jesus?
We’ll all have different answers but for a number of you it won’t be possible to pinpoint a day or a time. For me, I learnt something about Jesus at Sunday school. I learnt more about Jesus when I became a member of the Boys’ Brigade; but I heard and learnt most about Jesus when Mr Hunt – a Boys’ Brigade officer said, “Why not come to church? We’re having a special youth service. Why not come and see?”
I went. I saw. I listened, and I began to hear about Jesus in a way that changed my life. The Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8); and in today’s Bible reading we heard that a man named Philip was encouraged to follow Jesus (1:43); and one of the first things that he then did was to go and find someone called Nathanael.
And with bold simplicity and clarity Philip said, “[Nathanael] 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” (1:45).
My friends some of us are like Philip just waiting to be encouraged to follow Jesus so that we can go and tell others that Jesus is the hope of the world, the saviour. Clearly Philip already knew Nathanael. He was not just some random man in the street; and although Nathanael’s reply was quite blunt, he gladly and willingly came with Philip to see for himself.
There was some inter-village rivalry going on. Nazareth was not well thought of outside of Nazareth and so Nathanael said, “Nazareth! Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” but Philip simply said, “Come and see” (1:46). He wasn’t put off by a blunt reply and as Nathanael was prepared to check things out for himself he went with Philip to meet Jesus.
Friends, what have you been told about Jesus? What have you learnt about Jesus? My friends do you know Jesus as he really is – as the Bible presents him? Or are you basing your opinion of Jesus upon other’s opinions? Are you even thinking, “Can anything good come out of the church of England?” or “Can anything good come out of church”; or “can anything good come out of following Jesus in the 21st century”? or whatever your personal objection might be.
Nathanael had an objection but it didn’t stop him checking for himself and Jesus congratulated him for being a genuine, honest seeker, “in whom there is nothing false” (1:47). By that he meant that Nathanael was being open, straightforward and plain speaking.
Can I be open, straightforward and plain with you? We’ve baptised Sienna today and it’s been such a joy for me to do that, and a joy getting to know Steven, Jade and Ethan over the last 2 or 3 years.
Someone once said that if God had given the task of world evangelization to the Coke company it would probably be done by now; but he hasn’t. God calls us his church and every Christian believer to be ready and prepared to say to our friends, our neighbours, our children and our family these three words: “Come and see.” They might say, “Get lost” and they might ask, “Can anything good come from the church?” but time and time again I have seen people get to know Jesus as he really is. That’s the risen Lord Jesus who died on a Roman cross but rose from the dead 3 days later – I’ve seen people get to know Jesus and experience life, relationships, marriage and other people as God intends for us.
I pray that parents and godparents will continually say to Sienna, “Come and see. Come and see the real Jesus. Come and pray to the real Jesus. Worship Jesus. Live for Jesus. Come and see.” And I pray that Sienna will grow up to do the same for others. Amen.