08/31/M – Come and See

Judges 15:1-16:9; John 1:43-51; Psalms 102:23-28; Proverbs 22:13

NT: “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and told him, “Follow me.” …Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him. “Come and see,” Philip answered. Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus answered. “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!” Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”” (‭‭John‬ ‭1:43, 45-51‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost. As Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, we see that with Phillip. It says that Jesus found Phillip and called him to follow… then through Phillip, He found Nathanael. Even from the beginning of his relationship with Jesus, Phillip was the consummate evangelist. The first thing he did was find Nathanael and tell him the good news. Even when Nathanael’s response was less than thrilled, that didn’t deter Phillip. “Come and see for yourself,” was Phillip’s reply. Phillip didn’t first go to Bible school, or take a course on effective evangelism. He simply went to find Nathanael. When Nathanael gave him a skeptical response, Phillip didn’t get discouraged and walk away. He simply shared the good news of who he had found, and invited Nathaniel to see for himself. Evangelism isn’t hard, which is something that I need to remind myself of on a regular basis. We just need to share the good news with people and invite them to come and see. The big question is, what will they see when they respond to our invitation? Will they experience Jesus the way that Nathanael experienced Jesus or will they just experience people playing church? When Nathanael met Jesus, he experienced a 1 Corinthians 14 moment: the secrets of his heart were laid bare and he had no choice but to declare that Jesus was the Son of God. The same should and can happen when people “come and see” through us today. The phrase that Jesus spoke to Nathanael must have been incredibly insightful for it to illicit such a strong response. Apparently, Nathanael identified himself as someone who was integrous and authentic… always telling it like it was and not leading people into deception. The Patriarch Jacob (later named Israel) had the reputation of being a manipulator and a deceiver… and learned things the hard way. Nathanael must have prided himself in being the opposite – someone who complied with God’s laws and didn’t mislead anyone. We can even see that in his initial response to Phillip. He wasn’t going to mislead Phillip, so he plainly shared his thoughts around the possibility of the Messiah coming from such a disreputable place as Nazareth. When Jesus knew Nathanael that deeply without ever having met him, Nathanael was convinced. Jesus’ response to Nathanael’s declaration was quite telling. He was referring to Jacob’s dream of a ladder that bridged heaven and earth. Jesus basically told Nathanael that He was the ladder… He was the bridge between heaven and earth… He was God coming to man, and He was the way for man to get to God. By remaining with Jesus, Nathanael would experience the glory of God on earth and would experience people being reconciled to God. When Nathanael responded to Phillip’s invitation to come and see, he saw way more that what he expected. He saw the Son of God, the Hope of Mankind, and the Savior of the World. Again, what will people see in us? Are we bringing God to people and people to God through the Christ who dwells in us?

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