Have you ever been to a department store and not knowing where an item might be located you are looking for, ask a salesperson, where can I find it? Did the salesperson just tell you where it was and left you on our own to find it? Or did they take the time to walk you to where it was located and point it out to you? If so, he or she was walking with you and inviting you to come see where it was rather than just telling you it is located in aisle 10, shelf 3. When someone asks you about your Christian faith, do you just spout theology and your doctrinal beliefs and hand them a Bible and say, read this? Or do you invite them to come with you to church or a bible study and see for themselves? Do you walk with them and ask them to come and see for themselves?
This is what we read about in our Gospel lesson for this week, John 1: 43-51. Nathaniel was skeptical about who Jesus was and the apostle Phillip invites him to come and see for himself. After meeting Jesus, Nathaniel’s eyes and heart is opened to who Jesus is and he professes faith in him. He too will become an apostle. Philip’s words to Nathanael, “Come and see,” are a wonderful model for us in learning how to share our Christian faith with others and invite them into the experience of faith. Talking about our faith is often difficult. But there are many ways to say to others, “Come and see.” Anyone can do it. God does the rest.
“My religion is a private thing between me and God,” some will say. Well Jesus certainly didn’t feel that way, did he? He shared the Good News with everyone, whether a believer or not and invited all to follow him. In John chapter 38 we read where two of the disciples, Andrew, and Peter, are following him: “When Jesus saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?’ He said to them, “Come and see.” Christianity is not a set of teachings to understand. It is a person to follow. In our passage Sunday we read of Jesus asking Philip to “follow him.” If you step out and walk daily with him, Jesus will answer your questions, and you will discover far more than you even knew to ask. So, like Jesus, asks folks to come and see, and he will take it from there.
“Come and see.” Simple, open, inviting words. “When’s the last time you said to someone, ‘Come and see’?” There are many different ways to say the words. For example, maybe it’s as simple as saying to someone what your church means to you, or how it’s been helpful in your life. Maybe it’s inviting someone to come to church because they’re going through a tough time with business or family troubles. Maybe they’ve had a divorce, they’ve lost a spouse, or they’re lonely. Maybe they have a child who might enjoy the friendship of the youth group. Maybe inviting others is being willing to talk about how you feel God’s been at work in your life.
This is not about forcing Jesus, your faith, or your church, on anyone. It’s about being willing to say to someone in some small way, “This is what gives me life and hope, and keeps me going.” “This is what God’s love means to me.” “This is what my faith has meant to me.”
“Come and see” are words anyone can learn to say. You can say them. I can say them. Don’t worry. You can do it. Try it. You’ll find a way. Just three little words, “Come and see.” God will do the rest.
Blessings, Rev. Tim Pearce