07 Oct Come and See
Marshall Griffin is a member of the Summit College Staff and the Campus Director for North Carolina State University.
“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” – John 1:43-46
Here in the Gospel of John, we see Jesus calling His first disciples. “Follow me,” says the Son of God, forever altering the lives of these men with a simple, two word invitation.
Take a closer look specifically at the call of Philip in this passage. The author writes that Jesus “found” Philip, giving this interaction a particular intentionality. Jesus does not gather a crowd and ask for a show of hands – “Who wants to follow me?” No, He finds Philip and extends His call personally. He seeks Philip out, meets him where he is, and makes this life-changing call face-to face. “Follow me.”
So how does Philip respond? What is the first step he takes after hearing the call of Christ? “Philip found Nathanael.” Just as Jesus went looking for Philip, Philip goes looking for Nathanael. He has to let him know! How can he not? This is the Messiah! This is what they’ve been looking for! This is what they’ve been waiting for!
However, Nathanael is a little more skeptical. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Really, Philip? You’ve found the Messiah…and he’s from Nazareth? Nathanael’s words drip with cynicism. He’s not so sure that the long-awaited Savior just happened to pop up out of nowhere today, especially if he hails from a sketchy village out in the boondocks. It’s hard to gauge just how intriguing Nathanael might find his friend’s passion and excitement, but one thing is clear: he’s not impressed with Jesus’ credentials and he’s certainly not in a rush to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
Yet Philip’s faith is undeterred. His appeal is short and simple. “Come and see.” He doesn’t pull out the scrolls to start an intense theological discussion of Old Testament prophecies. He doesn’t initiate a heated debate. He doesn’t threaten Nathanael with eternal condemnation. He figures that the best way to address his friend’s doubts is to bring Nathanael to see Jesus for himself. So, imitating Christ’s call on his own life, Philip issues a straightforward invitation. “Come and see.”
Nathanael accepts – he comes, he sees, and he believes. As a matter of fact, his skepticism lasts all of two sentences from Jesus before he proclaims, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
So, how does this story relate to your life on campus this year? Your goal is to imitate Philip. As you follow after Jesus, go and seek out others, just as Christ sought out you. Go, meet them where they are, get to know them, invest in their lives, their interests, and their well-being, and issue that same invitation. “Come and see!”
You will be met with doubts and skepticism, but your goal is not to shoulder the weight of convincing and converting, it is merely to speak of what you have seen. As your friends push back on your claims, they will sound much like Nathanael. “Can anything good come from religion?” “Can anything good come from the church?” “Can anything good come from Christianity?” “Can anything good come from denying my desires in order to obey Jesus?” Your reply should remain the same as Philip’s. “Come and see.”
Invite them into your community. Share the gospel with them. Tell them your personal story, how you have found redemption and hope in Christ alone. Read the Word together. Live life alongside one another, all the while praying and pointing and pleading for them to come and see for themselves if anything good could really come out of Nazareth.