I have always found immense comfort and understanding in the lives of Jesus’ disciples. While Jesus himself may honestly sometimes be hard for my human mind to relate to (being the son of God and God himself and all), the disciples I REALLY get. I get their fears. I get their doubt. I get their hesitations, their enthusiasm and their over-zealousness. They were doing back then what we are essentially trying to do today – follow Jesus! And so in looking at what Jesus taught them, what he asked them to do, what they did (or didn’t do), and what they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to do, we find a simple understanding of the very basics of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Last night I found myself in John 1 – as I always find myself in the gospels when I’m trying to get ‘back to basics’ – and read something I hadn’t noticed before:
The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.” The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.” They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.
When Andrew heard John the Baptist’s report of who Jesus was, he had to follow him. After spending the day with Jesus where he lived, Andrew didn’t just remain with Jesus and keep soaking in all the wonderful teaching and blessing for himself. No, immediately after he found Jesus, and found the place Jesus lived, the FIRST thing he did was go find his brother and lead him to Jesus, even though it was probably in the middle of the night!
The writer continues:
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.) Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
Whenever something is repeated in the Bible, especially in quick succession, there’s always an empashis trying to be made.
The first thing…
The first emphasis here is that these men after finding Jesus immediately went off to bring others to him. Mind you, these men weren’t yet disciples- Jesus had not yet asked Andrew or Simon (who had been called Peter) to leave their livelihood of fishing to follow him. They were not missionaries or prophets or pastors or evangelists. But once they encountered Jesus, they knew he was too good to keep to themselves. They had to bring people in on this- and they began with those closest to them, their family, friends and neighbors. There was an expediency – an urgency about it.
Come and see for yourself.
And they didn’t just provide these people with a report of who Jesus was. They didn’t go quoting the scripture and substantiating their claims of who Jesus was with hard historical evidence. They didn’t say, ‘Hey dude, I found the Messiah so you should follow him because I did!“ No, they understood that to see Jesus for who he really was, these people would have to see him for themselves, as they had. They did more than tell these people about Jesus – they gave them the opportunity to encounter him, and that’s the greatest way we can extend an invitation to others: by simply inviting them to come meet with him one-on-one.
The greatest instruction Jesus gave to us was the Great Commission – to go into all the world and make disciples of people. These men hadn’t even received any instructions, or even the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and yet instinctively, on finding the Source of Life, they IMMEDIATELY had to get others – the people closest to them – connected. And they did it with a simple invitation – the same invitation Jesus had given them: Come and see.
Who in your life could use a connection to Christ? Who do you know who needs a little bit of the light you’ve found to help them along their way? Having found what you’ve found in him, who are you willing to go run to and share that with? Knowing that time is running out and people NEED to meet Jesus, are you expedient about it? Your invitation doesn’t have to be elaborate – you honestly may not even have the words to explain what you’ve found – I know I often don’t. You don’t have to preach a sermon or perform a miracle – all you need to do is offer a simple invitation: Come to church/fellowship/this Christian concert with me and see for yourself.
Don’t keep Jesus all to yourself. Give someone the opportunity to taste and see his goodness!
I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.-Psalm 34:1-8