In March of 1984 I saw the mountains of Nepal for the first time. I didn’t actually see the mountains but I saw pictures of the mountains. My friend described it for me and the glimpses I got convinced me that someday I would just have to go and see for myself. “You gotta go!!” he told me. “It will change your life!”
Then that Fall I was able to go. For 3 weeks I trekked in the Himalayan mountains – the Annapurna range, made up of 10 mountains all over 20,000 ft. high. When I returned to the States I showed everyone my slides. “You just have to go!” I told everyone. “You just have to see for yourself.”
This pattern of someone telling a friend about something that they’ve seen or experienced shows up throughout the first chapter of John’s gospel.
- In verse 29 John the Baptist, who has met and baptized Jesus says to his disciples – “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” “He’s the one I’ve been telling you about. He’s the one you must follow now!”
- So two of John’s disciples do just that… and approach Jesus, asking him where he is staying (v. 38). Jesus replies “Come, and you will see.”
- One of those two disciples who end up spending the day with Jesus was Andrew. Andrew then goes to tell his brother Peter (v. 41) “We have found the Messiah!” He then brings Peter to Jesus.
- Finally, in verse 45, Philip – who has just met Jesus – goes to tell his friend Nathaniel, “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.” Nathaniel is not impressed, answering “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” But Philip persists saying “Come and see!”
All four of these conversations have similar elements and intent: “Come and see for yourself! Come and check it out! Don’t just take my word for it!”
Here are two thoughts I wish to leave you with this morning:
- As Christians, our witness is not arguing and convincing as much as it is leading people to Jesus. “Come and see for yourself. Please meet Jesus.”
In I John 1:3 we find these words: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard.” In other words, our simple witness is to just tell folks what our experience has been, and then invite them to meet Jesus as well. Of course, it assumes that if we are going to tell others about Jesus – then we need to make sure that we have been seeing and hearing from Jesus in our own lives. Merely talking about Jesus, while never actually getting to know him ourselves, will not result in convincing or powerful witness.
2. Christianity is not primarily a head religion but a heart religion. While knowledge is certainly important, our faith is primarily based on a relationship.
It’s possible to know a great deal about Jesus while never actually being a disciple of the Lord. We must meet Jesus and follow him. Pay attention to the order in today’s scripture (and throughout chapter 1). First – people meet Jesus. Then secondly – they believe and follow him.
Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.” Clearly, this is similar to the invitation that Jesus gave to Andrew and the other disciple in verse 39. “Come, and spend time with me. Let’s form a friendship and a trusting relationship. Let’s eat together!”
Let’s enjoy sharing time with Jesus this week! It will ensure that we, as individuals and as a church, will be more effective in leading others to that abundant life, promised to us through Jesus Christ.
(the above is a summary of the message shared during our zoom worship session on January 17, 2021.)