If someone issued an invitation by simply saying, “Come and see,” would you be excited? Anxious? Not budging until you have all the details? Or a mix of reactions?
In John 1:35-50, several men are called to come and see Jesus.
Andrew and his brother Peter, Philip, and Nathanael are all invited.
When we meet Andrew, he is a follower of John the Baptist. We don’t know if Andrew was intentionally looking for the Messiah of whom John prophesied, but when Andrew encounters Jesus, he realizes He is Messiah. Upon his encounter, Andrew quickly found his brother, Simon (later called Peter) and encouraged him to come and see the Messiah.
Philip and Nathanael are called next, and their different personalities are displayed in their responses. Upon hearing Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me,” Philip seems to join without hesitation. (John 1:43) Nathanael, upon hearing Jesus came from Nazareth, is skeptical. “Come and see,” Philip insists, and Nathanael complies. (John 1:46) When he meets Jesus face-to-face, Jesus shows Nathanael he is truly seen and known, and Nathanael declares, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!” (John 1:44-50)
Each man had his own reason to follow Christ. None of them knew what would be in store for them. They simply followed, not knowing what lay ahead.
Come and see, Jesus invited them.
So they came with Jesus, surrendering their lives, families, and livelihoods.
Everyone present was astounded at the miracle. Truly, from three fish and two loaves of bread (in those days a “loaf” was probably not much larger circumferentially than a tortilla), Christ multiplied baskets upon baskets of leftover food. Definitely a miracle!
But were those present just as astounded by Jesus?
Jesus wanted His followers to see past the miracle of the food. He wanted them to understand that abundant life wasn’t found in a barley loaf and dried fish. Rather, abundant life was found in Him, the Bread of Life, the Living Water. (John 6:35-40; John 4:7-26)
“Jesus answered, ‘Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.’
‘What can we do to perform the works of God?’ they asked.
Jesus replied, ‘This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.’”
Jesus’ words to His followers echo the prophet Isaiah’s call, who prophesied about Jesus generations earlier, “Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1)
Jesus’ followers needed to hunger for more than paltry fish and crumbs.
He wanted them to hunger and thirst for Him.
This invitation to abundance is for you as well, dear sister.
As when He called Andrew and Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael, Jesus’ invitation to us includes an underlying caveat: total surrender.
The call to come and see
doesn’t explain every detail,
doesn’t assure safety,
doesn’t put us in control of plans or the future.
To follow Jesus means completely surrendering ourselves to Him and His plans for our lives.
Surrender and spiritual thirst are also found in John 4:28-30 where Jesus intentionally engages in conversation with a Samaritan woman. This time it isn’t Jesus who extends a come and see invitation, but the Samaritan woman. After encountering the Messiah, who knows everything about her as an outcast and loves her anyway, she ran back to her village saying, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29)
She risked everything to tell her people. She knew surrendering to Jesus was worth risking public ridicule to communicate truth. Speaking to Jesus, she discovered her worth again. She surrendered her past, her guilt and shame because of Jesus.
Her invitation started the first recorded revival in Scripture.
Those whom Jesus called then, with their faults, dark pasts, and sinful ways, weren’t very different from those He calls today. Yet, they surrendered everything to follow Christ.
What have you already surrendered for Jesus?
What is He calling you to surrender more deeply today?
What has Jesus shown you with His invitation to come and see?
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