JOHN 1:43-51 “COME AND SEE!”
Bible Background: John reports how the first disciples came to know Jesus. In this story (and the previous one), one who is ‘called’ by Jesus, finds another and passes the invitation along. This is a model for how we are ‘called’ to follow Jesus, and for how we pass along the invitation to know and follow Jesus!
Digging Deeper: 1. We step away from Mark’s gospel for a week to catch this exciting piece of John’s gospel! Jesus is revealed to us (after his baptism) and we hear the promise that “You will see greater things than these! …you will see heaven opened!” (Mark actually reported that glimpse of heaven being opened at the baptism of Jesus, which we read last week!)
2. Notice the chain of events: Jesus ‘finds’ Philip and invites him to follow>>>Philip goes and finds Nathanael and invites him to “Come and see” for himself>>>Nathanael does so! This is what discipleship is about: We tell others what we have seen and heard and experienced. We invite them to come and see. We encourage them to give the Christian faith and life a try!
3. Nathanael is described in two interesting ways: First, his response is skeptical: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Second, when Jesus meets him he says “Here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit”, which would seem like a nice compliment! The term “No deceit” is used to describe God’s suffering servant in Isaiah 53, and Paul quotes that verse to describe how we Christians are to lead our lives, and if need be-enduring suffering.
4. Nathanael’s prejudice and skepticism almost kept him from meeting Jesus. When do our various forms of prejudice keep us from seeing something or someone important?
5. Nathanael’s call to be a disciple is also a reminder that people can come to Jesus with honest questions and doubts! We aren’t “fully formed” disciples when we first respond to Jesus’ call.
6. John’s gospel shows that what matters is not that Jesus comes from Nazareth, but that Jesus comes from God! John also will share that it does not matter who you are or where you come from (example of man born blind; Samaritan woman at the well; woman caught in adultery; Nicodemus-Jewish leader). What matters is that you come to know Jesus so that you may have life in his name!