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Come and See!
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Jesus invites you to a winsome walk alongside him.
"Jesus beckoning." Illustrator unknown.
Jesus is down by the Jordan River where his cousin John is baptizing in what has become a national revival of sorts. People have flocked to this spot from all over Israel. There at the Jordan, Jesus himself comes one day to be baptized. There John sees a dove flutter from above and rest upon him as the anointing of the Holy Spirit settles upon him. And there, along the muddy, slow-moving Jordan River, John points his followers to Jesus and says, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."
John's followers look closely at this man -- a Nazarene, a Galilean like many of them. And when on the next day John points again to the man and says, "Behold, the Lamb of God," they become curious. John the Baptist knows him. The prophet has endorsed him. Who is this man?
Andrew, a fisherman from Galilee, goes over to him with a friend and they begin to follow him, quietly, a few feet behind him on the path. Jesus, sensing their presence, finally turns around and says, "Who are you looking for?" I don't think Jesus was upset. Rather, I think there was the hint of a smile in his eyes. The men don't know what to say. "Who are you looking for?" Jesus asks again.
Andrew fumbles with his words, then blurts out, "Teacher, where are you staying?" None of crowds who had come to the wilds of Jordan in those days of revival were locals. They were all from somewhere else -- Jerusalem, Judea, Perea, Galilee. Many camped out among the willows. Some stayed with friends in nearby Jericho. "Where are you staying?" Andrew inquired.
Jesus could have told them a location, a house, but he doesn't. Rather, he says with a cryptic smile and a toss of his head in the direction of the road ahead, "Come and see. Come along."
He knows what they want, what they seek. He knows their deep spiritual hunger. And he knows that it cannot be satisfied by answering a question or two. Their hunger can only be quieted by walking with the Son of God -- trudging along in the dusty path at his side. Talking. Asking. They've now joined him in the path and are finding in this journey a joy, a contagious joy.
A Contagious Joy
Andrew finds his older brother Simon. Seldom does Andrew get a chance to lead Simon. Usually it's the other way around.
"Simon, Simon," he says, running up to him. "We've found him! We've found the Messiah." Simon follows his brother and meets the man. Jesus looks deep into Simon's eyes and then says to him in all seriousness. "You -- Simon son of John -- I'm going to call you Peter, 'Rock.'" Simon Peter doesn't know what to say, but he begins to follow the Teacher as well.
Jesus seeks out another man -- Philip -- a man Peter and Andrew hang out with, since they come from the same fishing village up north in Galilee. And Philip finds his friend Nathanael. Nathanael isn't so impressed. He huffs, "When have you ever known anyone from Nazareth to be worth anything!" A bit of pride, superiority, prejudice, skepticism. Philip doesn't argue. He doesn't try to convince Nathanael. Instead, he repeats the same invitation that Jesus had given Andrew in the beginning: "Come and see!"1
Mind and Heart
Deeper than the inquiring mind is the hungry heart.
There is an important place for apologetics in winning people to Christ. In synagogues across the Mediterranean, Paul used Scripture, logical analysis, and the give-and-take of disputation to clear away obstacles and point people to Jesus. But deeper than the inquiring mind is the hungry heart. And the hungry heart can be satisfied only with a true relationship -- begun in hope and nurtured with love.
Some years ago a man began attending church with his Christian wife. He was attracted to Christianity, but considered himself an agnostic. Should I invite him to the small discipleship group I was leading at a local restaurant on Tuesday evenings? I was trying to lead these men deeper. Wouldn't a skeptic stall the momentum I was trying to build?
I ended up inviting him to join us and he came week by week. Rather than explain everything to him, I just included him in what we were doing. He began to join in the discussions we were having around God's Word. As he walked with us Jesus-followers, his faith grew to a point where he began to pray. And one night, months later and a thousand miles from our town, God miraculously answered an earnest prayer he had offered in hope. He met our Jesus and now began to follow him deliberately along the way.
Come closer. Oh, I'm not there yet, you say. I'm not ready to make a commitment. I'm not asking for a commitment now, says the Master, just walk with me for a while. Let's hang out together. And then, perhaps, you'll begin to get the picture. Then, maybe, you'll begin to understand. Come and see.
Abiding, continuing, hanging out. That's the path to faith, the path to growth, the path to freedom. Jesus once told some countrymen who believed him, "If you abide in my word, if you continue in what I am saying, then you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and this truth will set you free."2 Faith, you see, comes through hearing and processing and pondering. This faith comes through exposing yourself to the message of Christ and the Presence of Christ. Gradually you acknowledge his words to be true. You acknowledge Him to be true.3
Perhaps you're wondering if this Jesus is really the One you're seeking. The One who will satisfy your deep sense of longing. Who will heal and fill your incompleteness with himself. Come and see. Try walking with him, and you'll come to know him.
Walking at His Pace
Maybe in your own way you've been walking with the Lord for many years, but you sense you're in a rut. You're stuck. Maybe you're even a leader or a pastor. You're moving in his direction, but not at his pace. You've lagged behind. The joy is missing. I know about that. I was pretty light on prayer myself for way too long.
I see him on the road up ahead beckoning to you. "Come on up here, talk with me for a while. Come and see." Touched at his kindness, you run up to where he is, and now begin to keep pace with him so you can hear him as he shares and questions, teaches and challenges. Now you're listening. Now you're talking to him. Now you're engaged. Now you're alive. Now you're free.
Whoever you are, wherever you are on this Way, Jesus invites you to walk closer to him. To catch up, to actually walk alongside him, and so find yourself, your sweet-spot, your Life, your Lord. Come and see!
 This story is based on the account of Jesus at the Jordan encountering his first disciples in John 1:29-51.
 John 8:31.
 Romans 10:17.
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