"Come and See!"
"Come and See!"
After Jesus called Philip, Philip found Nathanael and told him "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael was reluctant to believe Philip. He answered, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" To which Philip replied, "Come and see." (John 1:43-46).
There must have been excitement in Philip's voice as he told Nathanael of his find. Philip believed that he was right, that Jesus of Nazareth was the one Moses and the prophets had said would come, that this Jesus was the Christ. To Philip this was a truth worth having and worth sharing. If he was right, the consequences of his discovery would not be just "life-changing," but eternal. Nathanael, on the other hand, was confident that Philip was mistaken, and he had good reason, he thought, to reject Philip's dictum- no good thing could come out of Nazareth.
Though sincere (John 1:47), Nathanael was mistaken. It was a preconceived idea that initially kept him from accepting the truth. Perhaps Nathanael knew of or had heard of bad things done by people from Nazareth and assumed that all who were from Nazareth were evil. Hence, he deduced that the Christ could not be from Nazareth. Perhaps he, like others of his day (John 7:41), was simply ignorant of prophecies that associated the Christ with Nazareth of Galilee (Matthew 2:23). Whatever the reason for Nathanael's inceptive conclusion, he was wrong, and had he not been willing to accept Philip's invitation to "come see," he might have missed an opportunity to meet Jesus and to become one of His disciples.
Philip's invitation to Nathanael, "come see," was an earnest plea to Nathanael to assess the facts and then make a decision about Jesus- a decision based on truth, not on hearsay, prejudice, or ignorance. What harm could come from an honest investigation? If Nathanael saw nothing or heard nothing to change his mind about Jesus, he was under no obligation to believe that Jesus was the Christ. Perhaps he could even dissuade Philip from believing that Jesus was the one of whom Moses and the prophets spoke if there was no real evidence to support the claim or if there was evidence to the contrary. Fortunately for Nathanael, Philip invited him to "come see," and he accepted the invitation. Through this invitation and investigation, Nathanael learned that his earlier thoughts were wrong- something good could come out of Nazareth! Jesus was the "Son of God," and as a disciple of Jesus, Nathanael would later see "heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of God " (John 1:47-51).
Today, people often differ in matters of religion. Everyone may be sincere, but that does not mean everyone is right. We may be like Nathanael. We may have leaped to unwarranted conclusions about important matters. Perhaps the answer is "come see." By that we mean that we should invite people to earnestly investigate and discuss our beliefs. One should not make judgments based on prejudices or hearsay, but rather make judgments after considering all scriptures pertinent to the matter.
Many have heard "strange things" about the church of Christ and have determined that we are not right. They think that we who are members of the church of Christ teach that one is saved by works and not by grace, or by water and not by the blood of Jesus, because we teach one should be baptized to be saved. Some think members of the church of Christ are too narrow-minded or arrogant for teaching that there is one church or that everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will not be saved. Many of the "strange things" people hear about the church are either misunderstandings or "strange sounding" because people do not know the scriptures. "Come see."
May we all be as gracious and courageous as Philip to share with others what we believe is truth and to invite them to "come see." May we be as sincere as Nathanael, willing to "come see" and willing to change when we are shown to be wrong. Blessed are those in whom the Lord sees no guile (John 1:47).