Two men, who up to this point have been disciples of John the Baptist, get caught in the act of following Jesus, and they don’t really know what to say. I wonder if they mumbled for awhile while they figured out what to say? “Uh…uh…umm” Clearly they had not thought this through. They just figured Jesus was important, based on John twice calling him the Lamb of God and saying that the Holy Spirit rested on him, so they were curious. They might have been trying to be sneaky. And Jesus caught them.
In John 1, verse 38, Jesus turns to them and says, “What do you want?” Like I said in the previous post, I totally get that question, because if strangers were following me, it is the right question to ask. “What do you want?”
All the two men can come up with is the really awkward question, “Where are you staying?” What would you ask Jesus if you got the chance? You might be just as tongue-tied and awestruck and dumbfounded as they were. We might say something as boring as “Uh…We really got more rain yesterday than we thought, didn’t we?” or some other nonsense.
But Jesus is ready with what appears to be a gracious response, “Come…and you will see.” There is so much more in that brief phrase than just, “Oh, you want to come over to my house? OK, sure.” Jesus is subtly inviting them into a whole new world, and it is almost certain the those two men had no idea what they were in for.
The first words of discipleship, then, are “Come and see.” This invitation is all it takes. We can over-complicate the matter, thinking that people need to sign off on the 25 Articles of Faith or some other doctrinal statement. Jesus is not very concerned about what the disciples believe at this point. Of course, as we have seen already in our study of John’s Gospel, that word “believe” is central, and Jesus will get to talking about it with his disciples. But not on Minute 1, Hour 1 or Day 1. At that initial moment, he simply says, “Come and See.”
When you are interacting with people who might not be followers of Jesus, take this cue from Jesus himself, and invite them simply to “come and see.” Or very similarly to what the psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” David wrote those words, found in Psalm 34 verse 8, reflecting on the time he pretended to be insane when he was in trouble in enemy territory. Like David, there are plenty of situations in life that give us good reasons to be anxious, upset, scared, or angry. Jesus’ calm invitation to come and see is just what we need, and it is the invitation that all people need. When we experience Jesus, we will see that he is good, or like he once said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus issues this call of discipleship to us, “Come and see” and what we will find is amazing.