Good morning, happy Monday, and many blessings.
Today’s Gospel (John 1:35-42) is about John’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ calling of His disciples: “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’”
So, we see these two disciples of John seeking after Jesus, and Jesus knows they are seeking after Him, and He asks them, “What are you seeking?”
The disciples respectfully called Jesus “Rabbi” – “teacher” – and they asked Him where He was staying. Now, that may sound like they didn’t answer the question – but they did in this way – Jesus asked what they were seeking, and they answered that they wanted to be where He was.
So, Jesus told them to come and see – He invited them and tested them, because it was the tenth hour – it was
in the afternoon – it was the time of the evening sacrifice – it was almost evening – it would be dark soon. Were the disciples really drawn to Jesus with a draw that they were compelled to follow? Would they go with Jesus, even at that late hour? Or would they say, “No, we will come back tomorrow to hear you?” No, they went with Jesus – they were drawn to Him.
It’s interesting to think about what it would be like if we as members of the church were willing to ask each other and those around us what they’re looking for. It’s a fundamental question that applies to all of us. But all too often, I think, we assume we know what people are looking for. Or, really, we assume they’re looking for whatever we’re looking for. Jesus doesn’t make that assumption. Instead, he asks, “What are you looking for?”
And then comes the invitation. After the two disciples ask Jesus where he’s staying – perhaps intending to invite him over – Jesus says rather enigmatically, “Come and see.” Again, no sermon. Not even much of an answer. Just an invitation.
Our text doesn’t tell us where Jesus was staying. But wherever it was, you can be sure it was not opulent. Perhaps it was a cave or a vacant room somewhere. Wherever it was, the disciples would not be tempted to follow Jesus because of his excellent accommodations. They would see no worldly advantage in following Him. And so, Christ says, “Come and see what poor accommodations I have. Come and see, lest you follow me for the wrong reason.
Again, I think there’s something for us to learn here. Our job is to invite people to “come and see.” Not to invite them to convert, or to join, or to confess. Our primarily job as disciples of Jesus is to invite them to “come and see.”
I’ll say it again, evangelism, from this point of view, isn’t cramming our faith down someone’s throat or threatening them, it’s simply sharing what we’ve seen, asking folks what they’re looking for, and inviting them to come and see.