“Come and see” John 1:39
Four verbs in the Gospel reading speak to us about our lives as Christians: come, see, followed, and brought.
In Saint John Chapter 1 Verse 39, Jesus says to two of those who listened to him, “Come and see.”
“Come”: being a Christian demands a response, it is not something that just happens. Are we people who respond, or do we wait for things to happen to us? Many people in churches assume that when Jesus says “come,” he is not talking to them. Many people feel that responding is something that is done by other people, that it is for enthusiasts, that it is not a call to everyone. Yet if the two men to whom Jesus spoke had not done as Jesus said, if they had not come to the house where he was staying, they would not have heard the Good News. If we sit and listen and think that nothing is expected of us, we are in danger of missing our opportunity. In Jesus, God comes to be with us, God comes to share in our lives. Jesus is inviting us to come to share in the life he offers us, but he is not going to compel us. Being a Christian is about us responding, about we ourselves deciding to move from where we are. “Come” says Jesus, calling us to be people who respond.
“See,” says Jesus. The listeners are invited not only to respond, but also to experience for themselves the Good News that Jesus brings. Someone else might have described it to them, but it is only through first-hand experience that they find what Jesus means. Sometimes people in churches assume that it is enough for someone else to experience the changes that Jesus brings, it is enough for someone else to describe to them what the Good News means. The two disciples would never have accepted that argument, they would have told us that we need to experience things for ourselves. They spend hours listening, finding out things at first-hand. Being a Christian means having our own faith, it means being able to talk at first-hand about what that faith means to us.
The third verb is “followed.” Verse 40 says, “One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” To follow Jesus made a demand upon Andrew, it demanded he give up his former life, it demanded he give up his work and his home and security, it demanded he give up his family and his friends and his community. Andrew knows right from the beginning that to be a follower of Jesus is not going to be easy. How seriously do we take the idea of following Jesus? Is being a Christian about our activity on a Sunday morning, or is it something that shapes every part of our lives? Andrew would have been baffled at the idea of people thinking that they could be Christian for one part of their lives and could think that there was no need to try to follow Jesus. If we were ask if we are followers, what answer would we be able to give?
The final verb is “brought.” We read in Verses 41-42, “He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus.” Andrew is remembered as the first missionary because he is the first person to go and tell someone else about Jesus, he is the first person to go out with the Good News. Hearing Jesus invitation to “come and see,” having “followed” Jesus, Andrew realizes that a further step is demanded of him, he realizes that he must share what he has heard, what he has seen, what he has experienced. Bringing the Good News to others is the part of being a Christian that most church members find the most difficult. People might be happy with the idea that they must come and see, and with the thought that they must follow, but to bring their faith to others is difficult; it might mean mockery, it might bring rejection, it might cause trouble. How happy are we with the idea that the Good News must be brought to others?
Four simple verbs challenge us about our response, about our experience, about our commitment, and about our courage: come, see, follow and bring.