Invitations

… Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

John 1:38-39 (ESV)

At this point, John’s ministry begins to fade and Jesus’ ministry starts to grow. Read the gospels, especially Mark, and you’ll notice Jesus’ following increasing exponentially. One day He’s virtually unknown, and a week later great crowds follow Him everywhere. And the crowds get bigger as times goes on. In Acts, Jesus’ followers increase by the thousands per day. Today there are millions of people who at least claim to follow Jesus.

It all began here with a multitude of two. Messiah-spotters Andrew and (presumably) John, having found the One they were looking for, immediately followed Jesus.

Jesus, noticing them, turns around and asks them what they want. And they respond with a title and destination.

The young men called Jesus ‘Rabbi’, a term of great respect. As far as we know, they’re the first to call Jesus this. It’s a title they previously applied to the Baptiser. Now they gave Jesus this title in hope that He would be open to having them become His disciples.

The destination, ‘where are you staying?’, expressed this desire further. A disciple wants to be with his master. Andrew and John wanted to spend time getting to know Jesus. If Jesus invited them, then their becoming His disciples was practically guaranteed.

Their wish is granted. Jesus invites them to come, and they get to spend time communing with Him. As they talk and listen to what He has to say, they’re even more convinced who Jesus is (just like the Samaritans later in chapter 4). Andrew is so thrilled, he can’t keep the good news to himself…

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

John 1:40-42 (ESV)

Simon was probably not a disciple of John, but his brother had likely kept him up-to-date on all John taught. Now Andrew was excitedly telling him, ‘The Messiah is here! In town now! I’ve seen Him and talked with Him! Simon, come and see!’.

When they come back to Jesus, Jesus speaks Simon’s name (‘You are Simon Johnson’), and then foretells what he will be known as: Peter, a stone… whatever that means. Jesus doesn’t explain right away.

Not that it matters. Jesus doesn’t call him ‘Peter’ again for three more years, until He approaches Jerusalem for the last time (Matthew 16:18).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

John 1:43 (ESV)

Philip is the first recorded person that Jesus called to follow. The others, Peter, Andrew, and John, would receive their formal calling later.

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

John 1:44-46 (ESV)

Like Andrew, Philip wasted no time in spreading the good news. He found Nathanael (which most scholars identify as Bartholomew) and said the equivalent of ‘We have found the Messiah’. Philip mistakenly calls Him the son of Joseph, an error Jesus will rectify over time. In response to Nathanael’s skepticism, Philip gives the familiar invitation: ‘Come and see!’

Have you seen Jesus? To ‘come and see’ is an invitation to know Him. In Greek the word ‘see’ is eido, which when used in the perfect tense, also means full, conscious knowledge. Jesus used this word when He told the Pharisees they didn’t know Him or His Father:

They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know {eido} neither me nor my Father. If you knew {eido} me, you would know {eido} my Father also.”

John 8:19 (ESV)

The Pharisees saw Jesus, and yet didn’t see Him. For the most part they didn’t believe He was the Messiah. But Andrew, Peter, John, Philip, and (soon) Nathanael did. Their knowledge surpassed the religious experts from the beginning.

Perhaps you are like the Pharisees: seeing and yet unseeing. Maybe you believe in Jesus the historical figure or the good man, or perhaps you’re having trouble overcoming doubts. You haven’t arrived at full, conscious knowledge of who Jesus is. If so, the invitation is still open: come and see!

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