This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 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.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:35-51 (NKJV)
The phrase come and see is repeated three times in the Gospel of John. Only the book of Revelation, also written by John, cites that specific phrase more than the Gospel of John does. Come and see describes a part of the uniqueness of John’s gospel. He is not inviting us to merely know or understand. He is inviting us to experience Christ personally, and from that personal experience, we will know and understand Him.
The setting for this passage of scripture is the same as the passage we looked at yesterday, but the point of view has changed from John the Baptist to John (the writer of this gospel) and Andrew. They hear John the Baptist’s words and recognize something is going on. They just are not sure what exactly it is. Rather than holding back and letting the moment pass them by, John and Andrew begin following Jesus.
God honors the seekers.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NKJV)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV)
John and Andrew could have held back. They could have quietly processed what they observed, perhaps even sensed, among themselves, but something drew them out, and they followed. That is the nature of a seeker.
Another word used in scripture compatible with seeking is hunger. After many humbling missteps and oversteps in my personal spiritual journey, I determined I might not always be the smartest or the wisest person in the room, but no one could ever doubt my hunger. Spiritual hunger is an honorable character trait in the eyes of God.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
A seeker hungers for God and presses on toward God despite failings and missteps. A seeker recognizes the truth of God’s presence stirs something within his inner man which the seeker may not be able to describe, but he refuses to ignore.
What Do You Seek?
Notice the answer Andrew and John gave to Jesus when Jesus asked them what they sought. They answered, “Rabbi, where are You staying?” When you don’t know the answer to the question, ask another question to divert.
A seeker does not always know what he is seeking. He just knows there is more. He knows there is something else. He is willing to reveal his own ignorance if it means he can find that “something” that is calling to him from beyond the borders of his current understanding.
Come and See
It is the heart of the seeker that Jesus invites not simply to know the answer but to experience the answer. Jesus could have answered their question, even the questions they did not know to ask. He could have given them knowledge and understanding, but He invited them to something more profound. Come and see! Experience it for yourself.
The life of spirit and faith is a life of adventure. We do not get all the answers at the beginning of the journey. The lack of answers or understanding may seem confusing and even frustrating at many points. Welcome to the pathway our spiritual ancestors from Abraham to John the Revelator walked. The experience of Christ means treading into the deep waters of the unknown. It is taking the risk for the sake of the reward.
The Experience Changes Us
Come and see for yourself! Our spiritual walk is not simply about finding answers. It is about journeying, an experience of pilgrimage, in which we change through the highs and the lows of the journey.
By the end of this passage, Andrew has shared his findings with his brother Peter. Notice that Andrew shares an insight, “We have found the Messiah,” but he has no evidence upon which to base that claim yet. Andrew simply knows. He is embarking upon an experience, and, as we all want to do with any significant experience, he wants to share the experience.
By the end of the gospel of John, we will find all three of these men, Peter, Andrew, and John, far different at the end of this experience than they were at the beginning. The privilege of experiencing the grace and truth of Christ holds a far more profound impact on the transformative process than knowledge alone could ever achieve.
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