John 1:43-51 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 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.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[a] you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
If only we could be more like Philip. As Jesus is beginning his public ministry and calling disciples to follow him, Jesus is met with different reactions from the disciples. Two extremes are found in today’s reading from John. When Jesus calls Philip to follow him, Philip doesn’t put up a fight. He simply follows Jesus. Not Nathanael. Nathanael needs some more persuasion not only from Jesus, but also from Philip. Philip doesn’t give up on Nathanael. When Nathanael hears that Philip thinks he found the “One,” the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold, Nathanael can’t wrap his head around this idea. His question of anything good coming out of Nazareth is not putting down the people of Nazareth. Rather, Nathanael cannot wrap his head around this notion that the Messiah is actually with them. This person, whom the prophets said would come and save the Israelites, is here, with them now.’
All it takes is three words—“Come and See”—for Nathanael to agree to at least meet Jesus. Philip could have made fun of Nathanael for not believing him or he could have left Nathanael behind because he didn’t like his response. But he didn’t. He chose to offer an invitation; come and see for yourself and make up your mind. And when Nathanael agrees to meet Jesus he sees for himself that Jesus is the Messiah. Without the invitation from Philip, Nathanael would have kept thinking the same; that the Messiah is not among them and that certainly, the Messiah wouldn’t come from Nazareth. This is the same invitation that was offered to us and that we are called to offer to others. Our job, as disciples of Christ, is to issue those three words—“Come and See”—to those who need to hear it. We don’t need to convince others that Jesus is the Messiah. We simply need to offer the invitation for others to come and see what God has done for us and how we have been blessed with God’s grace. We have found the Messiah! “Come and See.”
Help us, O God, to be more like Philip. Give us the courage to invite others to share in the awesome gift you have given us, your Son Jesus, and to share our faith with the world. Amen.
Written by Pastor Adam Connolly—Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship firstname.lastname@example.org