Come and You will See

by LA UBF   09/09/2006     0 reads


"Come and You Will See"

"Come and You Will See"


John 1:35-51

Key verse 1:39

1. Read verses 35-36. What does John's testimony reveal about Jesus?  What can we learn from John?  

2. Read verses 37-38.  Why did Jesus ask the disciples following him, “What do you want?”  Why do you think it is important to consider this question carefully in following Jesus?  

3.  Read verse 39.  What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Come, and you will see”?  How can we “come” to Jesus and “see”?

4. Read verses 40-42.  Why do you think Andrew went first to his brother, Simon, after spending the day with Jesus?  What do you think, "We have found the Messiah" meant to Andrew?  Why do you think Jesus gave Simon the name Cephas? 

5.  Read verses 43-46.  How did Philip become a disciple of Jesus?  What does Philip's testimony about Jesus reveal about him?  How did Philip help Nathanael to overcome his prejudice against people from Nazareth?  

6.  Read verses 47-51.  How did Jesus amaze Nathanael?  What was Nathanael's testimony about Jesus?  What promise did Jesus make?  



Come, and You Will See�

Come, and You Will See

John 1:35-51

Key verse 1:39

"Come," he replied, "and you will see."  So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him.  It was about the tenth hour.

In this passage, we see Jesus' first encounter with some of his disciples.  In each case, after meeting Jesus each disciple had a testimony about Jesus that they wanted to share with others.  Through this passage, we learn the importance of coming to Jesus and meeting him personally.

Part 1. We have found the Messiah

Look at verses 35-38.  The first two disciples to follow Jesus were originally disciples of John the Baptist.  When John saw Jesus passing by, he said to them, "Look, the Lamb of God!"  Why did John describe Jesus as the Lamb of God?  The origin of this expression comes from the Passover, recorded in Exodus 12.  At that time, God commanded the Israelites to put the blood of a lamb on the door frames of their houses so that God's judgment against Egypt would pass over them when God struck down the firstborn of Egypt.  The LORD said in Exodus 12:13: "The Blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."  After this passover, God commanded the Israelites to commemorate the passover each year to that they would remember how the blood of the lamb saved them from God's judgment and delivered them from their cruel slavery.  The Passover lamb foreshadowed the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God.  As the Lamb of God, Jesus is the perfect sin offering for the sins of the world.  By his blood we are healed of our sin sicknesses, saved from God's judgment, and set free to worship and serve God.  

When John's disciples heard this, they were shocked and the desire to find out about Jesus arose in their hearts.  They had received the baptism of repentance from John, but John himself testified that Jesus was the only one who could take away their sins.  So they followed Jesus to see for themselves if he was the Lamb of God.  

When Jesus turned around and saw them following him, he said, "What do you want?"  I don't know for sure whether Jesus had any deeper meaning in asking this question. It is reasonable to assume that Jesus knew what they wanted, but he asked them anyway. In following Jesus, this is a good question for each of us to consider: "What do I want?"  Sometimes we don't know what we want in following Jesus. We are not even sure what we are doing and why we are doing it.  Perhaps at one time we knew exactly what we wanted in following Jesus, but over time the desires of this world can creep in and choke our our sincere spiritual desire.  What about these disciples?  What did they want? They said, "Rabbi, where are you staying?"    By this, they meant that they wanted to stay with Jesus and be his disciples--just as they had been John's disciples. Their desire to know Jesus  more was the fruit of John the Baptist's ministry.  John's life-mission was to lead people to Jesus, and his message was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Through John's ministry of baptism and repentance, these disciples repented of their worldly passions and desires and developed a noble desire to know the truth of God. Most of all, they wanted to know the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Is this what you want?  If not, or if your not sure, it is probably time to repent of worldly desires and come to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away our sins.  

How did Jesus respond to their request?  Look at verse 39: "'Come,' he replied, 'and you will see.'"  Jesus invited these two men to come to his place and have personal fellowship with him.  Looking at all of this from the outside, it does not seem that special.  But if we put ourselves in the sandals of the disciples who were following Jesus, we can see that this was the most important moment in their lives.  This was the time when they first  met Jesus. 

Look at verses 40-41.  After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew was full of joy and excitement. The first thing he did was find his brother, Simon, and tell him the good news: "We have found the Messiah."  Messiah means "the anointed one" in Hebrew, and it is translated as Christ in Greek. In those days, many of the Jews were waiting for God to send the Messiah--a king who would establish God's kingdom on earth forever.  Andrew was also looking for the coming of the Christ.  No one told Andrew that Jesus was the Messiah--not even John said this directly.  But after coming to Jesus and spending the day with him, Andrew had no doubt in his heart about who Jesus was.  We don't know exactly what finding the Messiah meant for Andrew, but we can see from this passage that it filled him with such great joy and excitement that he could not keep it to himself.  Andrew's actions show that his knowledge about Jesus was not merely academic--it meant something to him personally.  Just as Andrew met Jesus personally as the Messiah, we, too, can meet Jesus personally when we accept his invitation to "come and see."  Jesus is not physically with us, but we can "come" to him in spirit through the word of God and prayer.  

I met Jesus personally for the first time on when I was in high school.  I decided to read the Bible out of curiosity. First, I read Revelation, which was a shocking experience for me.  Through this, I began to realize something about God's holiness, and I also realized that I was totally ignorant about the Bible.  I began reading Matthew's gospel, and as I read Jesus' sermon on the Mt., my heart burned within me.  But what really struck my heart was what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  I was shocked and worried to discover that in God's eyes I was an adulterer because I lusted after women in magazines.  Through this verse, God helped me to repent by throwing away all of the magazines--and immediately afterward I felt strangely like something had changed in my life.  Soon, I found that there was peace in my heart and I no longer wanted to fight with my brother.  Later, I met Jesus again more personally through Romans 1:5: "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."  Through this verse, I could see God's grace upon my life to forgive my sins and to give me a Bible teacher, and I saw that God's grace came together with apostleship, so I accepted God's call for me to be a Bible teacher for college students.  This was another major life-changing experience for me, and I found my identity as a servant of God.  And yet, as I study this passage again today, I see that I still need to come to Jesus and meet him more personally.  For the past several years, God has been helping me to know Jesus personally as the vine. In John 15:5, Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  Because I thought that I could do something on my own, I have had a hard time remaining in Jesus.  But little by little, God has been humbling me and showing me that on my own I can do nothing.  I thank God for this.  I can personally testify that ever since I came to Jesus, I have been blessed to see more and more of who he is. May God help each of us to come to Jesus and see who he is more personally.  

Look at verse 42.  Jesus looked at Simon and said, "You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas."  Cephas means "rock." With this name, Jesus planted the vision in Simon's heart to be transformed from an ordinary fisherman into a spiritual rock.  Thus, Simon Peter met Jesus personally as the one who had God's vision for his life.  

Part 2. We have found the one Moses and the Prophets wrote about 

Look at verses 43-44: "The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, 'Follow me.'"  The way Philip met Jesus was very different from both Andrew and Simon.  Instead of coming to Jesus, Jesus came to him and said, "Follow me."  This was God's grace to Philip.  

How did Philip respond to this?  Verse 45 says, "Philip found Nathanael and told him, 'We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the Prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.'"  Like Andrew, Philip was so full of joy after meeting Jesus that he had to share the good news with someone else, so he found his friend, Nathanael.  Philip's testimony about Jesus was different from Andrew's.  Philip described Jesus as the one Moses and the Prophets wrote about, which shows that Philip was familiar with the Scriptures.  The first prophesy about Jesus is found in Genesis 3:15, where God promised that the offspring of woman would crush the serpent's head, referring to Jesus' victory over the devil.  Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:15: "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him."  The prophet Isaiah also prophesied about Jesus when he wrote in Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  The Law of Moses and the Prophets are full of many more prophesies about Jesus.  

How is it that Philip could see that Jesus was the one Moses and the Prophets wrote about after only briefly meeting Jesus as he did?  It was because Philip obeyed Jesus' calling to follow him.  Many people try to know who Jesus is without making any commitment to follow him. Instead of following Jesus, they rely on Bible knowledge. Philip could have easily been one of these people. He had a lot of Bible knowledge, but he did not know the Messiah personally. As a result, his life had no clear direction. Just knowing the scriptures about the Messiah was not enough--he needed to follow the real Messiah. That is why Jesus found him and said, "Follow me."  Only when we follow Jesus can we really know who he is--and only then does our Bible knowledge become valuable, for the whole Bible points us to Jesus.  

Philip reminds me of my own case.  I grew up in a Christian home, and as a teenager I began reading the Bible, and in college I began studying the Bible.  Yet despite my basic foundation of Bible knowledge, I still didn't know Jesus very well.  I knew in my head that Jesus was the one worthy of my life-devotion and commitment, but it was not until I accepted God's specific calling to be a Bible teacher for college students that I deeply accepted this in my heart.  When I did so, I became full joy and thankfulness to God.  

Like Andrew, after meeting Jesus personally, Philip made a personal confession of who Jesus was, and he also shared this good news with another person--his friend, Nathanael.  But Nathanael had a hard time believing Philip because he said that Jesus was from Nazareth.  Nathanael said, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"  Apparently, Nazareth did not have a very good reputation in those days.  Philip did not try to argue with Nathanael about Nazareth. Instead, he simply said, "Come and see."  From Philip we learn the way to help others come to Jesus. Rather than trying to answer all their questions and argue against all of their prejudices, we must simply invite them to come and see Jesus for themselves. 

Part 3.  You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel

Look at verses 47-51.  When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false?"  Jesus knew what kind of person Nathanael was.  He was a devout Israelites who sincerely struggled to obey God.  His struggle was lonely and he thought that no one understood him.  But to his surprise, Jesus understood him perfectly. He said, "How do you know me?"  Then Jesus said to him, "I saw you while you were still under a fig tree before Philip called you."  After hearing this, Nathanael said, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."    

His confession of faith is  unique in that both God and King are the objects of devotion and loyalty.  As Jesus said, Nathanael was a true Israelite in whom there was nothing false.  He was a pure-hearted man who struggled hard to live a holy and righteous life.  He didn’t want to mess up his life with alcohol, drugs, or sexual immorality.  Nor did he want to use his life working just to secure three meals a day and a roof over his head. But the problem was that, with such a pure heart and character, there was nothing he wanted to devote himself to in this world.  He could find nothing worthy of his life dedication or loyalty.  So, without knowing what to do with his life, he was sitting under the fig tree.  But when Jesus said to him, “Here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false," Nathanael was shocked that someone knew him and understood him.  Until now, Nathanael thought that only God knew his struggle and understood him.  So, he asked Jesus, "How do you know me?"  Then Jesus told him that he saw him under the fig tree, and Nathanael realized that Jesus was the Son of God.  He also recognized Jesus as his king--the one whom he could give his complete devotion and loyalty to.  Nathanael was so happy when he realized who Jesus was.  From then on, he would use his life to worship and serve only Jesus, his God and King.

After hearing Nathanael's confession, Jesus said to him, "You believe because I told you I saw you under a fig tree.  You shall see greater things than that."  He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."  This picture reminds us of Jacob's dream in Genesis 28.  There, Jacob saw a stairway reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it.  Jesus said that Philip would see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man, indicating that Jesus, himself, is the way to heaven--the bridge between heaven and earth.  In short, through having deeper fellowship with Jesus, Philip would learn that Jesus is the way to heaven.  

In this passage, we have four testimonies about Jesus. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Andrew testified that Jesus is the Messiah. Philip testified that Jesus is the one Moses wrote about in the Law and about whom the prophets also wrote.  Nathanael testified that Jesus is the Son of God and King of Israel.  Each of these people met Jesus personally and made a personal confession of who Jesus is.  In addition, all of them were led to Christ through others' personal testimonies.  A teacher to his students, a student to his brother; Jesus called Philip, and Philip invited his friend, Nathanael.  

May God help each of us to come to Jesus, meet him personally, and invite others to know Jesus as well.  

One word: Come and you will see