Come and See
By Tracy Jessup, Ph.D.
“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” (John 1:45-46).
This past October (2020) marked the 70th anniversary of The Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa in 1950 in response to the call of Christ upon her life to serve the poorest of the poor. It is an order of the Roman Catholic Church that is active in more than 130 countries. Missionary of Charity homes have been established all over the world to meet different needs: the rehabilitation of leprosy sufferers; the mentally ill; unwed mothers and other women in urgent need; alcohol or drug addicts; night shelters for homeless men or homeless women and women with children; children abandoned or relinquished by their families; physically and mentally challenged children. Adoption centers are run by the sisters in some countries.
“Regardless of where they are sent or what they do, the life of a Missionary of Charity is founded in prayer, marked by the simplicity and humility of the Gospel, and characterized by total reliance on Divine Providence for all personal necessities and those of the poor.” Interestingly, those who aspire to join the Missionaries of Charity are invited to a two-week experience called “Come and See” (https://www.motherteresa.org/active-sisters.html).
“Come and see.” Such simple words, yet these words describe the heart of the gospel and what it means to follow Christ. In the words preceding today’s passage, Jesus goes to Galilee and the Bible says, “He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me’” (John 1:43). Don’t miss this. Jesus finds Philip, Philip follows Jesus, and then Philip finds Nathanael and says to him, “Come and see.” Nathanael, skeptical about whether or not anything good could come from Nazareth, discovers for himself that Jesus is the “Son of God [and] King of Israel” (v. 49). In other words, his initial attitude towards Jesus is based on preconceived ideas. However, because Philip invites him to meet Jesus, Nathanael’s actual experience of Jesus changes his mind about who Jesus is.
When Christ finds us and we follow him, we will have the desire to find others – some who may be skeptical of others who simply may be searching – and extend to them the invitation to “come and see.” Writing for Working Preacher (January 8, 2012), David Lose, pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tells about speaking at an event at which he met a pastor who asked each member of his small church to get in a circle and tell the person near them what kind of toothpaste they used and why. The thought behind the idea was to start small – toothpaste. And then, gradually people begin talking about more important things – where they have seen God at work in their lives or in the world, or maybe where they wish they could more easily see God at work.
Follow me is the invitation to discipleship to which every follower of Christ responds. And as we journey with the Savior, inevitably it leads us to engage with others, joyfully inviting them to “come and see.”
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for finding us, and for calling us to follow you. May our words and actions point people to Jesus so that they, too, will come and see.
Dr. Tracy Jessup serves as vice president for Christian Life and Service and senior minister to the University. He is a graduate of Gardner-Webb with a B.A. in Music and earned his M. Div. degree at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also teaches in the undergraduate department of religious studies and enjoys the opportunity to serve the local church through interim pastorates, pulpit supply, and preaching revival services. he and his wife, Teresa, have two children, Christian and Anna.
Read more Good Christian News from Dr. Jessup HERE.