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Let’s pray as we come to God’s Word. Our Father in heaven, we believe Your promise, that though You oppose the proud, You will give grace to the humble. And so we ask that we would not be counted among the proud this morning, both the preacher and the hearers. We do not want to be haughty, arrogant, lifted up, but we come to You seeking to hear from You. And I pray that You would give me a humble heart, just as John the Baptist prayed, that I might decrease and You would increase. And so our prayer together, Lord, is that we would be humble-hearted, broken in spirit, ready and eager to receive Your Word. And as we open Your Word, we pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened so that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled up to all the fullness of God. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
I invite you to turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, chapter 1. After a couple weeks’ hiatus, we return. Now finishing the first chapter in John’s Gospel, verses 43-51. John, chapter 1, beginning at verse 43: “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. 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.” 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 there is no deceit!” 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.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 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.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
We have here in our text this morning in verse 46 the theme verse for the year at Covenant Day School, and as I mentioned before, I did have a hand in choosing it and it’s those three words at the end, “Come and see” made me a hero with all the kids who had to memorize that verse for the year. As I mentioned, some of them got greedy and said, “Could you do ‘Jesus wept’ next year?”
Come and see. Come and see. One of the best things you may remember as a child is the day in school when you got to do “show and tell.” We could probably have a fun trip down memory lane, thinking about “show and tell.” I remember some really, really amazing Star Wars toys that I brought in, a very huge Transformer robot toy that I still have somewhere, for my kids. Now that my kids have “show and tell” from time to time, I’ve helped bring in a huge, sort of getup here so that the bunny can come in and meet everyone; helped my child bring in a little hoverboard (it doesn’t actually hover, but one of those little things that you ride on. He’ll show you sometime if you ask him.).
I was reading online this week some of the crazy things that kids have brought into the classroom, teachers sharing stories. A child brought in a hand grenade (bad idea), a bag full of broken glass, a dead snake, the dried end of their baby brother’s umbilical cord. So, just, kids, I think I can speak for all your teachers, find something else. And I bet as adults we’d still enjoy some show and tell. Who doesn’t like to bring in something and say, “Look at this cool thing I have.” You know, even if it passed down from generations, “let me tell you all about it.” We have, and I guess my parents have it, but whenever people would come over to my parents’ house, I’d want to show them that we had in the back in the living room in the, you know, secret china cabinet with all of the valuables, there was, and still is, a centuries-old, I’m not sure how many, three centuries maybe, old, Dutch Bible that gets passed down through the generations and has written on the front cover, I don’t know, a dozen different generations of people who have owned this Dutch Bible. It was, and is, a prized possession in the DeYoung household to pass on. You have similar things. We love show and tell.
This passage gives us a remarkable scene of something even far more important to show and to tell. The first chapter here is coming to a close, before we get into chapter 2 and begin with the first of seven signs, and we have seven “I am” statements, and the book is going to take on a very definite order. Remember at the very beginning we looked at the purpose of John’s Gospel which he helpfully gives us at the very end of the book in chapter 20, verse 31: “These things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” So at least part of the purpose was evangelistic, or to shore up these new believers, or perhaps give them courage to then pass this message on to others. These things were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing you have life in his name. This book is to show us about Jesus, that we might then tell others what we have seen. Show and tell.
And we see that in particular in this story here at the conclusion of chapter 1, God wants us to see more about Jesus, and share more about Jesus.
Now you’re here this morning, and you probably know something about Jesus, maybe a lot of things. But every time you come to God’s Word, every time I come to God’s Word, there is yet more that God wants to show us about Jesus, and certainly as He wants us to see more of Jesus, He wants us to share more of Jesus. It’s a wonderful thing that we can come here and we can gather all of us and we can sing these songs and in a few moments we’ll come to the Lord’s table and we will partake in faith of Christ spiritually present with us.
But wouldn’t you love to have more people to see and to savor Jesus? We are going to see in this text what John’s Gospel wants to show us about Jesus that we might then tell us more about Jesus. And that’s a pretty good goal for any sermon, and I dare say it’s a pretty good checklist for your Bible reading each morning or for your walk with the Lord each week. You might think to yourself, “What is God showing me about Jesus?” and “How might I be able to tell more people about Jesus?” Pretty good checklist when you’re reading your Bible in the morning. “God, let me see something more about Jesus.” And then when you get done, “God, would you give me an opportunity to say something about Jesus?”
And so in this text we have “show” and then we have “tell.” We’ll spend most of the time with the first of those big categories: showing. What does God show us about Jesus? Well, here’s the stage: look at verse 43: “The next day.” You notice we’ve had this several times already: verse 29 “the next day,” verse 35 “the next day,” and verse 43 “the next day.” So we are on the third of these “next days,” the fourth day in this beginning week, maybe the first week, or if not the first, then a quintessential week in Jesus’ early ministry.
And first we get Philip. It’s uncertain how he was found; we’ll say more about that at the end. But Jesus, in verse 43, says to him, “Follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, probably known to Andrew and Peter, maybe a follower of John the Baptist just like it appears that Andrew and another unnamed disciple, who’s likely John who is writing the book, were followers of John the Baptist.
Remember, we talked about how does this square with the accounts of Jesus calling the disciples in Matthew, Mark, and Luke because there it seems like Jesus just, you know, says to a couple guys in a boat, “Come follow me” and they just say “Come? Okay, we go.” But it’ll actually make sense with John’s Gospel that they would have some familiarity with Jesus before He called them. And so here we see the beginning of some of the disciples knowing who Jesus is, Jesus knowing who they are, and following Him in a preliminary way and the other gospel accounts give the more formal apostolic call.
So here with join to the group, if John is already a part of it, and Andrew, and Andrew found his brother Simon Peter, and now we have Philip, and now Philip finds Nathanael. Verse 45. Now who’s Nathanael? We don’t hear much about Nathanael, or at all in the other Gospels, and most people think that Nathanael is the same person who’s mentioned in other lists as Bartholomew. In Matthew 10, Mark 3, Luke 6, Bartholomew is linked with Philip in all three synoptics, so Philip and Bartholomew. So our best guess is that Nathanael is the same person as Bartholomew. Bartholomew is not so much a first name as it is a kind of family designation, just like Bar Jonah would be son of Jonah, bar, b-a-r, is Aramaic for son, so son of Jonah, so Bartholomew would be “the son of Tholomaios,” Nathanael, by his first name. He’s listed in John 21:2 right after Thomas, is given the name Nathanael and in Acts 1:13 Bartholomew is listed after Thomas, so there are several indicators to suggest that Bartholomew, who we hear about later in the synoptics, is this person Nathanael.
Philip comes to him in verse 45, and he says: “We have found Him, of whom Moses and the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth. The son of Joseph.” You can hear Philip’s excitement in his voice. Clearly there was some sort of messianic expectation. Now they didn’t have a clear idea who the Messiah would be, they tended to misunderstand Him as a political leader, a military chieftain. They certainly did not understand that He would have to suffer and die and then be raised on the third day, but they were looking for someone, for a deliverer, for a Messiah, for the one written about in the law and the in the prophets. So here Philip comes in (panting), almost, you know, out of breath, “Nathanael, Nathanael, Nate, listen up! We found Him. The One we’ve been waiting for, the One we’ve been looking for.” And He’s sort of “okay, who?” “It’s Jesus of Nazareth! The son of Joseph.”
Of course, we know from the rest of the story that He wasn’t the natural son of Joseph, but note Joseph was his father, so he says “He’s the son of Joseph! Jesus from Nazareth!” Which prompts Nathanael’s famous question in verse 46: “Really? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
It’s actually even more emphatic than that in the Greek. Ek Nazaret. dynatai ti agathon einai. Out of Nazareth? Is it possible for anything good to come? He’s saying, “Nazareth? Are you sure?” Not because it was a notorious place, but because it was a nothing place. Located 3-1/2 miles southeast of the larger city of Sepphoris, 12 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. It was a very small town. Depending on which archeologist you listen to, some say it may have had a couple thousand people, others say it was more like 400. We’re talking a very small town, probably several hundred people in Nazareth. This was not a place that they were expecting the Messiah to hail from. This was not a place of note or significance or seen to be a place that was going to give birth to famous, inspiring people. So insert in your mind some very small town.
So here’s the small town I’m thinking of, and you can let me know later, you say, “Pastor, I’m from that town.” Okay, but I didn’t know that. All I know is that when we were driving to Ridge Haven, and right before we got there we went through the metropolis of Rosman, North Carolina. There was a rusted Ferris wheel in somebody’s yard, there was one IGA store which was the gas station, you know, quicky-mart. There was an intersection, there was a school. You drive through Rosman, I looked it up, population 576.
So if you were being introduced somewhere and someone really wanted to say how significant you were, they might say, “He comes from Manhattan,” “he’s a pastor in Chicago,” “he’s in London.” Even “they hail from Charlotte.” You probably wouldn’t say, “Hey, let me introduce you… Rosman, Lincolnton.” Now I know there are some people here from Lincolnton. Rosman, North Carolina. Population 576.
And remember, remember Jesus, though Jesus sounds very like a spiritual name to us, scholars have shown it was one of the more common names among first century Jewish males, and Joseph was not an uncommon name either. So this is like your friend running up to you, breathless, and saying, (panting) “man, dude,” (’cause they say dude, I’m contextualizing here), “dude, I found the Messiah! It’s Larry! From Rosman, North Carolina!” “Hank’s kid?” Yeah, you would, you’d scratch your head and say “Rosman? With the rusted Ferris wheel?” And the sign, and I’m not sure if it had lost a letter or if they took the letter off, but it said something about “Rump for President” and I was still trying to figure out what that meant. Now that’s the only thing you’re going to remember from the sermon.
Rosman? Nazareth? Nobody comes from Nazareth. Are you sure? The Messiah?
Now if you are remembering everything we’ve encountered in John chapter 1, all that we know. Think about everything you know that Nathanael doesn’t know. It makes Nathanael’s comment somewhere on the scale between tragic and comic. Because all he hears is “Nazareth? Really?” But think of all that we’ve seen about this Jesus.
Verse 1: He’s the Word. In verse 1, not only is He the Word that was with God, He’s the Word that is God.
In verse 4, He’s life.
Verse 5, He’s light, the light that comes into the world.
Verse 14, He’s the one and only, the monogenes. The only begotten One from the Father.
Verse 14, He’s full of grace and truth.
We see in verse 15, 26, and 30: He’s greater than John the Baptist. And you’ve heard of John the Baptist, you know what a following he has. You know what a big deal he is around these parts. John the Baptist, he’s nothing compared to this Jesus from podunk Nazareth.
Verse 18, we know no one has seen God, the only God, monogenes, at the Father’s side, He has made Him known. He’s at the Father’s side. He’s greater than John the Baptist.
Verse 23, He’s Lord. Isn’t that what John says? That he’s a voice crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. If John is the one crying in the wilderness make straight, then the One who’s coming after him is the Lord, kurios.
Not only that but verse 29, verse 36—He’s the Lamb of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Verse 33, He’s the one on whom the spirit of God will descend and remain.
Also verse 33, He’s the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John says “I baptize with water, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Verse 34, He’s the Son of God.
Verse 38, He’s a rabbi.
Verse 41, He’s the Messiah, or the Christ.
I just went through 15 different things that we’ve seen about Jesus. So by the time you get to Nathanael’s statement in verse 46, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” if you’re paying attention to what John’s doing in his Gospel, you should be sitting there going “oh, yeah, oh, yeah, a lot can come out of Nazareth.” Yeah, this is more than just an ordinary Jewish man from a nothing town. We’re talking about the Light, the Life, the Word, the Messiah, the Son, the Lord, the Lamb, God Himself. And sometimes God shows up in the most surprising of places. Like Nazareth. But I’m telling you, it’s really Him.
We know all that Nathanael has yet to learn. And when we get to the end of this chapter, we’re meant to see the stark contrast. Ohhh, oh, Nathanael. You’ll get it, you’ll get it.
And I wonder where some of you are at in that contrast. Some of you may be more in the position of “Yeah, Jesus, yeah, okay, I’ve heard a lot about Him. I know there are songs about Him, I know there’s churches about Him. Is He really that special? Is He really that important? Jesus? What, did He do something? He died or something? He’s a good teacher. You know, gave us some good principles to live by, Sermon on the Mount, something like that?”
Well, God’s not going to let you get away with such a low view of Jesus. Not if we’re paying attention to His Word. He is the Light, the Life, the Word, the Messiah, the Son, Lord, Lamb, God Himself. Yeah, out of Nazareth.
And you see Jesus reply, He says, after Philip tells him to come and see, Jesus says “behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit,” or the older translation “an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” In earlier Greek works, some writers use the word there guile as “bait for fish.” It’s not what it means, but it gives you a sense for how the word was used, suggests cunning, deception, guile, deceit. Jesus says “I like you. You’re a straight shooter. I see that.”
You ever notice in the Bible that Jesus actually has a lot of patience for honest seekers, straight shooters, even people who aren’t all the way there yet. They don’t see everything that they should see. But if they’re honest about themselves and they’re honest to God, Jesus has got a lot of patience for people like that. Maybe that’s some of you.
You ever notice who Jesus doesn’t seem to have lot of patience for? It’s the opposite—hypocrites, phonies, the people who are trying to trap Jesus, trying to trick him. The conspicuously pious, those people who announce their prayers, who announce their giving, those people who make sure everybody sees them dressed up, going to church, everybody sees them as the offering plate goes by very dramatically. Those are the sort of people Jesus doesn’t have a lot of time for. But people like this, call it like it is, like “Nazareth? Are you kidding me?” Jesus says “I can tell there’s an Israelite. There’s a straight shooter. There’s someone without deceit.”
There’s probably a play on words here, ’cause if you remember your Old Testament, you remember who got the name Israel was Jacob. And you remember what Jacob’s name meant? It meant “trickster.” And you remember the story after he deceives Esau out of his blessing and his birthright, in Genesis 27? Esau says, “He is rightly called Jacob, for he has deceived me these two times. He took away my birthright, he took away my blessing.” And then it’s going to be chapter 28 and following where Jacob will become Israel.
So it’s almost as if Jesus is saying, “Aha, Nathanael, I like you. Here is an Israel with no Jacob. Here’s one who says it like it is. No trickery. No deceit. Just calling a spade a spade, even if he’s wrong. At least he’s honest.”
Nathanael says in verse 48 “Um. How do you know me? What’s going on here?” You can read all the commentaries, and nobody is quite sure, but there’s something between Nathanael and Jesus that must have been clearer perhaps to those who were originally reading this, but we’re lost a little bit to know what exactly went on. There’s something in Jesus’ comment to him, “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” that really cuts to Nathanael’s core. And so he says “How do you know me?” And then Jesus answers and says “Before Philip even called you, when you were under the fig tree I saw you,” and that prompts Nathanael to say, “Oh, you’re the Son of God, you’re the King.”
So what was it, what was it about seeing him under the fig tree? People speculate, was it a time of special communion with God that he had under the fig tree. The fig tree had become a symbol of ease and rest and prosperity. Everyone will sit under their own fig tree, so perhaps he’s there under his own fig tree having a time of communion with God and Jesus said “I saw you there.” Or maybe Philip thought, “Yes, I remember being under the fig tree and I was sure nobody was around me, but somehow this man, Jesus of Nazareth, He saw me, He knew me.” Whatever it was, there’s something in this exchange between Jesus and Nathanael that signifies to Nathanael this is not an ordinary man. It’s what we will find later in chapter 2:24, “but Jesus on his part did not entrust Himself to them because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man for He Himself knew what was in man.” There’s something about Jesus’ reply here with the fig tree and the Israelite in whom there is no guile, Nathanael can just tell “this guy is seeing right through me, and He knows some stuff about me I didn’t think anybody knew about me.” And so he announces “Rabbi, you are the son of God.” Verse 49: “You are the King of Israel.”
You add this to the long list. Remember we had 15 designations of Jesus heading into this section, and now we have more. Verse 45: “He’s the one of whom Moses and the law and the prophets foretold.” And now again Nathanael calls Him Rabbi, Son of God, King of Israel. That last phrase was used by Palestinian Jews as a designation for the Messiah. He’s the Christ, He’s the Deliverer, He’s the Savior, He’s the one we’ve been looking for.
Now does Nathanael understand what that means completely? Of course not. But he’s heard enough from Philip and he’s already heard enough from Jesus who has spoken to him in a way that no one has spoken to him before, to say “You are the Messiah, even from little old Nazareth.” And do you see what Jesus says in reply? Verse 50, “because I said to you I saw you under the fig tree do you believe?” In other words, “You think that’s impressive? That I saw you under the fig tree? That I saw you when no else saw you, or I knew what you were doing there under the fig tree? That I spotted? You think that’s impressive? You haven’t seen anything yet! You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man.”
So Jesus finishes this remarkable opening chapter with all of these, now numbering almost 20 different titles or epithets or designations or names for Jesus, and now Jesus ends by referencing two more. He references two Old Testament texts. This first reference is to Genesis 28. It makes sense; we were just in Genesis 27, thinking you are Israel in whom there is no Jacob, you’re one without guile, without trickery. And now Jesus is thinking Genesis 28: You will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending.
You remember the story from Genesis 28. Jacob has a dream. He sees a ladder from earth to heaven, and on that ladder are angels going up and down, ascending and descending. And when he wakes up, he says “surely God is in this place,” and he calls it Bethel, Beth being the word for house, el being short for Elohim, for God. This is the house of God. That’s the dream.
Now Jesus says you will see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Is He thinking of His transfiguration? I don’t think He’s thinking just of one particular event, but rather what the entire life and ministry of the Lord Jesus is going to reveal. Jesus is making visible this conduit of glory, just as Jacob had a dream and he saw a ladder. What was the ladder signifying? The ladder was connecting heaven and earth. In Jacob’s dream there is a ladder so that heaven and earth can have communication and communion with one another, angels can ascend and descend, glory can go up and down. The ladder was a symbol joining heaven and earth.
Now Jesus says “You’re not going to need Jacob’s ladder, I’m the ladder. I will connect heaven and earth.” He is the link between the two. He is the ladder on earth reaching into heaven. He is going to be the place of revelation. He is where heaven and earth meet. Jesus is the new Bethel, the new house of God.
And then He says one of his favorite self-designations. He calls himself the Son of Man. Sometimes we think Son of God refers to His divinity and Son of Man to his humanity, but actually Son of Man is one of the strongest designations in the New Testament of His deity, not so much of His humanity. Do you know where this designation comes from, Son of Man?
Turn in your Bible just briefly back to Daniel, chapter 7. Because many of us may think when Jesus says Son of Man, He’s saying “yeah, I’m a man, I’m a son of man, and I’m a son of God,” but that’s not what the term Son of Man refers to. It refers to this passage in Daniel chapter 7, another vision. So Jesus finishes this chapter. He references a vision that Jacob had, and now here’s the vision in Daniel chapter 7. Look at verse 9: “As I looked, thrones were placed and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, it’s wheels were burning fire, a stream of fire issued and came out from before Him and a thousand thousand served Him and 10,000 times 10,000 stood before Him, the court sat in judgment, and the books were open.”
So here’s the first being in this vision Daniel has. He sees one on the throne, the Ancient of Days. Clearly a divine figure, clothed in white, all of the sort of theophany language, throne, fiery flames, wheels burning, fire, streams of fire… This is God on His throne, the Ancient of Days. But now notice, go down to verse 13: “I saw in the night visions and behold with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him and to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him, His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
What’s going on here? You have the Ancient of Days clearly divine. But now you have another being, something, called one like a Son of Man, who is not identified with the Ancient of Days because the Son of Man comes up to the Ancient of Days. And yet the Son of Man seems to bear all the marks of divinity equal to the Ancient of Days. He receives dominion, glory, kingdom, one that will never end and never pass away. So you have the Ancient of Days who is a divine appearance and you have the Son of Man who is a divine appearance approaching the Ancient of Days. So when Jesus uses this phrase as He does often to refer to Himself as the Son of Man, He is not saying “I’m human,” though He is and was, but He’s saying “I am the One at the Father’s side, I’m the one who was with God and is God, the Son of Man approaching the Ancient of Days.”
So though they may not have understood fully what was going on at the end of these verses, Jesus is describing Himself in the most exulted language possible. To add to this list of some 20 designations, “I’m the ladder that Jacob saw,” “I’m the Son of Man that Daniel foretold.”
So John’s Gospel is showing us an awful lot about Jesus.
And so in the last few minutes I want us to just think what we might be able to tell others about this Jesus. I’ve said it many times and will say it again that we are all natural evangelists for the people and the things that we love most. It’s not hard to talk about your kids. It’s not hard to tell people when you get engaged. It’s not hard to tell people about a new Thai restaurant you love or a new bacon-covered doughnut. You like it, you’re excited about it. We’re all natural evangelists for the things we love most.
So if we’re never talking about Jesus, never sharing about Jesus, never easily having Jesus come, we might want to think “Have we really seen Him? Do we really know Him?” When you know Him, when you see Him, when you savor Him, how can we not want to speak of Jesus?
I’m just like most of you. Personal evangelism is hard for me. It’s not something that I get up and think “I’d love to just meet new people and just start sharing the gospel.” That’s hard. I’ve got to pray, I’ve got to think, I’ve got to be wise. Some of you have a real gift for it and you just have a knack for it. Most people don’t… It’s hard.
But I do think, at least on my best days, I love to talk about Jesus. And I get to do that to all of you, and you get to do that for kids, Bible studies, Facebook posts… Where can you tell people about Jesus? You’ve seen, now you say. Show and tell. Do you see what’s going on here in our text? We have Philip, who’s with Andrew and Peter. He says, in verse 46: “We have found Him.” So it seems that the “we,” Philip is now with Andrew and Peter. They’re from the same city, Bethsaida. Philip may have been one of John’s disciples as well. Perhaps that is how he got hooked up with Andrew and Peter. Nathanael seems to be in a different category, likely not one of John the Baptist’s disciples, but they want him to meet Jesus. And we have here one of the main themes in John’s Gospel anticipated, and it’s in those three words which the kids have memorized: “Come and see.” First Jesus said it, and now Philip says it. “Come and see, come and see.”
It’s a lesson for us. You notice what Philip does? He’s got his friend Nathanael. He’s skeptical. You have friends, they’re skeptical, they’re cynical. They don’t know about this Jesus, they don’t know about the church, they don’t know about the Bible. They’ve heard it, they’re burned over it “I don’t know.”
Now, this isn’t the only model, but certainly it’s one model that God would commend to us. You see that Philip does? He doesn’t get into a long protracted argument. “Hey, Nathanael, let me tell you, I got 12 reasons why you’re mistaken.” Sometimes that’s what we need, but sometimes you get to people to the heart through the head. But more often than not, it’s maybe this approach that God commends to us. When your friend says “I don’t buy it, I’m not believing it.” “Come and see.” It’s nonthreatening, it’s not argumentative, it’s just “Would you be willing to look? Would you be willing to sit down?”
Maybe that’s what some of you have to do with the friend or the coworker you are wanting to share the gospel with. It can be as simple and as scary and as freeing, as saying “Would you ever want to just read through part of the Bible with me?” “But I have all these…” “Okay, come and see.” You see how that relieves some of the pressure, you have to be the world’s greatest apologist, you have to be able to have, you know, all the verses memorized, you need to know the answer to every question. You just need to know where Jesus is. Come and see. I may not have all the answers, but I can tell you where you can meet Jesus. Come and see, just take a look. That’s what you need to do.
You know, if you’re a coach, and you’re recruiting a college basketball player, you know, a high school kid to play at your school, and you’re the assistant coach and you bring in the head coach and you say “I want you to see this player,” and the coach comes up and says “this guy?” He’s 5 foot 8, he’s wearing baggy sweatpants, he’s got big glasses thicker than your pastor’s, he’s like a buck-ten soaking wet. “This guy? You sure?”
Now what would you do if you were the assistant coach. Would you say, “Well, look, here’s all the meaurables. Here’s all the statistics. Here’s what happened. Here’s all the awards he’s won.” You could do that. Or you could say, “Man, just watch him play, because I know, I know, but just come and see. Just go to a game. Can you do that? Can you just sit down and just watch the man play?”
That’s kind of what Philip does. “I know, Nathanael, I know it sounds far-fetched. I know Nazareth is not what we were expecting. But would you be willing to just come and see?”
And maybe that’s what God is saying to some of you. And Jesus has been sort of, you know, off in the distance, and maybe you go to church, and you think about these things, but you don’t really know who He is. You’re not really following Him. You haven’t really given your life to Him. Would you be willing to just come and see? To listen? To come to church and listen to a sermon for a few weeks? To ask a friend “Could you read me about,” to pick up a Bible for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible, take one of these Bibles home. Come and see.
You have Andrew. Remember we left Andrew off in the last section, but he may be in this section. I alluded to this at the beginning; we come back to it now at the end. You see verse 43? “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.” You can look in your Greek. Actually the word Jesus isn’t there. Now it very well could be that the “he decided to go to Galilee” is Jesus; that’s how the ESV translates it and that’s a fair understanding. But some scholars, D. A. Carson is one of them, have argued that the “he” at the beginning of verse 43, which isn’t stated by any name, may actually be Andrew at the end of verse 42, that he went to go to Galilee and he found Philip and then Jesus said to him, because there is a Jesus then at the end of verse 43, so Jesus is clearly the one speaking “Follow me,” but it’s a bit unclear: Is Jesus the one who found Philip, or is Andrew the one who found Philip? And one of the reasons to think that the “he” might actually be Andrew is because every time you see Andrew in the book of John, he’s bringing somebody to Jesus.
You ever notice this? Look at chapter 1, verse 41: “He first (Andrew) found his own brother Simon and said to him ‘We found the Messiah.'” There’s Andrew, bringing somebody to Jesus. Go over to chapter 6, verse 8: Jesus feeding the 5,000. Where are they going to get the food? Verse 8, “one of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish: But what are they for so many?'” Okay, he doesn’t know how it’s going to work, but here he is, Andrew, bringing the boy to Jesus.
Or go to chapter 12, verse 20. There are some Greeks who want to see Jesus. “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida and Galilee, and asked them sir, we wish to see Jesus.” So they want to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew, Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Three times Andrew brings people to Jesus. “Simon Peter, you’ve got to meet Jesus. Hey, Jesus, there’s a boy here with some fish burgers. Might work, I don’t know. You want to meet him. Hey, um, Jesus, there are some Greeks here and Philip and I thought, you know, they wanted to see you. Here you go.”
So might it be that in chapter 1 the “he” which is not designated is a reference again to Andrew doing what Andrew does best, bringing people to Jesus? Even if that’s not the case, we still see here in this opening chapter the pattern of Christian discipleship. John the Baptist announced to Andrew and probably John the evangelist, that “there’s the Messiah.” John brought them to Jesus. Then Andrew found Simon Peter and then perhaps Andrew found Philip, and then Philip found Nathanael. This is the way it’s supposed to work. New people follow Jesus who in turn bring their friends and family who become disciples and then they repeat the process over and over again. It’s as simple and scary and freeing as that.
Introduce people to Jesus. Sometimes we think “I need to be the world’s best salesman, I’ve got to close the deal, get the gospel. I’ve got to know the right language.” You need to know Jesus and you need to love people. And you need to have a burden to connect the people you love with the Jesus you know. Come and see.
So let me leave you with two questions. What have you seen? Whom will you tell?
What have you seen? What have you seen? Some of us have seen a lot. You’ve been in 10,000 sermons. You’ve got Bible studies that meet in the breaks of other Bible studies. We’ve seen a lot about Jesus, praise the Lord. So who are you going to tell? Who are going to tell? One person this week. Is there one person? Might you pray, “Lord, give me one person this week that I can just point to Jesus, I can just say ‘come and see, come and see.'”
What have you been shown? Now what are we going to tell?
Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we give thanks for all you have shown us, all we know. Make us bold, make us humble, make us hopeful, that the Jesus we know, the Jesus we love, the Jesus who saved us, would be the Jesus we share. Make us like Andrew, always bringing people to Jesus. We pray in His name. Amen.