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December 10, 2015

A Simple Invitation

“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. John 1:46 (NLT)

When most of us think of sharing our faith, we immediately feel a fear factor churning in our gut.  We excuse ourselves from telling others about Christ because we think we are unqualified, inadequate, or just don’t know enough of the Bible. Yet, when you discover how Jesus and His followers shared the Good News, it makes it so much more doable for us. Twice, in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, we read the simple invitation, “Come and see…”  

The first time was when Jesus invited Andrew and another disciple, possibly John, to come and see where He was staying and the Bible says they remained with Jesus the rest of the day.  The invitation wasn’t threatening or demanding. It was a simple invitation, Come and see. Curious about who Jesus was from what they had been told by John the Baptist, Jesus offers them to come and see, to check Him out. After a day with Jesus, Andrew was so convinced that He was the Messiah that he went to find his brother, Simon, and told him and brought him to Jesus as well.

The next day, Philip was invited to follow Christ. He was from the same hometown as Andrew and Simon Peter. Like Andrew, Philip became so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah that he, too, went to look for his close friend, Nathanael and told him, 

We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about!  His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth. John 1:45 (NLT)  

Nathanael wasn’t so easily convinced. He questioned his friend’s zeal.

“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (Vs. 46)

According to Biblical prophecy which he apparently knew, Nathanael raised a good question.  The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth. How could Jesus possibly be the Messiah if he came from Nazareth? Rather than engaging him in a theological argument, Philip simply responded, “Come and see for yourself.” 

I love the simplicity of that invitation. It makes sharing the gospel so much easier. Rather than trying to convince someone of who Christ is, simply invite them to check it out for themselves.  Each of these men were transformed when they did, but they didn’t try to persuade others based on their own experience. They just challenged them to check it out for themselves and make their own decision. That takes the pressure off!

Christmas offers us the best time to do the same as we share the good news of Christ with friends and family. Invite them to simply come and see for themselves. It may be to check out a Christmas service at church or to examine the claims of Christ in the Bible. Pray that God will create curiosity in their hearts that nothing but Christ will ever satisfy!