Jesus invites us to come and see
READ: John 1:29-42
John the Baptist was standing there with two of his disciples, and as he was watching Jesus walk by he exclaimed, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!”
On the surface that doesn’t sound like much, but there is a great significance to the way John writes this. Of the four Gospel writers, John is the one who often gives us double meanings: the surface story and the deeper significance all woven together in one strand.
John was watching Jesus. This is not just a casual glance or a fleeting observation. The word in Greek points to an intense watching, a penetrating look: not just seeing, but pondering. John the Baptist is seeing Jesus and also seeing something deeper: “Look, here is the Lamb of God.” There’s something more here than initially meets the eye.
Do you sometimes see someone or something, or experience some event and realize that something deeper than the surface is happening? Maybe you’ve heard people say, “I knew I was experiencing history at the time.” Or “I knew something important and lasting was going on, and many missed it.” What do you see?
Fast forward a little further in John’s first chapter and you find Andrew bringing Peter to Jesus, an example that is often held up about the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus: “We found the Messiah!”
Peter comes along and Jesus looks at him and says, “You are Simon and you will be called Cephas or Peter which means rock.” Once again, it’s that deeper look – not just a casual observation, not even just a paying attention to this new person in front of Jesus.
Jesus looked at Peter just like John the Baptist looked at Jesus. It’s a looking and watching that is filled with meaning.
What’s going on here matters! These are not just random meetings or happenstance encounters. This is watching that comes with some punch - an intense look filled with purpose and the Spirit of God working in the background.
In between John looking at Jesus and Jesus looking at Peter, we’re told about the two disciples who follow after Jesus and Jesus’ question to them, “What are you looking for?" Their question to him: “Teacher, where are you staying?” And Jesus’ invitation is, “Come and see.”
Come and see! There’s a call inside of those words! Those disciples find where Jesus is staying, but this looking and seeing comes with a certain intensity that overflows with meaning.
When Jesus says, “Come and see,” we’re not just talking only about a bed and a pillow and the house he is in. We are talking about more than Jesus’ house number address. We are talking about the very presence of God with us.
This passage from John is often read on the heels of Christmas and Epiphany when the weather is cold here in Minnesota and days are still a bit dark … Easter is still a ways off. We need the reminder that Christ has promised to be with us. We need the invitation to “come and see.”
Some of you know there’s a song called “Abide with me.” I was talking with someone not very long ago about the significance of moments when God suddenly seems to break in and God’s presence is felt, experienced, seen! This person was talking about singing “Abide With Me” – “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide! When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.” The person shared about singing that song at a time when days were dark, and a loved one had been lost recently, and the soul seemed dry … And then the song brought light and a connection with Christ.
May we look … and come … and see Jesus, who has promised to abide with us.