Come and see!

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5 January 2018

A common theme in great (and not so great) films is of a (usually) noble leader gathering a seemingly odd and unconnected band of followers. Think of various versions of the Robin Hood legend, or the Magnificent Seven a Western retelling of the Seven Samurai and itself reprised comically in A Bug’s Life. There’s even the Blues Brothers getting the Band back together for a ‘Mission from God’.

One of the subplots early in John’s Gospel is Jesus gathering His first disciples. We have several examples. John the Baptist points Andrew and another to Jesus. Awkwardly they ask where does He live and He says “Come and see.” Whatever they saw must have been important because Andrew tells his brother Peter who also becomes a follower. So now we have at least two followers.

Next day, Jesus meets Philip and simply says “Follow me.” Was this their first contact? We don’t know, but again Philip is so impressed that he persuades a highly skeptical Nathaniel to meet Jesus using the same words “Come and see” that Jesus had said to Andrew. The next scene of the Gospel jumps forward to the wedding at Cana where Jesus is described as having ‘disciples.’

There are a couple of things (at least) to notice here. Jesus makes an invitation, someone responds, and that person invites another. In fact, all of us Christians living today are believers because someone invited us. Perhaps it was a fellow school student, a friend, through family in infancy or maybe you had a direct experience of God’s invitation.

Second, when we were invited we responded, and we saw. However imperfect our experience was, like Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathaniel and billions of others, what we saw was persuasive.

Each of us, therefore, has great responsibilities. First, we must invite others to meet the one that we have come to know. Second, we should strive to reflect Christ to others. Third, we should work to make our Church, the best possible witness of Christ. In an age of saturation marketing and ‘fake news,’ people have a desire for truth, integrity and genuine relationships. May God make His Church and us truly something worth seeing and joining.

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