Devotional for January 14, 2018 based upon John 1: 43-51
In our Gospel lesson for January 14, which tells of Jesus’ calling two of His disciples, there are two very short, very interesting, and also very significant phrases. Jesus says to Philip, “Follow Me.” (verse 43) Philip says to Nathanael, whom he wants to introduce to Jesus, “Come and see.” (verse 46) Earlier in the chapter, Jesus says the same words to two of the disciples of John the Baptist, “Come and see.” (verse 39)
“Come and see” was Philip’s response to Nathanael when Nathanael questioned whether Jesus could have any significance for him if He came from such an insignificant little town, like Nazareth. “Come and see” was also Jesus’ response to two of John the Baptist’s disciples when they asked a very basic question of and about Jesus, “Where are you staying?” (verse 38)
“Come and see” are words of evangelism. “Come and see” are words that you say to someone who is just for the first time hearing about Jesus or who is in the first steps of being introduced to Jesus. “Follow Me” are words of discipleship. They are words that encourage us to grow deeper and come closer and grow in our relationship with Jesus.
Every church needs to have “Come and see” events and ministries as well as “Follow Me” events and ministries. “Come and see” events and ministries introduce people to Jesus. They are something you invite people to who do not know Jesus and/or need a very basic introduction to Jesus. Christmas Eve and Easter services, a Christmas cantata, a faith-based film showing in a local movie theater can be “Come and see” ministries. “Follow Me” events and ministries can include more in depth Bible studies, discipleship groups, and classes about spiritual gifts. Is there a good balance between “Come and see” and “Follow Me” in the ministries at your church? If not, which one is stronger? Which one is weaker? What could be done to give your church a better balance between the two?
What about you? Are your natural abilities and spiritual gifts more in the direction of “Come and see” or “Follow Me”?
Where are you personally in your spiritual life? Are you just being introduced to Jesus? Are you in the beginning stages of getting to know Jesus? If so, then you are in the stage of “Come and see.” Are you going deeper and growing closer? Are you maturing in your relationship with Jesus? If so, then you are in the stage of “Follow Me.” Both stages are important. Both stages are valid. Which stage are you in?
One person once said, “Wherever you are, there you are.” Every one of us is where we are in our relationship with Jesus and personal spiritual life journey. May we all continue to advance and grow. May our churches have a good balance between “Come and see” events and ministries and “Follow Me” events and ministries, because both of valid, both are needed. And may be all grow into a greater knowledge of Jesus, a deeper relationship with Jesus, and a closer likeness to Jesus.
Dennis D. Nelson
President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE