Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
“Come and See.” That is what Philip told Nathaniel after he himself had been called to be a follower of Jesus. He had discovered something in this man Jesus that he had to share with Nathaniel. Nathaniel was a bit skeptical and said that he rather doubted anything good could come out of that little town of Nazareth. It was not a lengthy invitation. It was simply three non-threatening words to a sceptic, but it whetted Nathaniel’s interest just enough.
It is a well-known fact that many Christians find it difficult to share their faith with others. We tend to keep our faith beliefs to ourselves, and consider that religious beliefs are private matters. We don’t want to offend others, and sometimes we think that if we invite someone to come and visit our worship services we might offend them in some way. Likewise, religion is one of those topics that gets put off-limits in conversations. The fact remains that if we often keep silent about the most important thing in our lives, the thing that defines or helps guide who and what we are and what we are becoming, So we are trying to live two different lives.
Think, for a moment, about the effect those words might have on you if you were to hear them in another context about anything else. They would likely generate a sense of wonder, curiosity, and perhaps excitement about whatever you were being invited to come and see. You might even be grateful that your friend thought to ask you to check it out.
Those words are simple and warm and non-threatening. They are a simple invitation to check out something and to join a community that your friend is part of. Your friend wants you to come along and be part of something that they have found to be special, but it is totally up to you to see what it is all about.
Come and see are very easy, warm, and hospitable words. They are simple words of invitation to allow the person, to whom we address them, to look in on something that they might find to be interesting and important. We are not called to cram our faith down another person’s throat or question their eternal destiny or threaten them with hellfire and brimstone. Instead, we are called to simply offer an invitation to come and see what God is still doing in and through Jesus and the community of disciples who have chosen to follow him.
- How often do you invite someone to worship with you or to come to Via de Cristo?
- Do you believe that the same Spirit who descended on Jesus at Baptism is still working in you?
- Do you believe that the same Spirit that inspired Philip to reach out to Nathaniel is still offering all kinds of people all over the world an invitation to “come and see”?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.