This coming Sunday, we will hear the story of Jesus’ call of the disciples in John. John, of course, always tells his stories a little differently than the other three evangelists. There’s no seaside here, no wind-stripped and well-worn boats, no invitation to be fishers of human souls. Instead, there is a group of friends – some of them have known each other since childhood, some of them have met in the wilderness as they followed John the Baptizer to the River Jordan. And instead of hitting their knees in their fishing boats and proclaiming themselves unworthy, or dropping rope and nets and knives to follow Jesus immediately, John’s disciples seem to need a little more convincing – or at least one of them does. When his friend Philip comes to Nathanael and tells him that he has met the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael replies with one of the snarkiest questions in all of scripture: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And Philip – faithful, confident, intuitive Philip – responds with three powerful words: Come and see.
Come and see. Not sit down with this book and figure it out. Not let me explain it to you, being sure to answer all of your difficult questions. Not even go and see. But come and see. Come, with me, and see Jesus. Because this encounter is all that you will need to know that he is who he is, that he is for you, that he is to be trusted, to be believed in, to be followed.
Sometimes we get the idea that if we’re going to talk about God with someone else, we have to really know what we’re talking about. We imagine that we should be able to answer all their questions, point them down the perfect road. But who among us knows everything there is to know about God? Who among us has never gotten lost, mixed up, turned around and tangled in the path of our discipleship? It’s putting an awful lot of pressure on ourselves to imagine that we have to be some perfect disciple before we can proclaim the Gospel. Philip felt no such pressure. He was a brand-new follower of Jesus – uncreased and sparkling clean, with the price tags still on him. He knew he didn’t have all of the answers. He may not have had any of the answers, save one: he knew the answer was found in the person of Jesus Christ. And when Nathanael challenged him, Philip knew there could be only one response – come, with me, and see the Son of God.
In the coming weeks, I hope that you will invite someone to join you at worship at Atonement. I hope that you will do so easily and joyfully. You don’t have to have all of the answers. You don’t have to know exactly where you are going. All you have to know is that the love found in Jesus Christ is a love worth trying, worth suspending your disbelief for, worth following. All you have to do is walk alongside your neighbor or friend. Here’s the Zoom link – I’ll text you right before Mass: come and see! Here’s Atonement’s Facebook page – I’ll be there too, and I’ll say hello in the chat box: come and see! Here’s the announcement about Bible study or the Outreach Guild meeting – I’ll meet you in the Zoom room: come and see!
Here is the one who will heal us, forgive us, redeem us, save us: come and see!