John 1:43-51: Lost and found.
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’46 ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.‘Come and see,’ said Philip.47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’48 ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’49 Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’50 Jesus said, ‘You believe[a] because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ 51 He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on”the Son of Man.’ NIV
As I read today’s passage I thought about a U2 song: ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.’ That wasn’t the case though with Simon and Andrew and Philip.
‘Finding Philip…We have found…’ (43, 45). Considered from one angle, it is true that we find Christ. That is our testimony. But the deeper – indeed deepest – truth is that He finds us. And the cross is central to this being found (verses 50, 51 seem to allude to ‘Jacob’s ladder’ – Jesus is the ‘Ladder’ between heaven and earth, God and man).
Somebody observed, ‘The process of one lighted torch lighting another goes on.’ Here is a further example of personal evangelism. The gospel invitation simply says, ‘Come and see’ ‘ Come and check this out for yourself.’ ‘Come with me to church.’ ‘Come with me to a course.’ ‘I know you have your prejudices, but try to put them to one side and honestly examine the claims of Christ. Come and see.’ I read some years ago that the majority of people who attend church for the first time do so because of a friend’s invitation. Most do not just walk through the door. I also heard about some research that suggested that a significant number of people would attend a church service if just asked. So why am I so timid? And here are some random further thoughts on today’s passage:
God works in unlikely places (46). He is ‘the God of surprises’.
There was no false modesty in Nathanael (47, 48). This bears out the truth of (2:25) that Jesus knew what was in a man.
A decision to leave one place for another can be difficult (43). There is no hint in the text that it was for Jesus, but sometimes it can be for us. But we should nonetheless prepare ourselves for fruitful service in a new setting. Who knows? There may be ‘Philip’s’ to meet and serve.
Prayer: Lord, as I go through this week place place people in my pathway to ‘invite’ and please give me the courage to ask them to ‘Come and see’.