Follow First, See Second

The next day John was standing with two of his disciples. John saw Jesus walk by.  John said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God.” When the two disciples heard John say this, they followed Jesus. Jesus turned around and saw them following him. He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “teacher”), “where are you staying?” Jesus told them, “Come, and you will see…” – John 1:35-39a

Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip told him, “Come and see!” John 1:46

No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

“You don’t have to believe me,” a salesman proclaims. “There’s a money back guarantee! Absolutely no risk to you!” Lots of spray-on hair, food dehydrators, and wearable blankets have been sold under those promises.

People like that. We like to see some proof before we make a commitment. We want assurance before we act. It’s safer. Keeps all of our options open. Perhaps that’s why being devoted to Christ provides such a challenge for some. Maybe it was a stretch for John’s disciples in the texts above when they asked Jesus where he was staying, because he didn’t answer their question. He didn’t tell them where he is staying. He didn’t give them any information at all.

Instead, he invited them to follow. “‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’” The order of the two verbs – come then see – is repeated later when skeptical Nathaniel inquired about Jesus’ credentials. “‘Come and see,’ said Philip”.

In Christ, it’s follow first, see second. Often, when I have asked the Lord a question, I have sensed in His response not information but an invitation – to come, to obey, to step out, to walk – and then to see. And, in those instances, like John’s two disciples, I didn’t just see more of where Jesus was, but who He is.

Brian Charette, from Reflecting God, June 2014.