Come and See
In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Jesus came to the Jordan River and was baptized by John. That was the gospel reading last Sunday. He had no sins of his own to confess, as the others who came to John with repentant hearts. Rather Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world; sins from people of the past, sins of people that day, and your sins and mine. In that act he began his journey to a cross in Jerusalem where he would pay the price for all those trespasses.
After his baptism, Jesus began to gather disciples. They would hear and see him as he taught and healed those who were sick both the spiritually and physically. Some of these men had already been disciples of John the Baptist, but from the beginning John had told them “one will come who is greater than I.”
After baptizing Jesus, John told his disciples, “I saw the Spirit descend on him . . . And I have seen that [he] is the Son of God.” Some days later when John saw Jesus again he proclaimed “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John was confessing what he saw and believed. “Look and see,” he was saying “That’s him” God’s Beloved Son who came to sacrifice himself for sinners.
Two of John’s disciples heard him say “Behold” and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned to them and asked “What are you seeking?” Were they seeking the same Jesus that John saw, the Lamb of God? They answered him, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
They wanted to know more than where Jesus was staying. They were looking for where Jesus was teaching and where could they learn or see more about this man Jesus of Nazareth that John called the Son and Lamb of God.
Jesus answered them, “Come and you will see.” Jesus was not talking about showing them the street and address where he was staying for the night. “Come and you will see what John meant when he said “I am the Lamb of God.”” These disciples would see God’s mercy and grace poured out for their salvation through the Son of God..
Philip Brings Nathanael
One by one, Jesus was being revealed as the Messiah, the Savior sent by the heavenly Father. In today’s gospel reading, we hear Jesus inviting Philip to “follow him.” Implied in this invitation was “Come and see God’s grace, come and see what I have come to do.”
Philip had good news and he wanted to share it with Nathanael. He said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth.” Philip wanted Nathanael to see what had been revealed to him, what he saw through eyes of faith.
When Philip told Nathanael that they had found the Promised One, Nathanael was not sure he wanted any part of a man named Jesus of Nazareth. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth,” he said. Philip’s answer was so simple, “Come and see.”
Nathanael’s response should sound familiar. Our sinful nature wants us to be blind when we see Jesus. When things get difficult in life, we often question what good has come to me through Jesus. We ask, “What good does it do me to come to church, to study his word, to ask for his forgiveness.”
Worse than that, your sinful natures asks, “What can Jesus do for me that I can’t do for myself.” When Nathanael came to Jesus, Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Yes, Jesus sees us where ever we are. He knows our thoughts, hears our words, and he see our actions.
For all of us this is not a comforting thought. If Jesus knows us this well then he knows that we fall short of obeying God’s law every day. He knows how we break every commandment even if we do not know all of our sins. Satan whispers in our ears, “Jesus will judge you, can anything good come from that?”
One of the thieves hanging on a cross next to Jesus saw only a man being crucified and asked, “Can anything good come from that man?” His answer was “No!” The other thief saw what John, and Peter, and Philip saw. He saw the Lamb of God who came to save him. He saw the suffering and death of Jesus as the sacrifice that paid for his sins and opened the gates of heaven for him.
Good News Comes
Nathanael believed that Jesus was the Son of God because Jesus knew something about him. We may be afraid of Jesus because he knows about us, but that is not why Jesus came into the world. He did not come to make us afraid of him and what he knows.
Jesus came into the world so that you might see God who is gracious and merciful and abounding in faithful love toward you. Jesus came into the world to give you real comfort and peace even in the midst of trials and suffering. He took with him to the cross all your sins.
Jesus took with him the sins that you and everyone know that you commit. He took with him the ones you try to keep hidden from others. He took with him the sins that you try to justify by saying there was a good reason to do what I did. Jesus took with him the sins that you do not even realize that you are doing, sins that you will only recognize when your faith grows stronger.
Jesus told Nathanael that he would see greater things than Jesus knowing that he had been sitting under a fig tree. Nathanael, Philip, Peter, Andrew and all the other disciples saw Jesus take your sins and theirs to the cross. They saw Jesus pay the penalty for those sins. They saw the empty tomb and saw Jesus ascend into heaven foreshadowing your resurrection and eternal life.
Come And See
“Can anything good come from Nazareth for you?” When that question comes into your mind, hear Jesus say, “Come and you will see.” Come to where you will see Jesus as your Savior, your Redeemer. In the water of Holy Baptism the Holy Spirit opened your eyes so that you have seen the blood of Jesus wash you clean from all your unrighteousness.
See Jesus when you read, hear, and study God’s Holy Words, for in those Words, you will see what John the Baptist saw, the Lamb of God who takes away your sins. That is what God’s Words reveals to you. It lets you see Jesus Christ for you and your salvation.
Come to the Lord’s Table and you will see Jesus. “This is my body and blood” he says, “give and shed for the forgiveness of your sins” he tells you. And after you return to your pew sing with faith the words of Simeon, “Lord, . . . my eyes have seen your salvation.”
When Jesus said “Come and you will see,” he was not saying “come once and that’s enough.” He wants you and me to come every day to see him, to see the One who laid down his life for us. Jesus wants us to see that in him we have died to the old sinful life and have been given a new life in him.
You came here today to see Jesus and he has not disappointed you. You have seen his salvation given to you. When you leave here you will see others who need to see Jesus too. You have a gift to share with them. Tell them, “Come and you will see.”
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
SOLI DEO GLORIA