“Come and See, Come See, Come Follow” various verses
The historical record of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ on planet earth begins in John’s Gospel with a simple invitation to two of John the Baptist’s disciples. The Lord Jesus said to them, “Come and see.” As we travel through the Gospel accounts coming and seeing is exactly what we are doing. We learn from these divine eyewitness records how Jesus lived, what He taught, and how He died on the cross of Calvary. When we come to His resurrection we are standing with the women before the empty tomb and once again we hear the invitation, “Come, see.” This time it is not to see our Savior. We cannot see Him because He is not there. He is risen as He said. We are called to look at the place where He lay. Finally, as John closes his book he takes us to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and we find the disciples and Jesus together at breakfast. The Lord Jesus selects Peter, his loud mouthed impetuous disciple and says to him, “[Come], follow Me.”
We will attempt to look at these three invitations in view of our Resurrected Savior and see if we can’t learn how we should live in view of our Savior’s resurrection from the dead. Our three sign posts are: “Come and see” – John 1, “Come, see” – Matthew 28, “[Come] follow me” – John 21.
We begin our journey at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry in John 1:35-39. “Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi’ (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), ‘where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).”
This same invitation, “Come and See,” is found a second time in John 1. After the Lord Jesus has sought Philip, Philip went and found Nathaniel and again asked him to “Come and see.” John wrote: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”
What did Andrew and the unnamed disciple (John?) mean when they answered the Lord’s question the way they did in verse 38? “Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi’ (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), ‘where are You staying?’”
The fact that Andrew and John addressed the Lord Jesus as “Rabbi” was significant. Rabbis, masters, or teachers of that day had pupils that learned from them. They did not teach in classrooms. Instead, pupils or disciples learned by living with their teacher. They paid their tuition by helping him with household tasks. So, the request to see where the Lord was staying was probably a request to be considered as a disciple.
Jesus invited them into His life by bidding them to “Come and see.” Our Lord also invites us to enter into His life. All that the Father did in sending His Son into the world was done in the open. Everyone and anyone could hear Him teach and evaluate the miracles that He did. He did not hide in some cave or on a mountain top. He openly presented Himself to the people.
The first “Come and see” is an invitation to salvation and an eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we come initially to the Lord Jesus for salvation, we come because we have heard the good news of the Gospel and heard the Bible record. We came and saw and so we believed. The Bible is open before us and we can “Come and see” readily who the Lord is and what He did on Calvary to pay for our sins.
The second time we come on an invitation to “Come and see” is in Matthew 28. We have come to Resurrection Morning. Through Matthew’s Gospel we are able to look upon the scene at Jesus’ tomb when the women arrived. “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’”
The angel was anxious for the women there to see where Jesus had been. He did not want them to see the tomb because he was morbid. Nor was he interested in just satisfying their curiosity. He wanted them to openly examine the evidence that Jesus did resurrect from the dead just like He said He would.
Just as in His lifetime the evidence of His nature and purpose was openly displayed; it was manifest in His resurrection. Many evidences show that the Lord Jesus is alive and resurrected from the dead. The New Testament abounds with eyewitness testimony to the historical fact of the Resurrection. Through the angel, the Lord bids us to “Come see” the place that He lay and evaluate the evidence that Christ rose again from the dead.
For the sake of our brief study today let me cite three such evidences. First, a tomb guarded by a Roman guard, sealed by a Roman proconsul, was opened. Who moved the stone and overcame the guard? The angels did. Second, we need to consider the place where He lay. We know from all the Gospel accounts that the wrappings that surrounded Jesus’ body were still there. It was as if His body had passed through them. Grave robbers could not spare the time to unwrap the body at the grave. It would serve no purpose other than it could get them caught. Yet, Jesus’ grave wrappings were there. Finally, many credible witnesses would see the Lord Jesus alive in the next several days and weeks. The Apostle Paul in a very early epistle cites some of these appearances in 1 Corinthians 15.
We need to listen to the angel’s request. We need to recognize that our faith is a faith based on historical fact. We do serve a living Savior and He is in the world today. The second “Come and see” is the invitation to believe the Lord Jesus arose from the dead and to live out His resurrection in our lives.
The first “Come and see” was an invitation to salvation and fellowship. The second come and see gave us the reason we must believe. Our last invitation is not couched in the words “Come and see.” It is an invitation to discipleship. The Lord says to us, in view of His incarnation and resurrection, “[Come], follow Me.”
In John 21, the Lord gave Peter a chance to redeem himself after breakfast. An interesting thing happens after Peter openly confesses his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We read about it in verses 18-21: “‘[Truly, truly] I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’”
We must follow because we have come and seen. We must follow because we like Peter and John love the Lord. We must follow Him without comparing ourselves and in spite of following.
This poses an important question to each one of us. Have you and I come and seen? What are you and I going to do with what we have discovered? If we have come to know this risen Savior who is in the world today, will we follow Him? Will we follow no matter the cost? Will we follow whether anyone else follows too?