Sunday, August 27, 2023

“Come and See” [Matt's Messages]

“Come and See”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
August 27, 2023 :: John 1:35-51 

Heather and I just recently bought a car. It’s out there in the car park.

If you’re one who likes all the details, it’s a 2007 Honda CRV with about 86,000 miles on it. And like all the other cars and trucks and motorcycles in our driveway right now, it is red.

We’ve been looking for another vehicle since January when my (also red) Ford Escape failed its inspection and had to be sold off to a guy in New York where they apparently don’t have inspections.

I spent a good deal of February and March scouring the internet for a vehicle that matched our wishlist (which actually does not necessarily include the color red!). And I just couldn’t find anything we liked in our price range.

A couple of times, I saw something interesting online, and then we traveled an hour both ways to look at it and came back disappointed and empty-handed. They looked a lot better in the pictures than in reality.

And our sabbatical was coming up fast, and we didn’t really need another vehicle to just sit there for three months, so we stopped looking, and what a relief that was! We borrowed for several weeks and got all the way to sabbatical. Three months of driving that little Renault across the UK.

Then, while we were in London, the week before we came back, I opened up my laptop and started looking again. And I found this CRV at a dealership in Dubois. And it looked good. As far as I could see, it had everything on our wishlist including low miles, and it was actually in our price range. And so I sent the listing to Peter and to my Dad, and they both came back, “That looks good. You should check that out.” And when we got home, I messaged the dealership and said, “Is that CRV still there?” And the guy said basically, “Yes it is. Come and see.”

I asked him about previous owners and how it looked. And he said there is a dent on the rear hatch but other than that’s it’s “crazy clean.” You love the salesmanship there. “Crazy clean.” Especially the underside. No surface rust. And it was two day back, and we still had jet lag, but Heather and I looked at each other and said, “There’s only one away to find out if it’s for real. Let’s go look at it.”

Come and See.

And you can tell what happened next. We looked it over for ourselves, took it for a test-drive, agreed with the guy about some things that needed fixed on it before we would bring take possession, and then shook hands on a price. We got it two days before the Crusie, and I took it to Ohio and back this week for an ordination council. So glad that’s over!


“Come and See.”

The Lord Jesus says those words or something like them several times in this short passage of the Gospel of John. Jesus invites several men to check Him out and then to become His followers.

Jesus has not yet spoken up to this point in this book. The Gospel opened with a Prologue that tells the story of the story that John is going to tell. And it’s all about The Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1). “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:14 NIVO)” (Jn. 1:14 NIVO). “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known” (Jn. 1:18 NIVO). And we know that the Word is Jesus. That’s from the Prologue.

Then last week, we received the testimony of John the Baptist, “Notorious JTB.” John insisted that he was not the Christ, but that Jesus was. And more than that, Jesus was the Lamb of God and the Son of God.

And today he’s going to i.d. Jesus once again, and then Jesus will speak, too. The Word will use words. And Jesus will invite five men, and by extension us, to follow Him.

Look at John chapter 1, verse 35. “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus” (vv.35-37).

Do you get the picture? It’s the very next day from when the Baptizer, “the Voice,” pointed his boney finger at Jesus and, in public, called Him the “The Lamb of God.” Very next day. He’s doing it again. And we don’t know how many other people were there, but two of his disciples, John’s followers, were with him. One of them was Andrew (according to verse 40), and we’re not told who the other one was (though I suspect it was the author of this Gospel, John). 

And John the Baptist says to them the very same thing he said the day before as Jesus is passing by, “Look, the Lamb of God!” The “Voice” speaks.

“That’s the One Who is going to be like the sacrificial lamb of the Passover. That’s the One Who is going to be like the lamb Who does not open His mouth from Isaiah 53:7 as He was being pierced for our transgressions. That’s the One Who will take away the sin of the world. That One right there.”

And John’s disciples believe him and start following Jesus!

That’s a big deal. It’s saying more than just that they started walking behind him. It’s saying that they transferred from John’s school into Jesus’ school. They were becoming Jesus’ disciples.

And Jesus is just fine with that. Verse 38. “Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’” Literally, “What are you seeking?” “What is it that you are after in following Me?”

I love that He turned around to do this. He’s totally aware of what’s going on. And they are looking at Him full in the face. And He’s looking at them. “What do you want?” v.38

“They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’”

In other words, “Where are we headed? We’re with you now.” They aren’t just curious about where Jesus is spending the night; they are saying that they are joining His school so they need to know where to show up for class! “We are we going?”

I love that the first thing Jesus says in this Gospel is, “What do you want?”

I love it that it’s a question. Jesus always ask the best questions. And this one gets right to the heart. “What is it that you want?”

And then I love that the very next thing He says is, “Come and see.” v.39

“‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.”

That’s four o’clock. I’m not sure why John tells us that except that it establishes that it’s history. He was probably an eyewitness at this event, one of the participants, and it nails the fact that this really happened, about four o’clock that very day.

And maybe it means that they stayed with him that evening, too. The day was getting on, and they not only “spent that day with him” and followed Jesus to where He was staying, but stayed there, too.

Either way, Jesus is fine with them coming around. He invites them to check it out and to check Him out, and see if He is the real deal. “Come and See.”

I love this about Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t just expect us to have blind faith. He invites us to investigate Him for ourselves. To kick the tires. To look under the hood.

The sales guy in Dubois actually put our car up on his lift so that I could walk around underneath it and check it out up close and personal. I was like, “Oh yea, that part there. I recognize that. That looks good.” The point was that there wasn’t any rust, which I could see. It must have been kept in a garage in winter or something. Not run along salted Pennsylvania roads from 2007 to today.

Jesus invites us to walk around and check Him out for ourselves, as well.

That’s the whole point of this book!

We learned a few weeks ago that John wrote this book to introduce us to Who Jesus really is. He lays out what He’s learned about Jesus so that we can follow Him, too. He said to us, this book was “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn. 20:31, NIVO). Come and see for yourself.

I’ve got three points of application to share with you this morning, and that’s the first one of them:


You and I are invited to check Him out and put our faith in His name.

Notice the names for Jesus that are here in this passage:

He’s called the Lamb of God (v.36), which emphasizes His sacrificial death.

He’s called (v.38), “Rabbi, which means Teacher.” That emphasizes that Jesus has a philosophy of life that He wants to impart to His disciples. He is someone who is Teaching a Way of Life and invites us to follow Him in it.

And in verse 41, He’s called “the Messiah.” Look at verse 40.

“Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus...” (vv.40-42a, NIVO).

Come and See! Hey, Simon, come and see this man named Jesus.

Now, I love two things about that. One is that Simon (and by extension you and I) are invited to check out Jesus for ourselves. But I also love it that Andrew, after spending like just one evening with Jesus, was so convinced that He was ready to invite his brother to follow Jesus, too!

What do you think about Jesus? Are you so convinced that Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Teacher and the Messiah that you are ready to invite other people to check Him out, as well?

Andrew says to Simon, “Come and see.”

Every time we meet the disciple Andrew he’s bringing someone to Jesus. 

We need more Andrews these days. Not someone who has all the answers, but someone who is just simply willing to tell other people what they themselves have found. V.41 “We have found the Messiah. Just like John the Baptist said. This guy is the real deal. This is the One who has been sent to rescue us. Come and see for yourself.”

So Andrew brings Simon to Jesus. And look at what happens. Verse 42.

“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).”

I love the detail here. He looks at Simon. And He knows him. He knows that Simon, at this point, is anything but a Rock. He’s more like sand-castle at this point in his life, but Jesus can see what Simon will be, and He tells him how He’s going to change him. You will be called “Rocky.”

And we know the story, how eventually Jesus will build His church on Peter’s understanding of Who Jesus really is. Peter will be a solid foundation stone that the church will be built upon throughout the ages. He will be Cephas. He will be Peter. He will be Rock. I love that Jesus can see that right from the git-go. 

In fact, let’s make that point number two:


The seeing goes both ways. When we come to check out Jesus, we will find that we are already known. V. 42 again. “Jesus looked at him.”

It’s amazing how many times the gospels tell us that Jesus looked at people. That they were under His gaze. It’s part of loving someone to look at them. And it’s part of truly knowing them.

Jesus truly knows us.
Jesus truly knows you.
And He loves you.

Come and be seen by Jesus.

That’s a big part of this next story, and it’s a miracle! It starts with a fourth new disciple named “Philip.” Verse 43. “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee [He’s probably on the way to a wedding in Cana]. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida” (vv.43-44).

It kind of seems like Philip probably knew Andrew and Peter. They were all from the same hometown. And probably they’ve been talking about Jesus and Who He is. Especially Andrew.

But here it’s Jesus that straight up invites Philip to follow Him. And Philip does. We’ll read more about Philip as the book unfolds. He’s great at saying what everybody else is thinking!

But he begins to follow Jesus and, like Andrew, to invite others to do so, too. Like his friend Nathanael. It’s great to see these guys all excited about Jesus and wanting each other to know Him and follow Him, too? That’s how we should be!

We need more Andrews and Philips! Not just come and see but come and share. We will all do it our own way, but we should all be doing it. Who was the last person you told about Jesus? Who was the last person you invited to check Him out? Who was the last person you invited to “come and see Jesus.”?

Philip invited Nathanael. Verse 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.’”

There’s a couple more names for Him:

The Promised One. Philip says that He is the One the Law and the Prophets had predicted. He is the fulfilment of Genesis 3:15, Genesis 49:9, Numbers 24:17, Deuteronomy 18:18, 2 Samuel 7, Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 31, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 53. And Psalm 2 and Psalm 16 and Psalm 72 and Psalm 110. And hundreds of other passages.

He is the One!  “We have found the one....” And He’s the son (we know that He was adopted) of Joseph. Jesus of Nazareth.

Now, Nathanael is not impressed with one key word in that speech from Philip. It’s the word “Nazareth.” Nazareth was a podunk little town in Galilee that didn’t amount to much. It was kind of the Pinchatolee of Galilee. It wasn’t even the little town of Bethlehem where the Messiah was supposed to come from! So if Jesus came from Nazareth, Nathanael was not going to be impressed. V.46

“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.”

See for yourself. Don’t just dismiss Him out of hand. Come and see. So, Nathanael did. And Jesus had seen him. Verse 47. “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’ [That’s a big compliment, by the way. He’s saying that here’s a son of Jacob who doesn’t have any “Jacob” in him. He’s not perfect, but he’s honest. He’s not crooked. Nathanael would never make it in politics or selling used cars. Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false].” 

‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’”

That’s a miracle. Jesus is saying that He somehow saw Nathanael sitting under this  particular fig tree before Philip had invited him over to check out Jesus. And He knew him. He knew his heart. He knew his ways. He knew what he was like. He knew how honest he was. 

And friends, He knows you, too. Your strengths and your weaknesses. He knows what you are good at and what you are bad at. He never overlooks you.

One of you told me last Sunday that I often skip shaking your hand before church. It’s like I don’t see you. I overlook you. I was embarrassed to hear that I had done that, and I’m very sorry for missing you.

Jesus never does that.  He knew Nathanael, and He knows you and me.  Nathanael was bowled over by this! That was all it took for Nathanael to jump on board. Look at verse 49. “Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.’”

Nathanael did a 180, didn’t he?  He says, “Philip was right! You are the One Promised in the Old Testament.  You are the King of Israel. You are the Son of God.” Now, that last one could be just saying the same thing twice. The King of Israel was known as the Son of God. Check out Psalm 2. “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’” (Ps. 2:7 NIVO). But we know that Jesus fulfills that to the greatest degree to that He is not just the Son of God, but God the Son. The Unique One and Only Son of God.

Nathanael probably didn’t understand that yet, but you and I do. That’s His name, and if we believe in it, we have life!

What do you think about Jesus?

Who do you think that He is?

If you are not yet sure, then I invite you and encourage you to come and see. To check Him out. To investigate Jesus and see if He is what you are looking for. One way to do that is to simply read the rest of this book. Keep reading to the end of the Gospel of John. Stick with us in this sermon series as we see Who John says Jesus is. There are lots of other good books that shed light on it, too. The other Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And books about them. I’ve got a pile up here for you to consider.

Don’t be afraid to look under the hood.

Christianity is no bait and switch. It’s not just shiny on the outside or from afar. Instead, when you get inside, you find out that it’s even better than advertised.

Because Jesus is better than advertised.

Most of us here are convinced, right?

That’s why we’re here today. But are we holding back? We’re convinced that Jesus is the Lamb of God, that He’s the Messiah, that He’s the Christ, that He’s the Promised One, that He’s the Son of God and the King of Israel.

But we are not convinced that we can trust Him with our:


So we’re holding back control of some of those.

Jesus invites us to try Him out. To give Him control of every area of our lives. And we will be amazed at what He does with them. He invites us to believe, and to have life in His name.

Nathanael believed, and Jesus said that he “hadn’t seen nuthin’ yet.” Verse 50. You can almost hear him chuckling.

“Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man’” (vv.50-51).


That thing that Jesus had told Nathanael was just a taste of things to come. Jesus declared that Nathanael would see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

There’s another name for Jesus. That’s one of His all-time favorites. Son of Man. It emphasizes His humanity while drawing all kinds of Old Testament connections to emphasize His divine status, as well (see Daniel 7).

Jesus says that Nathanael will see angels of God ascending and descending on Him. 
What is He talking about? That’s a greater thing, alright! When did that happen?

He doesn’t mean literally. He’s drawing a picture of a spiritual reality using an allusion to the story of Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis 28. 

Do you remember that story? Jacob had stolen his brother’s birthright and run away from home and was given a vision in a dream of a ladder, or, better, a stairway, between heaven and earth. With angels ascending and descending on the stairway.

Do you remember this? Jacob didn’t deserve it. It was all of grace. It always was grace with Jacob! 

What was the point of that story? The point was that God has taken the initiative in His grace to make contact and connection between heaven and earth, between Him and His people. The point was that God, by His grace, had linked heaven and earth. 

And Jesus says in verse 51 that He. Will. Be. The. Ladder.

He’s not the new Jacob. He’s the new stairway! Jesus is going to be the connection point between God and His people. Jesus is going be our access to God!

“...ascending and descending on the Son of Man!”

Come and see greater things, like a restored relationship between heaven and earth! Like a restored relationship between God and His people. We can know God! Because Jesus has made Him known.

Jesus is the Way to the Father! Do you want to get to God? Do you want to get to heaven? You can’t get there on your own. You and I cannot build a stairway to heaven. But Jesus, at the Cross, was the Stairway.

Later on in this Gospel, Jesus is going to tell Thomas and Philip that He is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through” Him (Jn. 14:6 NIVO).

He is the connection point, the link, between heaven and earth.

Do you believe?

Come and see!


Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34