My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the book of St. John, the witness and testimony of the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lesson for individuals and families was introduced with the following paragraph.
Have you ever wondered whether you would have recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God if you had been alive during His mortal ministry? For years, faithful Israelites, including Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael, had waited and prayed for the coming of the promised Messiah. When they met Him, how did they know that He was the One they had been seeking? The same way all of us come to know the Savior—by accepting the invitation to “come and see” for ourselves (John 1:39). We read about Him in the scriptures. We hear His doctrine. We observe His way of living. We feel His Spirit. Along the way, we discover, as Nathanael did, that the Savior knows us and loves us and wants to prepare us to receive “greater things” (John 1:50).
The lesson contained several principles such as Jesus Christ was “in the beginning with God,” Jesus Christ is the “true Light,” the Son of God, Jesus Christ gives us “power to become” the sons and daughters of God, and the Father bears record of His Son. All of them would be a good topic to discuss, but I feel prompted to discuss a principle from the Sunday School lesson.
The topic of discussion for tonight is this principle found in John 1:35-51: We can gain our own witness of the Savior and then invite others to “come and see.” The invitation to “come and see” appears twice in John 1.
The first time that the invitation to “come and see” took place the day after the baptism of Jesus Christ. (See John 1:38-41.) John the Baptist stood with two of his disciples, and they saw Jesus walking near them. The Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples immediately went to follow Jesus, and Jesus turn to see them following Him.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Andrew took his brother, Simon Peter, to meet Jesus. When the Christ saw Peter, he said, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone” (verse 42). The next day, Jesus went into Galilee and found Philip. He said unto Philip, “Follow me” (verse 43). Philip was from Bethsaida, the same city as Andrew and Peter (verse 44).
Philip found Nathanael and said unto him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (verse 45). Nathanael asked if anything good could come from Nazareth, and Philip replied, “Come and see” (verse 46). Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him and said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is o guile!” (verse 47).
The invitation to “come and see” is extended to all people. What does “come and see” mean for us today?
Elder Neil L. Andersen, one of the Lord’s Apostles in our day, said that we can invite others to “come and see.”
“The Savior taught us how to share the gospel. I like the story of Andrew, who asked, ‘Master, where dwellest thou?’ . Jesus could have responded with the location of where He lived. But instead He said to Andrew, ‘Come and see’ . I like to think that the Savior was saying, ‘Come and see not only where I live but how I live. Come and see who I am. Come and feel the Spirit.’ We don’t know everything about that day, but we do know that when Andrew found his brother Simon, he declared, ‘We have found … the Christ’ .
Elder Andersen taught that Jesus Christ was inviting people to come and see how He lived and who He was. We, too, can invite other people to “come and see” how the gospel of Jesus Christ affects our lives. Issuing an invitation is not a requirement to come. An invitation simply offers an opportunity to “come and see.” Those whom we invite can either accept the invitation or reject it. The same people who reject may change their minds at a later date and accept a similar invitation from someone else.