In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, a very revealing incident is recorded. Two young men, curious but uncertain, approached Jesus. They had heard of the things Jesus was doing and saying. They wondered about his identity, but they were not yet sure if he was real.
“Where do you live?” they mustered up the nerve to ask. This was a great leading question for Jesus. It presented him with an excellent opportunity to deliver a theological dissertation on the incarnation. He could have said, “Why, don’t you know, I was here before the world was made?”, or “Do you know about my special birth in Bethlehem?” “Do you know about the prophets’ predictions?” But he said nothing like that. He simply said, “Come and see.”
These young men, along with a few others accepted this simple invitation. They came and they saw a most useful life. They saw one that cared and loved deeply, not only in word but in action. They saw one who lived life to the hilt. They saw one who could pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” but could also touch the humblest person. They saw one who would sit and listen all evening to an intimate discussion, but still cry at the death of a friend.
Because of what they saw, these same men and women sought to tell others. Philip, one of the two disciples who accepted Jesus’ initial invitation, later went to his friend Nathaniel and said, “I have found the one all the people are talking about, one who can help you find life.” “Who is that?” Nathaniel asked. Philip, taking a cue from his new master, simply said, “Come and see.”
The primary evidence that will appeal to the skeptic and the uninvolved is that of pragmatic experience. They must see the evidence of God at work. Few are argued into the presence of God; rarely is anyone scared into his arms. A lost, lonely individual is lured into God’s presence by someone who cares. To the uninvolved, to the skeptic who must have proof, to the honest doubter, rational arguments for the uniqueness of Jesus or theological discussions are not enough. To these we make the invitation, “Come and see.”
A while back, I saw the classic movie, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. In the movie Ingrid Bergman plays the part of Gladys Aylward, who in real life did go to China as a missionary in the early 1930’s. In a foreign and often hostile culture, she so modeled the Christ-like life, that she won over the hearts of many, earning the name “Genali”, meaning, “the one who loves people.”
As the winds of World War II blew menacingly, with the Japanese invasion crushing in, she was actively involved in efforts to rescue the people of the province. At a climactic meeting with local leaders, the chief stood up in front of all the others and announced, “We have all seen what Genali’s like. I am now saying to all that the chief is today a Christian because of Genali.” Tears came to my eyes. This is faith at work, lived out, visible. Can we say to our world, “Come and see?”
Can we share our gifts and resources to serve the Gospel today?
Wayne Grant, Stewardship Team