Come and See

John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus found Philip and Philip found Nathanael.  Philip made a mighty claim to have known Jesus for so short a time.  He is the one Moses wrote about in the Law.  He is the promised one of which the prophets wrote.  Oh, and by the way, he is from Nazareth.

Apparently, Nathanael feels about Nazareth the way many feel about a neighboring town where there is some rivalry or some history with its lingering reputation.  Nathanael is to be forgiven inasmuch as we are just like him.  His unguarded honesty in saying what he thought would get a back-handed compliment from no less than Jesus himself.

Though Nathanael was a skeptic, Philip utilized an excellent approach.  “Come and see.”  The model for this approach was Jesus.  When Andrew and an unnamed disciple of John the Baptist first approached Jesus, Jesus asked a question (what are you seeking) and gave an invitation (come and you will see). (John 1:37-39)  It was and is an invitation to know by experience.  Nathanael accepted.  So, what did he see?  What did he come to know by experience?

He saw one who knew his character.  John 1:47 “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  That had to be a little disconcerting for Nathanael.  Before introductions were made, truth was known.  Nathanael’s skepticism actually made him a more ready candidate to believe in Jesus than a lot of folk’s religion.  He really was open to this man and when Jesus revealed a knowledge of Nathanael, Jesus also revealed something about himself.  Nathanael came.  By God’s gracious invitation, he was beginning to see.

He saw one who knew his circumstances.  Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree. (John 1:48)  What a delicious detail!  Really?  Does God know that much about you, down to the tree you stood under how many hours ago?  If he knows something so trivial, can he possibly be unaware of the real concern that hangs over your head today?  Nathanael came.  Nathanael saw.

He saw one who knew his future.  John 1:50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe?  You will see greater things than these.”  To introduce anyone to Jesus is to open a door to the unimaginable, the divine, the endless.  Nathanael came and he began to see.

Jeremiah 33:2-3 Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

What a Savior he is!

The Works He Did

John 10:37-38 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.

There are those who would expunge the miraculous from the Gospel.  But to erase miracles is to erase life itself.  For nothing could be more miraculous this morning than the fact that we are alive.  Random selection is a wicked god.  There is nothing random in a loving mother laying down her life daily for an ill child or a father bending his back to sore labor to put food on the table.  That life should mean so much to anyone is proof enough of the priceless miracle we treasure and guard so carefully.

The works of Jesus were the works of God compressed in time and thus starkly visible to the eyes of men.  God had always been healing, helping, sustaining, and protecting.  Everything that the Son saw the Father do, he did.  Then, he did the grandest work of all.  Acts 2:24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Don’t you love it?  It was not possible!  Death could not hold him!  The ‘pangs of death’ that chill the miracle of life have been loosed.  The miracle of life, so long subjected to death, met the miracle of eternal life at the foot of the cross and at the door of an empty tomb.

John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

What a Savior!

New Song

Psalm 96:1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!

People have written songs about everything you can think of and even about the unthinkable.  Human love, heroic deeds, and the grandeur of nature are subjects that are perennially at the top of the charts.  But good music has been known to transport nonsense and a profound lyric has sometimes been lost in a bad tune.

The human heart was made to sing and sing it will.  For some, it is best confined to the shower or a lonely drive, preferably not in traffic.  For a few, the trauma of their own voice in song was enough to invoke a life long discipline of listening.  But we do listen and the heart sings even when the voice cannot, or should not.

The psalmist urged us to a new song.  Why new?  Why not old?  After all, the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Perhaps the newness of the song is about us, not him.  He hasn’t changed but hopefully we have.  Those who seek the Lord are in a continual discovery of who he is.  Jeremiah recorded that his mercies are new every morning.  God didn’t stop being merciful at midnight only to begin again at sunrise.  He is eternally merciful.  But it remains for us to discover it this morning.  Because he is the eternal God, we will always be in discovery, not just today but forever.  The song should match the experience, not new to God but new to us.

It is possible to sing an old song in a new way.  Not so much by a change of tune as by a change of heart.  I hope you have had the experience.  An old set of words and a long familiar tune, killed by the three R’s of ritualism (rote, rut, and rot – A.T. Robertson), suddenly come to life because we have suddenly come to life.  If you have not experienced it, I hope you will soon.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

What a wonderful Savior he is!