5 January 2011

John 1:43-51

"Come and see" (v. 46)


There is a recurring pattern in this Gospel's stories of the first disciples. They seem to be people already on the lookout for something or someone important, so that when they come across Jesus they say "we have found him" (verse 45). Having found Jesus, they then tell someone else about him and invite them to "come and see" for themselves. As a result of seeing and meeting Jesus, the new recruit also makes the decision to follow. 

Other people's descriptions can never be as good as when we see something for ourselves. So when Philip has aroused Nathaniel's interest in this person Jesus, so that Nathaniel starts asking questions, Philip says "Come and see". 

Many words have been written about the possible meanings of the word 'see'. It can be simply what people's eyes do. But, in a deeper sense it can also be about understanding and realisation, like when someone explains something complicated to us and suddenly the light dawns so we say 'I see!' 

Here in John's Gospel, in the presence of Jesus who is the light of the world, again and again people really begin to see. In John 9:1-12 there is the story of the healing of the blind man, which hints at various meanings of the word 'see'. And John 4:1-42 has the story of Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman, in which she comes to 'see' things in a totally new light and wants other people to come and meet the person who can do this. 

To Ponder

What first interested you in the person of Jesus?

How did you follow up that initial interest?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Gamble

David Gamble is a Methodist minister currently serving as conference officer for Legal and Constitutional Practice and was president of the Methodist Conference 2009/2010. He is married to Liz and they have three adult children.