April 24, 2007

Come and See

John 1:43-51

"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"... "Come and see." John 1:46


Nathanael introduces us to doubt. He doubts that anything good can come from Nazareth. We don't know why he's skeptical. But we are familiar with skepticism. Many people have wondered, "Can anything good come out of a church full of hypocrites who mounted cru?sades and supported slavery?"

Philip simply says to Nathanael, "Come and see." He doesn't argue; he doesn't bring out his best arguments to show that the Messiah could come from Nazareth. Philip responds to the doubt with a simple invitation.

Do you think the church is corrupt? Come and see. Allow me to introduce you to people for whom knowing Christ is also living for Christ.

Nathanael accepted the invitation. Why? Lots of people don't. In her novel While I Was Gone, Sue Miller re?lates a conversation between a minister and a skeptic. The conversation has turned to religion, and the skeptic says, "Why not try to save me? That's what your faith is about, isn't it? Harvesting souls?" The minister replies, "If that were what my faith was about, what I'd say to you is that you're not ripe... There has to be some need, some desire, even, for God."

Nathanael was ripe. He was longing for the fulfillment of God's promises. He was willing to suspend his skepticism to come to the light.

Lord Jesus, may we so live our lives together as believers that it disarms the skeptic and reveals your grace and truth. Encourage us to keep inviting others to meet you. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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