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Sep 11 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

September 9, 2012 – John 1:35-39

Why Did Jesus Say That?

They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see” John 1:38-39

INTRO: For the next few weeks, we’re going to look at some of the statements Jesus made and ask, “Why did Jesus say that?”

I’m not concerned with producing the best rational answer to fit the context and so on
– I’m looking for a personal answer and if possible to see inside the Lord’s head and heart
– taking what we know about Jesus and using our imagination, we will seek to understand him
• we won’t be trying to discover doctrines, but to get to know Jesus

To help make our study more manageable, we’ll stick with the Gospel of John

So . . ., Why did Jesus tell the two disciples of John the B, “Come and see”?

It will be helpful to learn how John sets up this story

The Gospel of John begins with a movement from God to human flesh, from heaven to earth, and from eternity into time
– so we go quickly from “In the beginning” to a succession of days
– “The next day . . . the next day . . . the next day” (vv. 29, 35, 43)

The first day, John denied he was the Christ – he is preparing the way for someone greater
– second day, John points out Jesus – the one he said would come
• this section is encapsulated and set apart from the text that comes before and after
• how do we know? The beginning and end of it are marked by two identifiers: v. 29, “Lamb of God,” v. 34, “Son of God”

John explains what he saw that clinched it for him:
– the Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus

Coming to the next day, John again points out Jesus

John was not always waist-deep in water baptizing people – he had disciples, he spent time teaching
– he again spotted Jesus while standing with two of his disciples
– Jesus wasn’t doing anything other than walking by
• for most of us, walking is exercise or way to clear our heads

Can anything significant happen when we take a walk? In other words, our world is in such a sorry state, shouldn’t we be doing something useful? Can we justify indulging ourselves with a walk without a specific goal or destination? Taking walks provide us with a good opportunity

  • to work through our thoughts
  • to praise God and give thanks
  • to pray
  • to meet new people
  • to deepen our relationship with our spouse, a child, or friend

Then they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8) Perhaps God had come to enjoy his daily walk with the man and woman

Walking defined companionship with God, “Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:24)

Jesus had been marked by John, “Behold, the Lamb of God”
– again John points him out to his disciples
– so the two disciples that were with John began following Jesus
• all they know about him is what they heard John say
• but they believed Jesus was at the heart of God’s next big thing

Jesus begins a conversation with them

He notices that he’s being followed, “What do you seek?” (the first words Jesus speaks in John’s Gospel)
– it’s a fair question, and there’s a host of possible answers: wisdom – knowledge – truth – Eternal life – God
– the point is, Jesus makes them think about it and face the answer
• they have to be clear regarding what it is they’re after

For centuries, Israel had been seeking the Messiah
– this is emphasized here: Andrew found Peter and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (vv. 40-41)
• when ready to move on, to Galilee, Jesus found Philip (v. 43)
• Philip found Nathaneal and said, “We have found Him . . .” (v. 45)

At first, the answer the disciples give Jesus sounds lame, “Where are you staying?”
– but that they call him “Rabbi” gives us a clue that there’s more to their answer
• they were interested in becoming his disciples
• they wanted to know where they could find him, where they could come to receive instruction
– they wanted to have access to Jesus

Why did Jesus say, “Come and see”?

Why didn’t he say, “I’m staying in a campsite by the river,” or “With the Goldsteins,” or “In a hostel on the corner of Imperial and 3rd”?
– it’s because Jesus has little interest in doling out information for its own sake
– if a person asks for information without intending to do anything with it, Jesus doesn’t answer them or give them the information they want
– when Jesus does share information, he adds something to it
• a command, instructions as to what to do with it, or he leaves them with a question, like, “What will you do now that you know these things?”

“Come and see” is an invitation for them to experience the answer to their question
– Jesus did mind that they interrupted his walk
• for Jesus, people are not an interruption, they’re his mission
– his heart is open to them – if they want to join him, he will gladly receive them

All that the Father give Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out (Jn. 6:37)

– maybe he sees them as the first wave of the crowds to follow
• his “first customers,” so to speak – or the first citizens of the heavenly kingdom

Jesus said, “Come and see” because he did not want to let them go
– this is the moment of encounter — they had been prepared for this
– Jesus did not want to risk them forgetting his address or losing their way
• he did not want them to walk away and let the fire go out
– Jesus is concerned with here and he is concerned with now
• we ask for an appointment – for time to think about it
• he shakes his head and says, “You want Me or you don’t”

Jesus wanted them to be more than disciples, in the same way that he was more than a Rabbi, but was also “the Lamb of God,” and “the Son of God”
– he wanted them to become servants, like himself (Jn. 13:12-17)
• then, through learning servanthood, graduate to friend

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you (Jn. 15:15)

Jesus said, “Come and see,” because he wants more than to merely answer their question
– he wanted access to them
– Jesus came into this world with something for humankind
• to say he brought “salvation” can be misleading, because we’ve been led to believe that salvation has to do with the future or a condition that is exclusively spiritual
– Jesus brought healing for everything in us that is broken (v. 16)
• he came to redeem every part of our lives — mental, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual
– Jesus was eager to share what he had for us
• by choosing to follow him, they were among first to receive what he had to give
• so he told them, “Come and see” so that they could be among the first to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psa. 34:8)

They have to see this for themselves
– reviewing the whole story in this first chapter, there is a lot of looking and seeing
• in John’s gospel, especially, sight is used metaphorically for perception, both intellectual and spiritual
– three times we come across “Behold,” (vv. 29, 36, 47) – “Look!”
• we also find a word meaning to look attentively, so as to learn
• and word meaning to stare, to know by experience (of sight)
Only at the end of John’s Gospel do we learn that a person can rise higher through faith than through sight (Jn. 20:29)

This is Jesus’ answer to the first question we put to him – no matter what we ask, he answers, “Come and see”
– later, when Philip found Nathanael and told him that Jesus of Nazareth was God’s Messiah, Nathanael’s first question was whether any good thing could come out of Nazareth
• Philip’s simple  answer was, “Come and see”

CONC: The end of this episode is as interesting as everything else

They “stayed with Him” — they did not go home that night
• they were with Jesus now
– John used the word that is translated “stayed” earlier when the Baptist saw the Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus (v. 32)
• John will use the same word again in chapter 15, where it becomes the essence of living in relationship with Jesus — there it is translated “abide”

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:4-5)

From Jesus’ answer “Come and see,” we learn that if we want anything from Jesus

  1. we’ll have go with him, we’ll have to see for ourselves how he becomes the answer to our questions
  2. we’ll have to stick with him, abide in him
  3. Jesus doesn’t acknowledge that odd category we invented known as “the nominal Christian”
  4. Jesus doesn’t have anything to give us apart from himself
    • if we’re going to receive anything from Jesus, we have to take everything

One Comment

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  1. paul Udell / Sep 13 2012

    “Why did Jesu say that? “——-” Come and you will see.”

    I have been reading about words and how we consume words to gain insights and knowledge. What most of us don’t realize is at the same time WE are being consumed by the same words. Without modifying their influence over us, words become hypnotic.

    I constantly struggle against the effects words have on my thinking. Maybe Jesus understood this. When He said, “What do you seek? “, He was, as you said, “making them think about and face the answers.” Maybe He knew that words have created concretized perceptions in us which hinder our salvation–the idea that salvation lies not in words, but in realization.

    Great ministry—-keep it up!!

    P.S. I loved your ideas on impermanence and “NEW IS ETERNAL”. God has something new for us every moment of the now, if we would only come and see.

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