Belief is a funny thing: it has to be grown in individual lives. Belief can’t be given, forced, or prodded. Most people are naturally skeptical, so we usually don’t believe in a cause just because someone else does. For example, many of us sympathized this week with actor Christopher Reeve (of the “Superman” movies) on the anniversary of his tragic paralysis, but most of us are not actively involved in his foundation to search for a paralysis cure. Why don’t we believe and work in the cause as strongly as he does? Answer: because most of our lives have not been touched as deeply as his.
The same is true of Christian belief. People don’t believe in Jesus because we tell them to. They believe in Him because His words touch their lives deeply. We must do the preaching and teaching, but Jesus’ words ALWAYS do the convincing and convicting.
As one surveys the book of John, the phrase “come and see” is repeated in a number of places. John tells us that he wants us to believe in Jesus (John 20:30-31), but he wants us to believe because our lives have been touched by the Savior. Let’s examine those who were told to, “come and see.”
Good men were told to, “come and see” — Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist. They were interested in righteousness, and they were seeking the Messiah. One day when John the Baptist pointed out the, “Lamb of God” (John 1:36), Andrew and John investigated further. They asked Jesus where He was staying and He said, “come and see” (John 1:39). It was not the conviction of John the Baptist that convinced Andrew and John to believe, but rather time spent with the Savior himself!
Friends were told to, “come and see” — Philip tried to tell Nathaniel that he had found the Messiah, but Nathaniel was skeptical: “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Instead of arguing against the prejudices of the day, Philip merely said, “come and see!” What a lesson we could learn if we’d follow the example of the apostles themselves! Invite your friends to “come and see” Jesus.
Despised men were told to, “come and see” — One of the richest passages on belief is found in John 4. A Samaritan woman ran into her village exclaiming to her fellow Samaritans, “Come, see a Man who told me all the things I ever did! Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). The Samaritans, who were so despised by the Jews, went out to investigate the evidence for themselves. What they later say to the woman is especially telling: “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Jesus tells us to, “come and see”— The Savior stated His purpose this way: “for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (John 9:39). Some people think they have all the answers. It’s hard to convince such people to, “come and see.” On the other hand, there are some pure and searching hearts out there, and because those hearts exist, God’s people ought to be extending Christ’s great invitation to all men: “come and see!”
Next week is a great time to ask your neighbors and friends to “come and see” what Christianity is all about. Invite them. Let them come and examine the evidence for themselves. People believe because God’s touches their lives through His word. Let’s make sure we give our friends the opportunities we’d like to have! — John Baker