I’ve been thinking a lot about the apostle Philip; particularly the little story from John 1:43-48 “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Philip was from the town of Bethsaida, where Andrew and Peter lived. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘Remember that Moses wrote in the law about a man who was coming, and the prophets also wrote about him. We have found him. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph. He is from Nazareth.’ But Nathanael said to Philip, ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?’ Philip answered, ‘Come and see.’”
A three-word invitation.
What kinds of invitations do we give? Parties, graduations, weddings, meals, milestone celebrations, games, visits, events, church programs and events, etc. “You are invited; Come and celebrate!”
Because who doesn’t love a good celebration? Especially if there’s cake.
But the invitation Philip offered to Nathanael most likely was not to a party and probably didn’t include cake and ice cream. The “come and see” invitation was a call to a personal experience; “I’m telling you Nate; Jesus is the messiah we’ve been waiting for. But come see for yourself.” And Nathanael did. After a little conversation with Jesus, he also became a believer and a disciple.
I recently read a story about a Christian who lived in a country that did not allow open Christian evangelism, yet he had an effective witness to international students. This man and his wife would invite students to Sunday meals, where between 30 and 50 people from different cultural and religious traditions would eat together and build friendships. The author of the story asked, “So you talk about Christ at these meals?”
“No,” he said. “It is impossible to talk openly of Jesus Christ.”
“So how,” I asked him, “are you able to see so many find Christ?”
“I love them,” he replied, “until they ask my why…through loving them they meet Jesus Christ, even though they don’t know whom they’ve met. Once they’ve sensed the reality of his love through me, they’re open to discuss the reason for the love and acceptance they’ve experienced.”
The author wrote, “Could a well-cooked meal sprinkled with lots of love start a people-flow toward the Cross?”1
Come and see how both my words and actions represent the love that Jesus Christ has given me. Come and see how both my words and actions represent the relationship that I have with Jesus, and the loving relationships I have with other believers. Come and see how Jesus has changed my life.
We are not inviting people to US; we are inviting people to draw near to the One who loves them extravagantly and who draws people to Himself.
"Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Mt 22:37-40, MSG
We aren’t to argue or scare people to Jesus; we are to love people to him.
Love them till they ask you why.
I’m praying for you,