The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
‘Come and see’ – this is Jesus’ invitation to the two curious disciples of John the Baptist, and the invitation Philip shares with his brother Nathanael. This passage is full of seeing and being seen, from John exclaiming ‘Look!’ to Jesus promising Nathanael that he will ‘see heaven opened’. Perhaps the key is in Jesus’ question ‘What are you looking for?’ and the claims of the future disciples Andrew and Philip that they have found all they are searching for in him. Seek and you will find….
This passage is also full of really seeing the other. First John sees Jesus for who he is, the Lamb of God, the innocent suffering servant who would bring restoration, resurrection and renewal for the whole world. Jesus sees Simon as the Peter-rock on which a Spirit-filled community of love, with the ability to change the world, can be built. Nathanael sees past his learnt prejudice of Nazarenes to recognise Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus sees Nathanael’s heart of integrity (no deceit) and preparedness to discover God in unlikely times and places – a true Israelite or member of the family of God.
Learning to see others as Jesus sees them, to name and affirm the gifts God has given them, to enable those gifts to be exercised as part of the body of Christ (whatever the age, stage, background of that person) is our collective calling to build one another up. Perhaps then we will be able to see that heaven is indeed open, and we will be able to excitedly say ‘Look!’ to our neighbours and point to where we can see Christ alive and at work in the world bring hope and peace.
Open our eyes Lord we want to see Jesus.
Open our eyes Lord we want to see past our prejudices and see each other as your beloved children.
Open our eyes Lord we want to see heaven open and your light and love poured out into the world.
Open our eyes Lord we want to show others all you have shown us.
Open our eyes Lord that we may come and see.
Sam Richards, serving as Head of Children’s and Youth Work, member of mayBe Community.