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 towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come 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.’
The story of how Jesus calls his first disciples is told differently in John’s gospel. Here we don’t find Simon, Andrew, James and John attending to their nets on the shores of Lake Galilee with Jesus walking by and calling them to follow him and fish for people. John’s invitation to discipleship is different – it is to ‘come and see…’.
The story begins with John the Baptist and two of his disciples, Andrew and one unnamed. When they see Jesus they leave John and follow Jesus instead. Jesus asks them what they are looking for and their reply confirms that they recognise him as a Rabbi – a teacher of whom they will be followers. ‘Where are you staying?’, they ask and Jesus then invites them to ‘come and see’; to remain with him and to learn from him.
As the story continues Andrew seeks out his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. Jesus looks at Simon and immediately gives him the name Cephas – translated Peter, and with this new identity he too becomes a disciple.
The next day Jesus finds Philip and calls him with the familiar words ‘Follow me’. Philip then goes off to find Nathanael and invites him to ‘come and see’ Jesus. When Jesus sees Nathanael he tells him that he’s already noticed him sitting under the fig tree. Nathanael then sees Jesus not just as a Rabbi, but as God’s son, and follows him.
The call to discipleship starts with an invitation – to ‘come and see’. Jesus calls us to follow him, to abide with him, to be given a new identity and be transformed by him as we seek to learn from him and live out his life. And he invites us to encourage others – to call them to ‘come and see’ who and what we have found in Jesus that they too might hear his call and join him in the way of faithful discipleship and loving service.
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to respond to your invitation ‘to come and see’. May there be a curiosity about what we might find, with new insights about you, ourselves and those we called to serve. Help us to see discipleship as a journey of learning and discovery, as you call us and send us out with the invitation to ‘come and see’ on our lips and in our hearts. For your name’s sake, Amen
The Rev’d David Salsbury is the Stepwise and Digital Learning Programme Manager.