“Come and see.”
These are the words that were said by Philip to Nathaniel when he had first heard about Jesus (John 1:43-50). And as I read this passage of scripture, his words kept replaying over and over in my head.
…Come and see.
When we think about it, we live in a generation and culture filled with messages of non-solicited advice and “help,” but I wonder how many of these messages involve us asking others to follow Christ. And even if the messages do involve the gospel, how many of them are given from the same perspective and question that Philip had?
The great commission we were given as Christians is to share the Good News with others. In Matthew 28:19 NIV, we are told to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Regular People” Share the Gospel Too
When it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s not an assignment that is only given to those in ministry. Pastors, missionaries, and leaders in church are not the only ones that God wants to use in leading people to Christ. This is a calling that each of us have.
And our relationship with Christ should compel us to tell others about Him. He’s a Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Provider. We should want to tell the whole wide world about a God like this!
But why is it so hard?
I remember when God convicted me in this area a few years ago. I was sitting in a small group with my 40-year-old friends. Yes, you read that right. I have NO idea how I ended up in a Bible study when I was 22 and everyone else was 40 and older, but listen, we had a good time!
Either way, there was a night where we went around the room and had to share who our “person” was – the person we were praying to get saved, the person we would invite to church, the person we would start a conversation with about God.
Immediately, I got uncomfortable.
Up until that point, I had never thought about having a conversation about God with anyone other than someone who already knew about Him or was in a relationship with Him. The thought of openly talking about God was honestly terrifying.
What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to bring it up?
And I have continued to struggle with these questions over the years, but I think that this story in John gives us a pretty great example that we can all follow.
Handling Misconceptions about God and the Church
The truth is, everyone has their own view of Christ. They believe what they believe based on what they’ve seen and heard whether that is from people or from the “Capital C” Church. Unfortunately, there are cases where past encounters with Christianity have caused people to have a distorted view of who God is.
As a result, this may make some of us feel anxious to say anything. We don’t want to step on toes. We don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable or judged. We don’t want to offend, so we use phrases like “to each his own” or “live your life.”
Jesus had to deal with the same problem.
He grew up in a town called Nazareth, and his hometown had a bad reputation. For me, I can completely relate to this sentiment because I was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, a town that generally gets the same comments.
“Nothing good comes from Fayetteville. Fayetteville is ghetto.”
But we shouldn’t allow false misconceptions about Jesus cause us to be afraid of saying anything about Him. We cannot let our fear of offending others prevent us from extending an opportunity that will change their entire life – quite literally.We cannot let our fear of offending others prevent us from sharing the gospel - an opportunity that will change their entire life - quite literally. Click To Tweet
We should learn to have the same response as Philip:
Come and see.
Philip didn’t have a debate with Nathaniel. He didn’t judge him. There was no fear or worry. He just reached out to his friend, took his preconceived notion about the God we serve, and instead invited him to have an open mind.
It’s Not Your Responsibility To Save Others
Sometimes, we try to take on the burden of getting people saved. We make it our responsibility to start the process of introducing them to Christ and then making sure they start a relationship with Him too. But that is not our role.
When we look at Philip and observe his actions, he simply extended the invitation to introduce Nathaniel to who Jesus was. He didn’t push Jesus onto Him. He didn’t say a lot. He didn’t do anything weird or out of the ordinary. He just brought the conversation up.
Practically, in today’s age, this can look like:
- Inviting someone to church
- Inviting someone to an event at church
- Inviting someone to your small group
- Asking someone to coffee or dinner
- Asking someone if they have any prayer requests
- Encouraging someone and letting them know that you’re thinking about them
Our roles as Christians are like the heavenly party promoters: the ones always extending the invite. Or the assist: the team player that passes the ball to Jesus so He can make the dunk.
Jesus Does The Work, Not Us
Because when we look back at the passage, my favorite part is the fact that Jesus met Nathaniel’s doubt with love and encouragement. In verse 47, we see that Jesus says, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel – a man of complete integrity.”
God knew Nathaniel’s doubt. He knew Nathaniel before Nathanial ever met Him, and in that moment, He demonstrated his omniscience or all-knowingness.
I don’t know about you, but this was a small reminder for me that if I can bring people to Christ just as Philip did, God might demonstrate that same power towards them too. There’s no telling what God will do! But we can rest in the fact that He holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).
So I challenge you to think about “your” person, just as I was asked at that small group years ago with my 40-year-old friends. Think about the person you’re praying and believing God for to one day begin a relationship with Him. And then see how you can follow Philip’s example. Extend the invitation, ask them to “come and see,” and see where the conversation takes you.
Reflection/Discussion: Have you ever shared the gospel before? How did you do it? Or what are your questions about sharing the gospel? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Hanha Hobson is an author, speaker, and the founder of Transparency Ministries. From published devotionals to empowerment workshops, she will stop at nothing to see women encounter God and she is passionate about teaching and equipping them to live a life of freedom. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating Chickfila, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!