“What are you looking for? Rabbi, where are you staying? He said to them: Come and see”. Come and see! John 1:29-42
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.” Teacher, we want to spend some time with you. We want to be with you, to get to know you better. They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon
Come and see! What does this invitation mean to you this morning? What does it mean to me? For me it’s an invitation to come away for a while, to find the ‘holy’ place where Jesus is. This holy place is anywhere we choose to set apart a time and a place to spend some quality time with God. For Andrew and another unnamed disciple, it was a place set apart by Jesus, perhaps a place set up as his camp where he and his followers took rest at certain times of the day or night. They came and saw where he was staying and remained with him that day. It was four o’clock in the afternoon.
In the Hebrew Bible, (the First Testament) days do not start at midnight. New days start in the evening. A full day goes from one evening (dusk) to the next. In the story of creation in Genesis it says, “And it was evening, and it was morning; day one”, “And it was evening, and it was morning; the second day” etc. By mentioning evening before morning, Genesis defines a day as beginning with the evening, followed by the morning.Not only was it four o’clock in the afternoon, or as King James Version says about the tenth hour. In other words, these two disciples spent the day, the evening, the night and late into the afternoon. They hung around with Jesus for a full day.
Life changing moments have a way of burning into your memory, the very details of that experience. You ever have an experience like that, an experience that you can remember the place, the time of day, and other details about the experience, like a DVD downloaded into your memory. For these disciple’s, it was four o’clock in the afternoon.
We are in the season of Epiphany. The Greek word for epiphany means a manifestation, a sudden brightness of appearing, an existential awareness of understanding, to suddenly have a deep awareness and appreciation of something that you did not perceive before; to have your eyes opened to a deeper truth; to know more fully than you had known before.
We are invited to come and see, to come and spend some quality time with Jesus. This is the vertical side of getting to know God and a desire to be known by God. This is the first part of the greatest commandment. Jesus says the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And this is the part of “come and see” that rekindles that desire to spend some quality away time with God. That time may be in the evening for you, or perhaps in the early morning.
When I served as a Chaplain for the VA Hospitals of New York City, I spent a lot of hours traveling between hospitals by subway between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. This travel time, even when the subway cars were crowded became my time alone with God, a time to close my eyes and for me this was the “come and see” times that I remember and cherish. This is the vertical side of the cross, the first part of the commandment to love God.
The second part is horizontal, to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s kind of like when the second boot hits the floor. Teacher, where are you staying, where can we get to know you better? Jesus says, “come and see”. As Christians, we are called to love others, to find our place in the Body of Christ, serving others in ministries of the church, teaching Sunday School, serving as ushers, singing in the choir, and even troubleshooting for others, taking care of things that others are not able to do. And then taking following our Lord into our community. Come and see! “When you meet the needs of the needy, you are spending time with Jesus”. When you reach out to care for the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the lonely, you are ministering to me. “Come and see”. You want to know God and to be known by God? “Give unto others as you would have them give unto you.
“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). (John 1:29-42)
All of us are on a journey, and on this journey, we encounter Jesus. Just as Jesus gave Peter his new name, so we are also given a new name. We are called Christians, “little christ’s” and we are called to live into that name following our mentor Jesus Christ. And, we live into that name by spending quality time with Jesus, both vertically and horizontally, the “way of the cross”
Come and See!