Explore the Bible Study: Come and See

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“It’s amazing. 

We’re taking guests to see something that hasn’t happened for 40 years and who knows if it will ever happen again in our lifetime. . . To have people from all around the world come to see history in the making is truly a chance of a lifetime.”

This is how Quentin Koch, CEO and President of Blue Hawaiian, described the recent Mauna Loa volcano eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii in a recent Big Island Now blog post. Imagine this same enthusiasm being shared by the earliest followers of Jesus after their first encounter with Him. The Explore the Bible Study: Come and See will focus on how they responded as we continue to examine John 1.

These early disciples were so amazed when they encountered Christ that they invited others to “come and see history in the making because it was the chance of a lifetime.” John 1:35-39 helps us understand why these men were so motivated to tells others to “come and see.” It begins with John the Baptist pointing out who they needed to see and why:

The next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and noticed them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come and you’ll see,” he replied. So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. 

Notice Jesus’ question in verse 38: “What are you looking for?” People today are looking for anything or anyone who can help them make sense of this life.  The first two disciples we will examine in this passage, Andrew, and Peter, accepted Jesus’ invitation to “come and see,” and it changed their lives forever. Let’s begin by examining how God spoke to them and how the relationship they encountered with Christ motivated them to invite others to “come and see.” 

Seeing Jesus gives you a new purpose – John 1:40-42

Previously, Andrew had heard and observed John the Baptist pointing out that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36). This immediately prompted Andrew to follow Jesus. Something to note is that, even though Andrew was the first disciple to follow Jesus, he is never mentioned first in any list of the disciples in the New Testament.  But Andrew’s life-changing encounter with Christ set in motion a chain of events that would change the world. Andrew’s life was changed so much by his encounter with Christ that he went to tell his brother Simon Peter. Notice what happened next in verses 41-42.

Andrew simply invited Simon to “come and see” who he had found. He had found the Messiah, the Christ. Next, he didn’t just tell Simon who he had found, but he brought Simon to Jesus. After bringing him to Jesus, Andrew stepped back and let Christ work to change Simon’s life and Jesus did exactly that. The change is evidenced in the name Jesus gave Simon – “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas (which is translated “Peter”).”

Do our invitations to “come and see” focus more on our church, the preacher, the music, the group we are in, experiences we have had, or do we tell them that we have found Christ? 

How would you explain to someone today that you have found Christ the Messiah?

How difficult would it be for you to go to family members and talk with them about your relationship with Christ?

This was a significant name change. It communicated the character change Jesus was going to bring about in Simon’s life over time. Simon’s original name suggested the capricious character of a dove, flighty and unpredictable. This dove would now become a “rock” – Cephas. While Jesus proclaimed this on the day of Simon’s first encounter, the change would be a long and, at times, painful process for Simon. 

Consider you own life. If you have personal relationship with Christ, you are a new person with a new purpose and life. While the relationship is immediate, the change is still taking place. In what ways can you see God working to transform you into His likeness? 

Andrew’s life was changed, and he brought his brother, Simon to Jesus. Through Jesus’ interactions with Simon Peter, we see how Christ transforms the lives of those who follow Him. Peter was once described in this way, 

“He [Peter] was hardly a rock when Jesus called him, but he became that after Pentecost.” (source: unknown)

But he and Andrew were not the only ones whose lives were changed by the invitation to “come and see.” Philip was another individual who “came and saw,” and the result was a life so passionate about Christ he invited Nathaniel to “come and see.”

Seeing Jesus should prompt us to invite others to come and see – John 1:43-46

This encounter is taking place the third day after John the Baptist pointed Andrew to Jesus. Notice the difference in this situation. Andrew sought Jesus and he brought Simon to Jesus. In this instance, Jesus Himself stayed behind to find Philip. He took the initiative to reach out to Philip.

Philip’s life changing encounter prompted him to seek out Nathanael. There is not much known about Nathanael beyond this one incident. What we do see in this incident is how people respond when we invite them to “come and see” Jesus.

Nathanael didn’t respond with any amount of enthusiasm to Philip’s invitation to meet the Messiah. He was more skeptical and somewhat prejudice because of Jesus’ hometown being Nazareth. When Nathanael asked if anything good could come out of Nazareth, he was referring to moral character.

Notice that Philip intentionally searched and found Nathanael. Apparently, they had a close friendship. Philip tells him about Jesus. When Nathanael presented his bias and doubts, Philip didn’t argue with him. He simply said, “Come and see.”

We can learn from Philip’s response. He shared what he discovered in Christ, but he didn’t argue or try to engage in theological debates with Nathanael. He simply and gently invited his friend to “come and see” for himself.

This leads us to Nathanael’s response. He did come and he did see for himself, and his life was forever changed.

Seeing Jesus will change your life forever! – John 1:47-51

Notice Jesus’ response to Nathanael. He knew that Nathanael had doubted and disparaged, Him but Jesus didn’t defend Himself. Instead, He revealed to Nathanael that He knew what was in his heart and character. He was “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

This encounter with Christ who knew him before Nathanael had even sought Him out was enough to convict and convince Nathanael that Jesus was the Messiah. This prompted a three part confession by Nathanael:

  1. Rabbi – Nathanael placed himself completely under Jesus’ authority as a master teacher.
  2. Son of God – Nathanael declared Jesus to be the “Son of God.” Philip had described Jesus as the son of Joseph, but Nathanael came to understand something more about Jesus. Being the Son of God meant Jesus was equal with God. This confession would have been considered blasphemy, yet Nathanael boldly confessed his belief.
  3. King of Israel – This declaration by Nathanael could have been considered treasonous, yet he declared it boldly with conviction.

Notice how Jesus responded to Nathanael’s confession. What does this communicate to you about Nathanael’s relationship with Christ? What does this communicate about God’s plans for those who confess Him before men?

Think about all the things Nathanael saw and experienced as he walked with Christ. He was most likely an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, crucifixion, death, resurrection, and His ascension. He most likely witnessed the great acts of God during and after Pentecost and as the young church grew. He truly did see great things!

As a follower of Christ, what are some of the great things you have witnessed God doing in your life, others’ lives, and the life of the church?

Invitation to Come and See

The invitation to “come and see” is not an invitation to come and see a church, hear a pastor, experience a worship service, or to be in community with others, or to embrace a specific philosophy of life. While these are important, this invitation is the most important one of all. It’s an invitation to a relationship. A relationship with Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus invites everyone to “come and see.” If we respond and we experience a new relationship with Christ, the Son of the Living God, then we will walk away forever changed and will desire to invite others to “come and see.”

With which of these disciples can you identify the most? What can you learn from that individual’s response to Christ? 

Which of these disciples do you desire to be like as you live for Christ? 

Is your professed relationship with Christ demonstrated in your passion to invite others to “come and see” Christ?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

Download PDF Version               Download Word Version

LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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