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Sep 25, 2022

Come & See

Passage: John 1:35-49

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Christ Connections

Category: Evangelism

Keywords: evangelism, witness, conversion, response, invitation


Jesus had multiple encounters with people in the process of drawing people to himself. This series will look at different encounters Jesus had with people, and how he engaged them, worked with them and drew them to himself...and what we can learn about how to help people we know encounter Jesus.


Come & See—John 1:35-50

Series:  Christ-Encounters

September 25, 2022


Intro series: introducing others to Jesus is not my strong suit.  I’ve struggled with it my whole life.  THE most natural and effective means, i.e. through personal relationships, is THE most difficult for me.  It’s easy for me to stand before a crowd and preach, share my testimony, give a funeral message, etc. in which I share Christ.  But it’s super challenging for me to get to know strangers, to have ongoing relationships with pre-Christian people and to turn those conversations into meaningful spiritual encounters with Christ. 

 So, I’m preaching to myself as much or more as to you through this series.  But I’m also excited about how I know God is going to use His word afresh in my life to move me from where I currently am to where God wants me to be…or what He wants me to be in the lives of others needing Him. 

Series: “Christ-Encounters”  We’ll be looking at some of the encounters people in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, had with Jesus.  How did others help people encounter Him?  How did Jesus handle those encounters?  What can we learn and benefit from in those encounters that will help us lead others to encounter the God who has utterly changed us? 

PRAY for help. 


  • 30-45 second stories of God-opportunities in conversations and encounters the past 2 weeks?
  • Praying daily for your “one”…or 3 or 5 people God has put in your life who need the Lord? [Stop and pray NOW?]
  • Story of church in CDA that has the names of people who have come to faith in Christ over the last few years written in pen on the wall of their foyer. Are we faith-filled and bold enough to do that to our walls?

John 1:35-50

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the

Lamb of God!”

One of the things we get to do as followers of Jesus is draw attention to Jesus.  If you go back a few verses (vs. 29), you’ll notice that this isn’t the first time John had pointed Jesus out to his disciples.  It is at least the second time in two days. 

APP:  Effective witnessing is repeated witnessing.  We must not forget that most people require repeated exposure to the life, person and message of the Gospel before they will respond.  Studies indicate that the average Christ-follower had to hear the Gospel 6 times before they said “yes” to Jesus.  In relationships where God gives us repeated exposure and friendship, we must not think that because we shared Christ with them once and they didn’t respond that we’re done sharing.  We must keep sharing every opportunity we get for as many times as we have.  Effective witnessing is repeated witnessing.

Back to drawing attention to Jesus.

APP:  As followers of Jesus, we get to point out Jesus in the world we live in and in the lives of believers we know.  Of course, we can’t say as John the Baptist did, “There goes Jesus, the sacrificial lamb who alone can solve your sin problem.  You better go after him!”  But we can point out the presence of Jesus in our world whenever we see Him at work.


  • Natural beauty, be it a sunset of the blazing color of fall leaves.
  • Spiritual beauty—God’s work we have seen in someone we know. You have no idea how many times I tell other people about how much I’ve seen Jesus in your lives.  The messier your story, the more I tell it (anonymously, of course) because it gives other people hope that Jesus can rescue them. 

We need to learn to talk about the works of grace God has and is doing all around us in other believers’ lives.  When we do that, we’re essentially saying to people, “Behold…look…there goes the Lamb of God… rescuing another person like you and me!” 

APP:  This is another reason why deep fellowship with others in the church is vital.  When you know the redemption stories of those you are sitting next to week after week, God is going to use His presence in their lives to point people to Jesus through you talking about them and Jesus’ redemptive power.

Something else here in this brief Christ-encounter.  This occurred after what was probably months and possibly years of John the Baptist’s relationship as a spiritual leader to these two men.  One of the two we know to be Andrew (see vs. 40).  The other may well have been the Apostle John who is writing the account.  God had already been working in both these men.  They had embraced John the Baptist’s call to repentance and baptism.  They were hanging out with him, drinking in his teaching and doing ministry with him. 

            Who are the people today who may have softer hearts of repentance?  Broken people.  People who know they’ve messed up and are sorry about it.  People laboring under a recent failure.  John knew that the people who would most likely respond to Jesus would be those who were in touch with their sinfulness. This is why sometimes the people whose lives are the messiest are the most open to Christ.

ILL:  AIDS victims in Spain were THE most responsive demographic in the nation back in the 80s and 90s when we served there.   

Let’s continue.

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

Jesus was a master of asking questions.  Asking questions, learning to ask good questions, is one of the keys to helping other people encounter Jesus.  They can be key to opening up meaningful spiritual conversations, too. 

            While Jesus’ question was fairly straightforward for the moment and got a pretty simple answer, “We want to hang out with you,” finding out what people are after in life is a great way to get into spiritual territory.  What drives them to get out of bed every day and go to work?  What are they really after with all their weekend partying or weekly hard work? 

            There are lots of ways we can find out what people are after in life and then follow up with some loving conversation. 

  • Riding a bus: where you headed today? 
  • What kind of work do you do? How did you choose that job?  What most rewarding about your job?  Most challenging?
  • Even in church: so why did you come to church today?  That’s a good question for both seekers and Christ-followers.  [APP: turn to someone near you and ask them, “So why did you come to Mosaic today?”  DO IT!]
  • Once we get to know someone for a few minutes, we can go deeper with a question like, “I’m curious, as a parent like you, what are a couple of dreams you have for your kids?” OR, “Sounds like an interesting/challenging/tough job.  Do you find it fulfilling?  In what ways?  How’s this job helping you fulfill your dreams in life?  Help you fulfill your passion in life?”

In a way, Jesus was asking Andrew and John, “What do you want from me.”  So the topic of discussion we can try to move conversations towards is what do people want from God.  What might be some questions that could move a conversation in that direction with someone?

  • If you could ask God 1 question right now, what might that be?
  • “I like to pray for people I meet. What one thing would you like God to do in your life or somebody’s life you care about? 

In vs. 39, Jesus extends an invitation to simply “come and see,” to basically ‘hang out’ with him.  Here are a couple of important truths:

  • Jesus is always calling/inviting people to himself. In fact, if he wasn’t, our efforts at helping people reconcile with God would be useless.  But because the Holy Spirit of Christ is always calling to people, our participation in that process often bears fruit.  We need to assume that Jesus has been calling to every person we will meet.  That makes our job just a matter of pointing them in the right direction.

So, the natural question arises, “Where can people encounter the presence of Christ today?”

  • Our lives, hopefully. If the Holy Spirit is in charge of us at any given day, spending time with them, if we are loving people as Jesus did, will expose them to the presence of Jesus. 
  • God’s people. Just inviting people to hang out with us when we’re hanging out with God will expose them to Jesus.  When we’re worshipping, fellowshipping around a meal, loving our neighbors through some service to them, studying the Bible… all those kinds of experiences have the potential of them catching a glimpse of Jesus if not having a full-blown encounter with Him.  EX:  Women’s retreat, ladies—inviting another woman to spend the weekend with you and your friends may be just the invitation that leads them to Jesus.  It could be the best $100 you spend this year on anything/one.
  • God’s Creation?
  • ???

Let’s look at the next Christ-encounter.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[g]).

            The past couple of weeks we’ve been encouraged to actually think of, name and start praying for the people we have in our lives who are currently outside of Christ.  This is the “FIND” part of helping people encounter Jesus.  Andrew cared enough about his brother to go looking for him.  It was a deliberate “search and rescue.”  He knew that if Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, his brother really needed to meet Him…and soon. 

            When we go searching for someone, we go out of our way.  We rearrange our schedules.  We expend energy and do what we have to in order to locate someone we love.

            We can do this with strangers at the bus plaza or on the street.  But we usually don’t go looking for people with whom we don’t have some meaningful connection, some relationship or significance.

ILL:  David during his first 2 months in Hawaii.  His Flight Company lost a Blackhawk during a night flight off the coast of Ohau.  They were all friends of his.  So he spent as many hours as possible flying search and rescue patterns looking for his friends.  That heart-wrenching experience has now shaped what he is hoping to do after his time in the Army.

APP:  Take that list…or name…that you are praying for.  Are we ready to face the reality that they are actually “lost” in their present state if they don’t encounter Jesus?  If they pass away today, we will never have the chance to be part of their ‘rescue team’…never again.  They won’t show up again in our lives.  We won’t see them again in eternity.  NOW is the only time we have to ‘find’ them and invite them to have a Christ-encounter.

ILL:  my failure with Angela A. as a high school kid.   

ILL:  Video last week of atheist entertainer Penn Jellett—“If you really believe there is a heaven and hell, how much do you have to hate someone not to share that truth with them?” 

APP:  If we knew for certain this was our last week of life and we would never have another opportunity to “find” someone we care about, WHO would we want to talk with…and WHAT would we do today or tomorrow to “find” them? 

Let’s find the people God is putting in our life…and TELL them about Jesus.

Andrew just told his brother what he believed: “This guy Jesus is what I’ve been searching for my whole life.  He’s the key to connecting with God.” 

APP:  Sometimes we just need to tell people what we’ve found in Jesus Christ.  If you were asked today by someone in your family who isn’t a believer yet, “So why are you so convinced that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world?”, what would you say?  (Popcorn answers.)

Let’s keep going.

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee.

Remember, according to 1:28, Jesus is in Bethany down by Jerusalem.  This was the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus who we will see later in John.  Jesus is preparing to head north to the region of the Sea of Galilee.  But before he does, Jesus goes looking…finding…someone he apparently already knew.

Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. [northern coast of the Sea of Galilee] 

I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t lay out the whole Gospel plan for any of these people he invited to “follow” him.  He knew that salvation is a process that often takes multiple ‘point-in-time’ decisions to move a person to eventually surrender to Jesus.  In this case, he knew he was headed back to Philip’s home town area.  So Jesus simply invited Philip to tag along, hang out with him and some other seekers and possibly become a follower, a student, of Jesus. 

APP:  Sometimes I think we just need to invite people to take a journey with us.  That may be as simple as inviting them to the house for a BBQ…or to church for a group like GriefShare or 12 Steps…or a building Bible study for dinner…or another coffee just to listen.  Jesus knew that most people don’t make the most important decision of their life in a moment.  It’s often a process. 

Are we willing to engage in a process with people?  Who on your heart will probably respond better to a process than a Gospel pitch?  What might that process look like in your life?  And what will it cost you? 

            For Jesus it probably cost him some quiet miles on the road.  It may have cost him some money or food.  Let’s remember that loving lost people is a PROCESS.

On we go.

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

Here again we see someone, Philip in this case, just telling someone what he believes about Jesus.  Philip, by the way, is seen in the Gospels and Acts as a man constantly saddling up to people and pointing them to Jesus. He’s one of the first Apostles to go back to Samaria when the church is scattered through Saul’s persecution in Acts 8.  Later in that chapter, God uses him to reach across an even further cultural barrier to the Ethiopian eunuch.  Philip was a guy who wouldn’t let the prejudices of other people limit his witness. 

APP:  which makes me wonder, who in my life is different culturally or racially and needs to hear about Jesus?  Spokane is a pretty racially homogenous place. But we all probably know people different from us racially.  We all definitely know people different from us socioeconomically, educationally, generationally and culturally.  Philip reminds us that those folks matter to God too.

            In fact, when Philip finds Nathanael (also later known as Bartholomew in most of the other Gospels), he runs headlong into a little cultural prejudice with his introduction of Jesus.  Nathanael comes from the same region of Israel as Nazareth so it’s culturally pretty similar.  But he was from Cana of Galilee.  Perhaps there was a little cross-county rivalry.  Or maybe he was thinking biblically and prophetically knowing that nothing was said in the O.T. scriptures about the Messiah coming from Nazareth (Bethlehem, yes, but not Nazareth). 

            Little side point here.  Philip’s invitation, while true, somehow elicited a little reaction from Nathanael. He hit some nerve of prejudice in Nathanael he hadn’t counted on.  This is going to happen when we talk with people about Jesus.  They may bristle or react to the very mention of his name because of some issue in their own soul.  Rather than take offense or argue with them or try to address their prejudice, we need to follow Philip’s example and just keep the focus on Jesus. 

  • People may hate the church. Just keep Jesus central.
  • People may have had bad experiences with self-declared Christians. Just keep Jesus central.

We must have enough confidence in the work Jesus can do with them to believe that if they can just encounter Him, God will take it from there.  Which is just what Jesus did!

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

Nothing like an undeserved but sincere complement to disarm someone’s prejudice!  Jesus knew what Nathanael had said about him.  He knew his prejudice and bigotry.  So he purposefully chose to treat him in a way he didn’t deserve.  Doing that towards people who don’t deserve it will often open a way for people to really see Jesus as he is.  Seeing insults as entrees for Christ has the potential to prepare even the most arrogant heart for Jesus.

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Don’t you wonder what Nathanael was thinking about under that fig tree?  The fact that Jesus had knowledge of a.) where Nathanael was previously, and b.) whatever he was doing or thinking in that moment was apparently enough to rock Nathanael’s world and jolt him into believing that this man he had never met and against whom he harbored a bit of prejudice was “the Son of God” and “the king of Israel.” 

            God knows things about the people he puts around us that we could never know.  And he knows when to put us in their path so that our encounter with them will correspond perfectly with what God is doing in their lives at the present.

ILL:  Waitress at Molly’s I asked one morning after breakfast, “You’ve served us so well today.  I’d like to serve you by praying for you.  What would you like to see God do in your life.”  She puddled up and stammered, “Pray that I will do what I already know God wants me to do.”  God had already been speaking to her.  He was just wanted to reinforce His message with my little prayer.   

            When we witness of Jesus in any way to someone—whether by just praying for them or talking about what Jesus is doing in our lives or sharing something we know about Jesus—it will combine with what God is already doing in their lives…and sometimes be the very thing God uses to draw them to himself. 

One last short verse where we also see someone simply issuing the invitation, “Come and see.”  It’s a most unlikely ‘witness’ to Jesus.  It’s not even someone who is totally convinced Jesus is her Messiah.  But it is someone who had already experience the healing power of Christ in her life in a very unexpected way. 

            Perhaps on another Sunday in this series we’ll spend more time with her and Jesus in John 4.  I’m referring to the woman at the well in Samaria.  Suffice it to say that she is pretty much a social pariah—an outcast in her own very provincial little town of Sychar.  She’s probably a home-wrecker.  By the time she gets to meeting Jesus, she’s had 5 different husbands and the man she’s living with currently she isn’t married to.  Her life is a mess. 

            What kind of witness can this woman possibly have that would draw people to Jesus?  Very simply, an honest one!  After this short but life-altering encounter with Jesus at the well outside of town, in the heat of the day, this woman simply returns to the very people who either loved her the wrong way or hated her and said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (Jn. 4:29). 

            Of course, 5 different marriages was probably not “everything” this woman had ever done in that town.  I’m guessing she’d been sexually abused as a girl or young woman.  She’d learned how to turn her sexuality into a survival mechanism.  And there may well have been a few more men in that town than just her 5 husbands who would pay her to keep their little secret quiet.  And here she is, telling everyone about a stranger she just met who knows everything about her past…including them! 

            One of the most powerful witnesses to Jesus is the person who isn’t ashamed to talk about their past that Jesus rescued them from.  When we are honest and humble enough to share with people the shame-based things that Jesus has rescued us from, they will sit up and listen.  People aren’t used to knowing someone whose past would normally burry them in shame, free enough, healed enough and humble enough to tell others how Jesus rescued them from that.  Whether it’s a past in prison, or on drugs, or into porn, or ravaged by anger or sexual failure or alcohol or abusive behavior or hatred or despair…you name it, when people see someone rescued by Jesus from what is ravaging them, they will sit up, take notice and often “come and see” the very Jesus that rescued us. 

APP:  We’ve all got shame issues in our past if not in our present too.  Jesus wants to encounter us in them.  He wants us to know that He knows all about it…and is the only Messiah who can save us from it.  He’s not there to shame us about it like most people are.  He’s longing to liberate us through His forgiveness and new life.  And then He wants us to tell others all about it as we invite them to “come and see” this Jesus that has set us free. 

            That’s why I feel so blessed to be a part of a church like this—people who, like the Mosaic image that is our trademark, know they are broken, aren’t ashamed to admit it and to tell others how Jesus is making something beautiful out of their brokenness. 

APP:  We must let our past failures be part of our present witness.  People will identify far more with our brokenness than our successes.   And they will see Jesus more clearly through the lens of humility than they ever will through the fog of our pride. 


  • Have you ever been asked to “come to Jesus”…and have you? If not, let me extend that invitation today.
  • Let’s ask God to help us extend that simple invitation to “come and see” Jesus this week to at least one person.