Contained within the final 12 verses of John 1 we have the conversion of 5 different individuals, each in amazingly different ways. Andrew and the un-named disciple are converted under John's preaching. Peter comes to Christ through his brother's testimony. Philip was looked square in the eyes by Christ and told to "Follow Me!" And then there is Nathanael (whom I intend to look at in more detail tomorrow). Nathanael is found by Philip and Philip proclaims to him that this Jesus of Nazareth is the One whom all the Old Testament prophets have spoken of.
The Old Testament is the story of Christ. He is found in every sacrifice, typified in every priest, portrayed in every king, exemplified in every judge, and is the sum total of the whole revelation from Genesis to Malachi. Philip realized these things almost immediately and was ready to proclaim this truth to Nathanael.
Nathanael was not quite so quick to buy it all. As a matter of fact, being rather learned in the Old Testament, he goes so far as to challenge Philip. "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Is not the Messiah to come from Bethlehem? What are you talking about Philip?"
Philip responds in a way that we could all learn a lot from. He doesn't chide nor does he reprove Nathanael for his doubt. He doesn't set out to reason him into the kingdom of Christ. He simply bids him "Come and see!"
We would do well to follow his example. We need to have confidence in the power of the gospel, in the person of Christ, and in the persuasiveness of the Holy Spirit. Let us bring people to Christ - the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world - and let us trust them to His care.
True, there are times when a reproof and a reasoned response are quite necessary. But I fear that far too often we begin our gospel encounters thinking that our own power of persuasion will draw men and women into the kingdom. I know I have been guilty far too many times.
We need to learn from Philip. I know that I can honestly testify that I "have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." I suppose I can more accurately testify that He has found me. In light of that fact may I be much more quick to look to those who challenge, laugh, and even scorn my Savior and invite them to "Come and see!" Trusting all the while that the same Sovereign God who opened my eyes might be pleased to open theirs as well!