A Firsthand Faith

How many times have you heard a child say, “Come and see?”

“Come and see my drawing!”

“Come and see this bug!”

And maybe the most scary… “Come and see what I made in the kitchen…”

There is excitement and joy in their voice, maybe even a sense of urgency.

Their words are an invitation to share in their discovery, to experience their world, and to participate in their life.

It is the invitation to let your life and theirs come together as one.

That’s why you can’t just sit back and say, “No, just tell me about it.” That’s not an acceptable answer.

Information and relationship aren’t interchangeable.

In those moments there is only one thing to do: get up and go look.

It’s not just kids. We do it, too.

We invite our partners, our friends, our colleagues to come and see our work and accomplishments, to come and see our pain and struggles, to come and see our life.

That’s why Jesus doesn’t answer the disciples’ question today when they ask, “Where are you staying?”

He doesn’t offer information, he invites relationship.

He says, “Come and see.”

That invitation is the antidote to the ways in which we often live secondhand lives.

Think about it for just a minute.


Would you rather be told how pretty the sunset was or be drenched in the pinks, oranges, and purples of the evening sky?

Would you rather hear a love story or fall in love and live a love story?

Would you rather read a travel brochure or travel to a new land?

Would you rather know about Christ or know him?

So we must choose whether we will be spectators or participants in this life.

That was the choice John the Baptist set before his disciples.

John “was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’”

It was their moment of decision.

Would they stay or would they go?

Would they settle for a secondhand faith, information and facts about Jesus?

Or would they choose a firsthand faith?

If they choose a firsthand faith they will have to leave John behind.

They will have to let go of that which is familiar, comfortable, and known.

They will have to open themselves to something new and different.

You can probably remember times like that. It can be difficult to let go of a secondhand faith and life. It usually means there will be more questions than answers.

Think how different today’s gospel would be if Jesus had just answered their question.

“Where are you staying?” “Oh, it’s just a couple miles down this road. Second house on the left.”

What do we do with that?

How does that change anything?

What difference does it make if we know Jesus’ address but we are not invited in. We might as well stay where we are.

But that’s not how Jesus responds.

Jesus offers more than his address. He offers an invitation.

“Come and see,” he says.

There is reassurance and promise in his words.

That means he has something for us. It means he is opening himself to us and inviting us in.

He has gone ahead of us and has prepared a place for us.

Regardless of what’s going on in our life he makes it safe to move forward and take the next step in confidence that his life and presence await us.

“Come and see” is his invitation to find ourselves and discover our life in his.

And his life in us.

I wonder what Jesus wants to show you? In what ways does he want to share his life with you? How might he be offering himself to you, asking you to participate in his life?

Look at your life.

What do you see?

What is it like?

Is it full and abundant? “Come and see.”

Empty and desolate? “Come and see.”

Filled with change, chaos, or the unknown? “Come and see.”

Is it one of joy and celebration? “Come and see.”

One of loss and sorrow? “Come and see.”

Is it smooth sailing? “Come and see.”

Is it weighed down by guilt, shame, despair? “Come and see.”

However you might describe your life Jesus’ response is always the same.

Every life and every situation echoes with Christ’s invitation, “Come and see.”

He is there offering himself.

Don’t just take my word for it. Don’t just believe it because I said it. Get up and go look for yourself. Amen