WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2021
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is John 1:43-46, where the Bible says,
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 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.
COME AND SEE!
Someone once remarked that the medicine of modern life is experiencing the joy of not knowing where you’re going and the confidence of not knowing how to get there so that you can have the peace of not worrying about when you’ll arrive! Well, the God who became man in the Babe who was laid in a manger seeks to shake us from such doldrums in order to give us the gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation on His terms alone.
That’s why the call to “come and see” in our text today is so powerful. To put one’s faith in Jesus is to believe in what He tells you, to go where He says to go, and to trust that where He takes you is where you need to be. That’s why Jesus is not merely a prophet. He’s not merely a teacher. He’s the world’s Savior. And it’s Him or no one else. He’s the antidote for ancient man and modern man. He’s all that and more. So, come and see for yourself!
That’s the message that Philip gave to his friend Nathaniel in our text for today. Philip’s invitation to Nathaniel, and Nathaniel’s encounter with Jesus would change his life forever. That’s the way it works when you meet the Savior of the world. When you meet Jesus on His terms, even your false, preconceived notions can’t get in the way. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”….“Come and see” (verse 46). Seeing the Christ of Scripture involves an encounter that moves us from modern banality and post-modern skepticism to being “surprised by joy.”
Surprised by Joy is the title of a book written by one of the most reluctant converts to Christianity in modern times. His name was C. S. Lewis. Yes, he’s the author of the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, just to name a few of his other works. But this eventual defender of the Christian faith to those with a “modern mind” was at first a reluctant convert. His friends kept challenging him to “come and see,” to read and get to know the Jesus of the Bible. That finally made the difference in his life. In his engagement with the Christ of Scripture, Lewis saw a Savior that didn’t wait for us, but, instead, came to us. He saw a Savior who came to people like Philip. Then, through Philip’s invitation, He came to people like Nathaniel too. On Christmas day, we all heard the message that Jesus came for us all. Lewis says this of his conversion to faith:
You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.
I pray today that you have, through the words of the Bible, what Nathaniel received that day from Philip, an invitation to encounter Jesus. C. S. Lewis called such events "dangerous encounters.” He writes in Surprised by Joy,
A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — “Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,” as Herbert says, “fine nets and stratagems.” God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
The “unscrupulous” God of the heavens seeks you out today too. He comes to us through the words of the Bible. He comes to us through the witness of our Christian friends. He comes seeking to surprise us with His joy, to overwhelm us with His salvation, and to grant us His forgiveness, as well as a peace that passes all understanding. Yes, the Bible’s witness blows our minds concerning how gracious God is. So follow along with us these next few weeks as we see this Jesus even more clearly. Come and see for yourself, and believe in Him.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we are a reluctant people today. We sit in judgment daily about how things should be on our terms. Bring us to repentance and give us a “come and see” attitude that only an encounter with You through Your word can satisfy. AMEN.
 C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, chapter XIV; https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/lewiscs-surprisedbyjoy/lewiscs-surprisedbyjoy-01-h.html