Getting started can be difficult. Whether it's finding a new job, launching a diet, re-modeling your kitchen, or enrolling in a class -- it usually takes some extra effort to begin. You don't want to over-commit, you don't want to fail, and sometimes you're just not sure what steps to take first.
So when it comes to following Jesus, it's understandable that some of us hesitate. What is this going to cost me? Am I good enough to be His disciple? What if I fail? And how do I handle my doubts? Does it have to be all or nothing? Are there some preliminary steps I can take?
We find encouragement to begin the journey as we read the first chapter of John's Gospel. When two prospective disciples showed some interest in Jesus, He asked them, "What are you seeking?" It's always good to examine our motivations when we take our first steps toward Christ. What do you really want in life?
Andrew and John were too timid to answer the question directly. "Rabbi, where are you staying?" they replied, hoping to be granted the privilege of an extended, private interview. In their own awkward way, they were saying, "Jesus, can we just tag along with You for awhile?"
The response was exactly what these enthusiastic seekers were hoping to hear. Jesus said to them, "Come and see." Imagine their excitement as they spent the evening getting to know the Savior on a personal basis. Jesus' cordial invitation demonstrated that He had nothing to hide, nor would He force them to make a quick decision before gathering the facts and seeing for themselves what He was all about.
There's no pressure here, no sales pitch, no fine print. Jesus simply makes Himself available to answer their questions and further explain His identity and mission. We're not told exactly what they discussed on that memorable evening together, but whatever it was, the two men came away convinced about Jesus, and their excitement was contagious.
Andrew hurried to tell his brother Simon Peter; and in their hometown, Jesus finds Philip and calls him to follow. Philip approaches his friend Nathanael, and now there are five who have received the invitation. However, unlike the first four, Nathanael expresses skepticism about Jesus of Nazareth.
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" he asks, displaying no small amount of prejudice. Yet when Philip echoes Jesus' own response, "Come and see," Nathanael agrees to conduct his own investigation. Anyone who has ever felt skeptical about whether Jesus is truly the Son of God may feel encouraged by the conversation that took place next.
Jesus does not condemn Nathanael or put him down in any way. Rather, He greets him warmly, complimenting Nathanael's open and honest nature. Jesus was glad that the skeptic was honest about his doubts and willing to examine matters for himself. Then, revealing a supernatural knowledge of Nathanael's personal experiences that day, Jesus captivates another with His power and grace.
What are you seeking? Are you ready to take your first steps toward the Shepherd of your soul? "The Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you" (1 Chronicles 28:9). Read the first chapter of John's Gospel and personally consider the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive His gracious invitation, for you too are most welcome to "come and see."