21 September 2017
Last Sunday evening Dave was exploring the story of Philip and Nathanael meeting Jesus recorded in John 1:43-51. As he spoke, the words of Philip in verse 46 really stood out to me, “Come and see.”
Come and see. In other words, don’t just take my word for it, come and meet the man I am talking about. Nathanael was being invited into a bigger story, a story including a Saviour who is big enough to see every detail of our lives (v48). Nathanael consequentially chose to place his trust in Jesus, recognising his Lordship and Majesty (v49).
If we are Christians it means there was a point when we also chose to place our trust in Jesus. Whether we were old or young, used flowery theological language or the language of asking Jesus to be our best friend, fully understood doctrine or were just muddling through, there was some acceptance of Jesus.
However, as time passes, it is easy to lose the wonder. It is easy to stop seeing Jesus as our marvellous Saviour, making him another household commodity, and placing him on the shelf with the other fads of our life. It’s easy to get so busy that we forget about our initial joy of salvation.
Why do we do this? What makes us stop seeing Jesus the way he should be seen?
In large part it is probably due to the context of the culture we find ourselves in. We are bombarded with images, adverts, sales pitches… we are sold what the ‘perfect life’ looks like. And it isn’t Christianity. It is a good marriage with an attractive partner. It is perfect children who never scream or misbehave. It is having money. A large social group. Having the latest iPhone. It is being the boss. It is sex. It is having that perfect beach body.
And we’re listening.
The Bible often talks about “idols” – false gods – and their uselessness. Jeremiah 10:3-5 has this to say:
For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
It can be easy to read this and feel smug, marvelling at people who put their trust in an inanimate object made of wood. However, idols are no longer just carved objects. Tim Keller lays out some helpful guidelines for identifying idols in our lives in the introduction to his book ‘Counterfeit Gods’. People love, trust and obey idols.
Do we love some of the things listed above? Do we trust them? Do we obey them?
Are we looking to them for our fulfilment? If yes, then without realising it, we’ve probably taken our eyes off Jesus at some point.
But, the invitation is still the same. It is “Come and see.” Come and meet Jesus again. We are continually invited into this incredible story, made up of real, messy people like you and me. Jesus sees us. He loves us. What is our response going to be?