Sunday, April 8, 2012

Come and See


Firsts in the Bible have always intrigued me. Like the first message of the Bible, the first words God spoke to Adam and Eve, the first sermon Jesus preached or the first instructions given after the resurrection. I believe that things which are first are worth special attention. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all record two defining points of that first resurrection Sunday morning message. Point number one:

1. Come and see

Since that day there has been A Continual Open Invitation to come and see. It began with those that Sunday morning who went and saw the empty tomb. Mary saw Jesus and immediately she ran to tell others to come and see for themselves. Mary did much like that woman at the well in Samaria. She wanted everyone to see what she saw …

John 4:29 "Come and see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

The Gospel is a continual open invitation to:

· Whosoever will …

· He who hath an ear …

· Lest at any time …

(I remember witnessing to a truck driver who made a delivery to our apartment in Germany … He had an ear – I just had to unstop it!)

There is a Continual Open Invitation but there is also that Urgent Personal Invitation from others. Such was the case when Philip saw Jesus for himself … he immediately thought about his friend Nathanael who was skeptical but truly searching for answers:

John 1

45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

Then there is also that Invitation which can only come from the Master:

John 1:39 Jesus said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day …

As I said earlier, there are two essential elements of that first resurrection message – the first was an invitation to come and see -

“Come and see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples” (Matthew 28)

The second element of the message that first resurrection Sunday morning defines our mission – in fact, it’s the “Great Commission”.

2. Go and tell

a. An Urgent Mission

b. Invite others to “come and see”

c. The mission is abounds with

i. Fear

ii. Joy

iii. Encouragement

iv. Confirmation

When I think of the urgent call to go and tell: (I recall one night, it was September 30th, I believe it was 1982. I remember the date because the next day, October 1st, was the opening day of squirrel season and me and a group of men from our Church had a tradition of going to squirrel camp each year. It was about 11:30 at night and I was already snuggled into my sleeping bag in my tent on the bank of a River in Northeast Texas. {A man from my church named Bruce Aaron} --- I felt an urgency … She prayed to receive Christ … Her urgent invitation came at a critical moment in life.)

Let’s read the account from the Gospel of Matthew keeping in mind that we too have received both a Personal Invitation and a Great Commission.

Matthew 28

1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay.

7 "And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

As for me – I came and saw for myself – now – I’m going to tell everyone:

Jesus, Messiah of the Jews, Savior of the world, was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, lived a sinless life, offered Himself as the Passover Lamb and was sacrificed for your sins on the Cross of Calvary, He died and was buried, He was raised to life again on the third day by the power of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God, Jesus was seen of many witnesses whose testimonies we still have today, this same Jesus ascended in the clouds to heaven where He sits in glory at the right hand of the Father making intercession for all mankind and awaiting the day when all things have been made ready so that He may return to earth and claim His rightful place as King for all eternity. This same Jesus is both Son of God and Son of Man, He is merciful, forgiving, kind and true … and this same Jesus wants to be your Savior, your Lord, and your Friend … “Come and see!”

If you have already seen … “Go and tell!”