Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 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.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”I love this story because it is a story of what happens to every person who finds Jesus. They tell somebody else about Jesus, and their excitement is often so contagious, the other person is inspired to discover what the fuss is all about. And in the process, they find Jesus too.
This is Evangelism 101. It’s very simple. Step 1: Start talking to the person. Step 2: Around the person’s curiosity. Step 3: Invite the person to come and see for themselves. Step 4: Leave the rest to God; your job is done. In today’s passage we find Philip following this method. He starts talking to his friend Nathaniel. Nathaniel is curious. He asks, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip says, “Come and see.” Nathaniel finds Jesus. And Jesus does the rest.
The New Testament is filled with similar stories. A notable one is that of the Samaritan woman (see John 4). She found Jesus. She immediately went to the townspeople, even though she was not very popular with them, and started talking to them. She then aroused their curiosity. “I have met a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” She invited them to “come and see.” They made their way to him way to him. And when they met him, Jesus did the rest.
We have opportunities to talk about Jesus to somebody every day. There are so many people we meet. We don’t need grand tales to tell; just simple stories about how we met Jesus and how he impacted our life. People need God, even if they don’t realize it. As Augustine declared in one of the most profound statements ever made: "Because God has made us for himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in him." They just need somebody to point them towards Jesus.
How do we do this today? Here’s an easy way. Is there a retreat taking place in your parish or one nearby? Invite the person to the retreat. Just say: Come and see. It doesn’t matter who might be conducting the retreat. God just needs the opportunity to talk to the person and retreats allow him to do that for a few hours through whoever might be leading it. And you might find yourself surprised by the outcome. And then you will discover hundreds of others ways you can introduce people to Jesus.
So talk to somebody about Jesus today.