John 1 - An Invitation
This week, I am writing from a kid’s camp in East Texas where approximately 100 kids have come to have a week of fun, excitement, safety, a sense of family, and, whether they know it or not, to be shown the love of God. At camp, we certainly have as many fun activities and memory making experiences as we can, but we also have a spiritual focus. We sing praise songs in chapel, have Bible stories, dramas that share about how to live as a faithful follower of God, and more. And yesterday, as we welcomed these kids to camp, we spent some time in the Gospel of John during our chapel time.
And that’s when I was reminded of something that is always encouraging, uplifting, and deeply meaningful. We have invited these kids to camp–we have done all that we can to prepare and set up in advance so that they can have a fun and safe week. But the truth is, even though we have “set the table,” so to speak, we are ultimately not the ones who have sent out this invitation. In the Synoptic Gospels, we read parables of Jesus where invitations are sent out to various guests to join for a celebration. In all of the Gospels, we hear stories of how someone who usually wouldn’t be considered the “right” person to talk to ends up being the one to carry the story of Jesus forward–all because Jesus simply invited them to a conversation or to express what they wanted Jesus to do for them. And, of course, we also read of the invitation to come and follow Jesus.
In the opening chapter of the Gospel of John, one phrase in particular seems to stand out. Jesus says it over and over again.
“Come and see.”
Or perhaps, “Come follow me.”
The invitation is there–it is constantly on Jesus’ lips. Come and see what God is doing. Come follow me. It isn’t a very hard lesson to learn, but it takes a lifetime to truly live it out. Even then, we rely on God’s grace to get us through the moments where we struggle or rebel. God’s invitation is always ready and waiting for you. Will you accept? Will you commit to being a follower of Jesus?
And if you do, will you also share the invitation as well?
Jesus was a master at this. Everywhere he went he spoke of God’s kingdom coming. He wanted people to know so that they could join in with the movement of God in the world for the sake of the world. He invited people along. “Come and see,” he said. “Come follow me.”
This week, Jesus offers a standing invitation to you. It is always there for you. Come and see what following Jesus is all about. I hope you will answer his summons. I hope too that you will offer it to someone as well.
Let’s see God’s kingdom this week.