Come and See
Jesus turned. He saw them coming after him. He said to them, `What are you looking for?’ They said, `Teacher, where do you live?’ Jesus said, `Come and see.’ They went and saw the place where Jesus was staying… John 1:38-89a
The invitation to a closet encounter subsists for eternity.
I believe we are at a point when a strong case must be made about the subjective element of the Christian life. We must draw life in a very experiential way in our walk and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Devotions can’t just be orthodox routine. Prayers can’t be dry. Worship can’t be bland. Bible reading and studying shouldn’t only be about memory verse and knowledge. Every activity must be about time spent with God. Knowing and encountering God in a real, personable manner must not be consigned to the page-fixed narratives of the Bible. Every child of God must know, in this season, what it means to touch God in a raw and personal way. You must come and see for yourself.
While growing up, I was fascinated with atheist claims about the non-existence of God. I valorised human knowledge and consumed so many texts that point to the perceived, ridiculous claims of the Bible. I loved controversies too and gulped many secularist and conspiracy theories. I remember picking up a book, the Gnostic Gospel, off my dad’s bookshelf. It is a dangerous text. Being a teenager then, he expressed concerns about the timing. I assured him I was ready. I was perhaps shaping myself for a life of doubt. My first check? My mother!
She wasn’t versed in sound theology nor did she boast of a firm depth in hermeneutics. She didn’t have my father’s kind of library, neither did she go to the seminary like he eventually did. But she knew the Lord. She was saved. And much more, she was walking with Him. Her face lightened when she spoke about Him. Her words had fire when she prayed. When she sang, something stirred in you as though touching the core fibre of your existence. When she called you into her room and told you what the Lord has said to her about you, you were shocked at how right she always was. No, it wasn’t her mother’s instincts. It was the Father’s whispers. She saw dreams and had clear visions about issues. She triumphed in thoughts and brought clarity to raging storms. There was word of knowledge. There were notorious village people coming to confess at their failed fetishes. There was unshaken trust. There was also a swaggering confidence to her confession, “Olorun ti mo n sin ki tan mi je. He already told me.” With her, I knew there was something in there about this God. I wanted to know Him in that intimate way too.
The times have changed; the overriding cloud about what we affirmed has shifted, quite necessarily, from the power of God to the love and grace of God. But the end should be in proving God to be real in your life and experiences. Remember the early disciples, the joy they expressed, even in persecution? What battles have you fought with Him by your side personally? How has that inspired confidence for the present battles? What sure word of prophecy have you had? When last did you hear Him for yourself? What visions of the Spirit have you seen? What experience of the Spirit filling your mouth while you evangelise have you had? What resting trust in the promises of God in His word have you personalised and practised? Or are you only ticking the cyclical boxes of prayer, worship, devotion, church attendance, etc. without personal trails?
I understand there are specific encounters that alter the trajectory of one’s life. Jacob got a limping defect to remind him of his own encounter with God. It was on Damascus road that Paul’s life took a sharp, different turn. It was on the boat that Peter realised, tearfully, that he didn’t deserve the presence of the son of God. It was on the sycamore tree that Jesus looked up to Zacchaeus with a gaze of love and an invitation to redemption. It was at the University of Ibadan that I had my Damascus moment, that I was able to prove God’s specific word to me, leading me since through a journey of precepts upon precepts, layers upon layers, even unto the perfect day. But what I put to you is not an Island of Patmos moment. It is a life-long experience of supernatural fellowship. It is to see heavens always opened to you because you are now seated with God in the heavenly places. It is to groan in your closet because you wrestle not against flesh and blood. It is to carry an ambience of simplicity, rest and peace because you kiss the feet of Love in worship every morning. It is to be deafened to the awkward claims of God’s death because He is close to your heart and always speaks to you. What I put to you is the conviction of the Spirit and the restless fire shut up in your bones!
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:1-5
What have you seen?
What have you heard?
What have you handled?
What is your personal testimony of faith?
Is your joy full?
The gospel of Jesus sets you on an eternal path of supernatural fellowship.
I am still on a journey of faith. I don’t have all the answers, for God must remain God. However, it is so relaxing to rely on the arms of the Father and very humbling to admit my limitation as a man in reverence and utter trust in His love and words. It is exciting to prove Him o’er and o’er.
The Christian faith isn’t textual analysis. It is life.
If it has been long, will you join me this morning to see again?
Friend, what will be your testimony?