“Come, and you will see.”
The Gospel of John stands apart from those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are known as the “synoptic gospels” due to their similarities in arrangement and content. Their accounts are written from an objective perspective, while John’s gospel is written from a very personal and intimate perspective, almost like a memoir. He has written of things seen with his own eyes, heard with his own ears, and touched with his own hands. (1 John 1:1) But John is careful to never allow himself to be the focus; instead he continuously shines his personal spotlight away from himself and onto Jesus Christ. In fact, John never once refers to himself by name, but rather as “the other disciple” or “the disciple that Jesus loved,” etc. Naturally, John would want to include an account of the very first time that he met Jesus, which occurred shortly after Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness.
Before he met Jesus, John was actually a disciple of John the Baptist, as was Andrew. One day, the two of them happened to be with John the Baptist as Jesus passed by. The Baptist, true to his holy calling, pointed Jesus out to them, saying, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When John and Andrew heard this, they started to follow after Jesus as he walked along. Jesus turned around to see them following behind and asked them, “What do you want?” They answered, “Rabbi, we want to see where you are staying.” Jesus said, “Come, and you will see.” So they went to see where he was staying and ended up spending the rest of that day with him. (John 1:35-39)
The sparseness of John’s account of this momentous occasion sparks our imagination with unanswerable questions: Where was Jesus staying? What did it look like? What did they do? Did they eat or drink anything? What did they talk about? A modern author might tend to describe in detail every nuance of place and posture, but the writers of the gospels did not record such trivialities. Not only were they limited by the types of writing materials available at the time, they were also writing under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the seemingly trivial details that they do include are not really trivial, such as the fact that it was about four in the afternoon when they went and spent the day with him. What this really tells us is that they would have had only a couple of hours to spend visiting with Jesus that day.
“Come, and you will see.” – This is not the call to discipleship that will occur later on, but rather an invitation to acquaintanceship. A chance for these future disciples to discover a little bit about what this man, Jesus, was really like.