“Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).” John 1:38–39
The apostle John writes that on that day after Jesus was baptized he returned to where John the Baptist was. When John the Baptist saw him he said to the two disciples that were with him, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
These two disciples then followed Jesus, who seeing them following him asked, “What do you seek?”
To which they replied, “Where are you staying?”
And Jesus’ answer to them was, “Come and see.”
In today’s world the disciples’ question to Jesus might seem strange but it wasn’t strange within their cultural context. You see at that time there weren’t any schools of higher learning that a student could enroll in. If a person wanted learning they had to find a teacher and ask him to instruct them and if he agreed they would follow him for a time. So when the disciples asked Jesus where he was staying they were telling him that they wanted to follow him so that he could be their teacher and when he answered with the invitation, “Come and see.” He was telling them that he was willing to be their teacher and that they were welcome to follow him and learn from him.
For those wanting to know more about Jesus today, his answer is still the same, “Come and see. I will be your teacher. You’re welcome to follow me.”
It used to be that in Europe and North America most people, whether they wanted to know Jesus or not, believed that God was real and that Jesus was his Son and our Savior. But today things are different. People are far more prone to doubt what they don’t understand and question just about everything else. The result of this is that there are today a large number of agnostics or professed atheists in the western world.
To the agnostics questions and the atheists objections Jesus invitation is the same as it was to the disciples, “Come and see.” “Words and explanations might not clear up your misunderstandings and questions but I’m inviting you to come and spend time with me, to see what I do and to hear everything I say. Come have a relationship with me and learn of me.”
Jesus doesn’t offer things as proof of who he is; he offers himself. I believe that still today the best invitation we can give to the inquirer or the skeptic is, “Come and see.”