“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’” (John 1:45-50) The first chapter of John’s Gospel is quite remarkable. Beginning in eternity, it establishes our Lord as the very Light itself, coming into the world and not being overcome by our darkness. But the narrative doesn’t stay in the heavenly places, it moves rapidly to earth culminating in rural Galilee. There are two points in particular that bear emphasis. First, Philip does not attempt to argue or reason with Nathanael when he offers his objection to meeting Jesus. He simply invites him to “come and see.” The best witness is always the simple invitation to meet Jesus. The Light has the power to illumine himself. Second, Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him long before he saw Jesus. That is of course always the case. The Lord sees us coming. He sees us coming with our ignorance and our bigotry. He sees us coming with our greed and our failure to love. And most marvelous of all, he doesn’t run from folks like Nathanael (or you and me). Instead, he speaks the truth of our lives. He tells us that we are more than we think. He reveals to us that we have a value that seems too good to be true. And then (and perhaps only then) we recognize Jesus and we know that we can never do anything else than follow him, inviting others to “come and see.” In 2018, my hope for us is that we will see Jesus in a new way and will encourage others by word and deed to meet him too.