Formations 06.07.2020: Come and See!

John 1:29-39

Who are your favorite celebrities? What draws you to them? How do you think you would react if you got to meet them in person?

One of my favorite celebrities is Scotland native David Tennant. I’ve enjoyed a wide range of his work, from Shakespeare plays to the murder mystery Broadchurch to the more recent apocalyptic series Good Omens. But his work in Doctor Who tops my list. As the title character, “The Doctor,” he is funny, engaging, passionate, and poignant. Even better, while I don’t know David personally, I’ve found him to be earnest and genuine in real life—during interviews, on podcasts, and at fan conferences. If I had the opportunity to meet him, I’m sure I’d be nervous, attentive, and awestruck.

I like to imagine what it meant to John the Baptist to finally meet Jesus in person. The Bible doesn’t tell us whether they knew each other as boys—though John seemed to recognize the presence of Jesus when the two were still in their mothers’ wombs (see Luke 1:39-44)! What we do know is that John fulfilled his prophesied role as the forerunner of the Messiah. He gave up what would have been considered a normal life at the time, choosing instead to live a rather eccentric life in the wilderness, where his preaching drew crowds who were thirsty for a Savior. John always pointed beyond himself to Jesus, the One who was to come.

Matthew and Luke tell us that John got discouraged while in prison and wondered if the real Messiah had actually come (see Mt 11 and Lk 7), but he was eventually convinced. In John 1, John the Baptist sees Jesus walking toward him and exclaims, awestruck, to those who are with him, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! …Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (vv. 29, 36). I can sense his excitement, and it’s contagious. This celebrity, this One whom John has been telling everyone about, this One whose name so many people already seem to know, is right here in the flesh, standing in front of him!

Don’t you think John’s heart raced as Jesus approached? Don’t you think he felt a twinge of excitement laced with a little nervousness in his stomach? Don’t you think the encounter was a bit surreal for him?

And the best thing about this particular celebrity is that he didn’t just sign a quick autograph, pose for a brief picture, or say a couple of words and move on his way. No. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus offered an invitation to all who were willing to “come and see” (v. 39). And still today, Jesus pulls the door to his life, ministry, and love wide open for all who wish to come in. We don’t have to admire him from afar and wish we knew him. We can be in relationship with him and know him personally.


  • Who are some of your favorite celebrities? What do you think they are like in real life?
  • Have you ever met a celebrity? Did the experience live up to your expectations?
  • By the nature of their work, celebrities are much too busy to become personal friends with everyone who admires them. But Jesus invites all who are willing to come and see—to know him and to follow him into a life of love, service, and mission. What would you do if you met Jesus in person, face to face?
  • How can you strengthen your relationship with Jesus so that you feel close to him, even though you can’t yet be in his physical presence?
  • How does it feel to encounter Jesus in your daily life?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, and her husband John. Occasionally, she appears onstage in community theater productions and can sometimes be found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel movies, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who, and she’s still trying to write a young adult novel that her girls will enjoy.


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