January 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering – John 1 – Come and See
The January 2023 Come, Follow Me Ministering printable ties together Sister Tracy Y. Browning’s October 2022 General Conference talk “Seeing More of Jesus Christ in Our Lives” and this January’s “Come, Follow Me” lesson on the invitation to come and see.
Download January 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6)
You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drug store prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them.
January 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Message
John 1 – Come and See, Despite Our Doubts
In the first chapter of John, Christ invites His disciples to “come and see.” This invitation is perfect as we start on the New Testament this year. I love the New Testament because more than anywhere else, we see how the Lord lives and personally interacts with others. As we look at His life in Jerusalem, we can also come and see where He dwells and what it is like to abide with Him (John 1:39).
Christ and Our Doubts
For example, have you ever worried about how Christ will respond to your own doubts? Then the story of Nathanael is a wonderful one to look more closely at.
After Christ finds Philip in Galilee, Philip goes and finds Nathanael. He tells him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
But Nathanael is understandably skeptical. It is a bold claim, and Nazareth had a negative reputation. Nathanael famously responds with “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip does not argue with him, but invites Nathanael to “come and see.”
Even with his doubt, Nathanael does come. When Christ sees Nathanael, He greets him as a true Israelite in whom there is no guile or deceit. Confused, Nathanael asks Christ how He knows him. But that confusion changes to sudden clarity when the Lord responds, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.”
These words must have struck deep because Nathanael’s doubt is swept away and he responds, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”
What We Learn About Christ
What can we learn about Christ in this story? First, we learn that while we might have our doubts, the Lord still invites us to “come and see.” Even with our doubts and imperfections, He invites us to come and learn for ourselves. We also learn that it is only by acting and following the invitation that we can come to learn the truth. If Nathanael had stayed under his fig tree, he would have never received his personal testimony.
Second, we see that despite Nathanael’s doubts, his prayers were in earnest. Christ identifies him as a true Israelite who was without guile. Although we may have doubts, we can also come to Christ with open hearts that are ready to learn. To the Lord our doubts don’t matter, our hearts do.
Third, we see that when we come to Christ, He already knows us. Just like He could see the desires of Nathanael’s heart, He also knows the desires of our hearts. For me, my testimony often grows most during these personal moments when I see how intimately the Savior knows me. It is in those tender mercies that I see the love and care of my Friend and Savior.
Fourth, the Lord sees the good in us. Even though Nathanael had obvious prejudices against the people of Nazareth, the Lord praised the good in Nathanael. Also notice that Nathanael was quick to put down those prejudices once he recognized the Savior. As imperfect people, we all have our prejudices and preconceptions. But when we are without guile, we are better able to put down those prejudices to come unto Christ.
Under The Fig Tree
Interestingly, Nathanael was called from under a fig tree. We later see fig trees mentioned in the New Testament as Christ tells about the signs of the second coming (Mark 13:28-29 and Luke 21:29-30). In the Old Testament, we see this same tie to the coming of Christ when Zechariah prophesies, “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10).
Nathanael’s response to Jesus changes so completely when Christ refers to the fig tree, is it possible that there was a deeper connection with the meaning of the fig tree? Did Nathanael suddenly see himself in the prophecy when Philip called him to Christ as he sat under the fig tree?
Or some even believe that “under the fig tree” may be referencing the practice of rabbinic students to pray under fig trees. It was a private and shady spot to find solitude. It is only conjecture, but maybe Nathanael had been praying under a fig tree for the coming of Christ. Maybe it was a version of his own Sacred Grove. Whatever moved Nathanael, it is obvious that Christ knew just what to say to reach his open and guileless heart.
Greater Things Than These
After Nathanael takes that first step of belief, Christ rewards him with a promise to show him even greater things, “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (John 1:51).
As we approach the New Testament, the Lord will also reward our belief with a promise to show us even greater things. We gain knowledge and develop faith as we learn line upon line and precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10). As we come to see Christ, He will show us in our prayers, studies, and lives that He personally sees us.
Sister Tracy Y. Browning talks about the importance of seeing Christ in our lives in her October 2022 General Conference talk, “Seeing More of Jesus Christ in Our Lives.” Like her glasses help her see things as they really are, the Lord gives us “divinely appointed tools to improve our spiritual vision.” These tools include things like the words of Christ (found in scriptures, the words of the prophets, and personal prayer), regular temple attendance, and renewing our covenants weekly when we partake of the sacrament. Through these tools, like glasses, we can become focused on the Savior and gain clarity through the gospel.
Sister Browning captures the principle of “come and see” perfectly when she shares, “the Savior invites us to see our lives through Him in order to see more of Him in our lives.”
January 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Handout
I cannot resist a pun and have already shown a weakness for See’s puns. So I decided to pair this January’s printable with some See’s lollypops. Get it, come and See’s! I like to use washi tape because it allows me to attach the printable without putting a hole in it.
Did you like this Janury 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.