Throughout his book, John proclaims the Gospel is a love story that features the Word, a rational or spiritual principle, becoming human in order to woo his people. What was once an intellectual concept is now a human life.
That means we come to God not through a mental process, but a personal experience. Jesus shares fully God’s Spirit and offers to share that Spirit with us. As we enter this personal relationship, we become more like Jesus, and so more like God.
One implication of this is the “Come and See” theme that he picks up here in John 2: 19-51 and continues until the end of his book. Events from Matthew, Mark, and Luke are reframed as testimonies or witnesses. Rather than picture Jesus’ baptism, he reports John the Baptist’s witness of his experience. Rather than have Jesus appear on the seashore and call disciples to follow him, he has those who have come to know Jesus bring others to experience what they have found. “Come and see”.
By the end of the chapter John offers two clarifications to his claim that Jesus is God. First, Jesus is pictured as a very compassionate human being, a person who takes time to visit with people and notices them before they have any interest in him. He spends the afternoon with Andrew and takes note of Nataniel sitting under a fig tree.
Second, he quickly redefines the Word by making clear Jesus is the Lamb of God, another theme that will run through his entire book. To be God is to be a lover who shares the suffering of his people, even to the point of being willing to die for his loved ones.
This prepares us to hear the “I am” sayings not so much as egoistical statements of who he is and our need to accept his exalted status intellectually, but rather as proclamations about what he offers us in love: the bread of life, light, safety, the Way, the Truth, the Life, etc.
John makes clear the Gospel is good news that we must report like any other news story, so that others can “Come and See” what has given us great joy.
So much for the modern caution about avoiding political or religious talk. We soon come to see this is a ploy by those in authority to keep their control. To share Jesus’ Spirit is to reach out to the outsider, the poor, and the weak; to change the world as we know it. John says clearly the faith depends on each of us telling our neighbors, “Come and See what I have found”. Well, maybe even better, “Come and See who has found me”.