This summer, before going on holiday, I did what so many people do, looked at reviews of the place we are staying at online. More often than not it is really helpful. However, it is very easy to read reviews that give a false report which are not accurate and make a decision based on a bad review.
After giving a one-star review of a restaurant in Kent a woman was contacted by a London law firm saying, “The material you have posted about our client… is defamatory and therefore unlawful”1 and she is potentially facing legal action. A review said the food was ‘slop’. The restaurant owners reviewed the CCTV and said she looked like she was enjoying her meal. The truth may have to be decided in court, meantime the restaurant is saying the bad reviews are affecting business.
The important point to note is that too often we can be making decisions based on bad false reviews. I heard Andy Kind at a comedy night brilliantly propose that many people are making decisions about Christianity and Jesus based on bad false reviews. Having not had the opportunity or tenacity to examine the claims of Jesus for themselves too often people reject following Him out of hand.
This year's ‘Come & See’ mission is offering every home in Huddersfield an invitation to come and see Jesus for themselves. The title originates from a conversation recorded in John’s gospel between Philip and Nathanael. Philip had started to follow Jesus. When he told his friend about Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael retorts ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Nathanael was viewing Jesus through the filter of bad false reviews of where Jesus came from. Philip encourages Nathanael to ‘come and see’ for himself. On encountering Jesus for the first time, Nathanael found the truth for himself. The reviews were wrong, Philip was right, and Nathanael joined him as a follower of Jesus Christ.
This passage gives two challenges. Firstly, that followers of Jesus represent and present Him to friends, family and the world with true good honest reports like Philip. We are called to be Jesus’ salt and light to the world in word and deed. Secondly, in an age of fake news, like Nathanael, people need to push past false reports and find out about Jesus for themselves. Many have made their minds up about Jesus without examining the evidence, without knowing what He did, without listening to Him.
My hope is that this article prompts good reports and responses to the news and person I believe is the Saviour of the World. If you do not know Jesus, why not begin that journey of discovery by coming and seeing at one our church services or events?