II. V35-37, Making disciples of Jesus, not yourself.
A. V35, John stood with two of his disciples. There is something to be said of spending time with people on a more private scale. It seems that John is only with two of his disciples at the moment, he was not too important to stand with just two people at a time. When we are trying to make disciples we must not underestimate the power of individual influence. Never get too important to spend time with just one or two people.
B. V36, “As he walked” As you go along the way you can always point people to Jesus.
1. You might be walking to the store, see someone along the way and can talk to them about Jesus. Don’t be in too much of a hurry that you can’t serve God along the way as you walk.
2. “Behold, the Lamb of God” John told his disciples the same message he told the multitude, he was the same guy behind the scenes as he was behind the pulpit. His message and life purpose was singularly focused on announcing the way to the Messiah. He calls Jesus again here the Lamb of God. It is good to always point people to the Lamb of God, you can not hold on to disciples for yourself, since you can’t save them from their sins… only the Lamb of God can.
a) Also as Matthew Henry notes those who teach should not forget the importance of repetition. When John first told his disciples this was the Lamb of God they did not follow Jesus, but now after hearing it again they do. We should especially be prone to repeating ourselves when talking about the Lamb of God, the way to have your sins forgiven in the person of Christ.
b) “Note, Ministers should not only in their public preaching, but in their private converse, witness to Christ, and serve his interests…It is good to have that repeated which we have heard, Phil. 3:1. The doctrine of Christ’s sacrifice for the taking away of the sin of the world ought especially to be insisted upon by all good ministers: Christ, the Lamb of God, Christ and him crucified.–Matthew Henry
C. V37, John’s faithfulness, humility and diligence to preach Christ was successful. His disciples left him and became the disciples of Christ. When you disciple someone this should always be your goal, that when you speak they are inspired to follow Jesus, not you. One of the biggest problems in modern evangelical discipleship is that people don’t like to let go, they want to hold on to people. They want to always be the teachers that the disciples go to. This is wrong; we need to make disciples of Jesus and not of ourselves.
III. V38-39, Come and See
A. V38a, James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” Here Jesus does this. Anytime we draw near to God He is quick to draw near to us, He is just waiting for you to take that first step and answer the invitation to follow Him.
1. “What do you seek?” For all that decide to follow Jesus this is a great question. Why are you following Jesus? Do you think you will get something out of it? Is it for personal gain? Or do you just want to know your creator? What do you seek? Do you seek to please God or do you seek to please yourself? These are things we should ask ourselves when we first decide to follow Jesus. It is critical that you follow Jesus for the right reasons. This was necessary for Jesus to ask since at the time most people had the wrong idea about why the Messiah was coming and how He would come and what He would do, they thought the Messiah would come and physically remove the yoke of Roman rule from Israel.
2. “The kind notice Christ took of them, v. 38. They came behind him; but, though he had his back towards them, he was soon aware of them, and turned, and saw them following. Note, Christ takes early cognizance of the first motions of a soul towards him, and the first step taken in the way to heaven; see Isa. 64:5; Lu. 15:20. He did not stay till they begged leave to speak with him, but spoke first. What communion there is between a soul and Christ, it is he that begins the discourse. He saith unto them, What seek ye? This was not a reprimand for their boldness in intruding into his company: he that came to seek us never checked any for seeking him; but, on the contrary, it is a kind invitation of them into his acquaintance whom he saw bashful and modest: “Come, what have you to say to me? What is your petition? What is your request.’” –Matthew Henry
B. V38b, Here we see one of the Apostle John’s translations notes, which is why people think this book was partially written with Gentiles in mind. A Jew would know what a Rabbi was, a Gentile would not.
1. “Rabbi” This means “my great one” and they are basically asking if Jesus would become their teacher and master by calling him by this name. They are saying they want to make the change of being disciples of John to disciples of Jesus.
2. “Where are you staying” It is thought that they asked this so that way they could come back at another time and continue to learn from him, at a time that would be more convenient for Jesus.
C. V39, “Come and see” When you come to Jesus to follow Him, it is never an inconvenience… He is always ready to invite you in. They would follow the Christ, and they would come and see with their own eyes how He lived, where He lived and more importantly who He was.
1. The more you follow Jesus the more you will come and see who God is and what He is like.
2. Why does John mention the time of day (10AM if they went by the Roman Calendar, 4PM if John wrote according to the Jewish Calendar)? Because it was the Sabbath day and they would need a place to stay the night once they came and saw, since they were not to travel on the Sabbath. This is important because it helps to answer the critic’s question about an apparent contradiction.
a) “Problem: John records that Jesus called Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and another disciple at this time. However, the other Gospels record their call as taking place much later (cf. Matt. 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11). When were they called?
Solution: The first passages indicate Jesus’ initial interview of the disciples, not their permanent call. As a result of this first contact they only stayed with Jesus “that day” (John 1:39), after which they returned to their homes and regular employment. The later passages indicate the time they left their former jobs and took up their full-time ministry as disciples of Christ.” The Big Book of Bible Difficulties, pp. 405, Geisler and Howe.
3. The main point to remember though is that Jesus does not reject those who chose to follow Him, instead He invites them to stay with Him.
IV. V40-42, Andrew the first disciple
A. V40, we find out here that one of the two was Andrew. We don’t know who the other one was, but we do know it wasn’t Peter. It could have been John the Apostle since it is of his character to veil himself out of humility when he writes, but this is conjecture.
B. V41, If you do a character study on Andrew you will see he is always bringing someone to Jesus. He starts though with his own family, as we should as well.
1. John the Baptist had used Messianic titles to point people to Jesus, yet here Andrew says in plain language that they have found the Messiah. Again there is a translation notation by John the Apostle. Jesus doesn’t have a last name, Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. This is literally the Anointed One, since God would normally anoint kings, prophets and priests to be specially set apart for the calling God had for them. God had promised in the OT to send an Anointed One that would be King, Prophet, and Priest and that He would establish the Kingdom and deliver God’s people from their sins.
2. “Note, We ought with a particular concern and application to seek the spiritual welfare of those that are related to us; for their relation to us adds both to the obligation and to the opportunity of doing good to their souls” – Matthew Henry. God is sovereign, we has a special obligation to reach out to those who are related to us by blood since we have a special influence on them that no one else has. If they live with you they will see by your life if you really believe or not. I believe I was born into my family to learn from them, because if it were not for them I would not have known Jesus. Likewise I have seen it part of the purpose of my life to minister to them, especially my little sister, since she won’t listen to anyone else about God. Plus she knows it’s real, because she knows how I live and knows who I am better than anyone else.
C. V42, Andrew the first disciple mentioned by name is also the first to spread the good news that the Messiah has come and starts bringing people to Jesus. You don’t have to wait to start bringing people to Jesus until you know all there is to know of Systematic Theology, being that Peter the leader of the early church was first brought to Christ by a convert no more than a day old.
1. “How simple Andrew’s message was. It was only five words- “We have found the Messiah” – yet God used it to win Peter. This teaches us that we do not have to be great preachers or clever speakers. We need only to tell men about the Lord Jesus in simple words, and God will take care of the rest.” Believer’s Bible Commentary, pp. 1472.
2. Peter goes to follow Christ, and Jesus accepts Him. Jesus doesn’t turn people away; in fact He sees those who come to Him as finished products. Here Jesus renames Simon as Peter. Simon is an utter stranger to Jesus, yet in one breath Jesus declares to know all about who Simon currently is and all about what Simon will be in the future. He even tells calls him by his full name, the son of Jonah. Simon means obedient, but at this point in his life Simon was not yet a rock. He had a lot of rock like characteristics, he proclaimed faithfulness to death and even drew a sword to prove it when they tried to arrest his Master, but when the biggest and unexpected trial came through the death of Jesus our friend Simon faltered and denied Christ three times. Jesus saw what Simon would become though, he would become a rock for the Christian church, so much so that he died a martyrs death.
3. Here is the evidence of the all-knowingness of God. And the comfort that when we come to follow Jesus He sees us for who we will become in Christ, not for who we were out of Him.
4. “Cephas” Here we see another translation, this time it is from the Aramaic language into the Greek. Aramaic was the language of the common Jew, the uneducated Jew. The fact that Jesus uses this word to rename Simon means that Simon and Jesus both spoke and knew the common man’s tongue. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, He did not exult Himself but humbled Himself continually. It is possible that Jesus spoke the common man’s tongue and used it with His disciples, and yet at age 12 Jesus sat for three days teaching in the temple, baffling all who heard him at his understanding and answers.
a) Before the disciples had used the word Rabbi, which was a Hebrew word. It is possible that they spoke Aramaic and knew some Hebrew words, or that they spoke both. Either way though it is significant that Jesus chooses to relate to Simon on his own ground, in the language that a common fisherman would know.
A. We need to take a note from John the Baptist and make disciples of Jesus and not ourselves. It is a good thing for people to stop coming to us with questions because they started coming to Jesus for answers.
B. Jesus never rejects those who desire to follow Him, He may question your motives and challenge you to follow Him for the right reasons, but in the end He says “Come and see”.
C. Andrew, who is not very well known, brought Peter to Christ. You don’t need to know a lot about Jesus to bring others to Him, you just have to know He’s the One God sent to save us and then tell others to go meet Him through believing in Him.
1. We should be the first ones to bring our family, or at least try, to Christ.
D. Jesus sees us as complete, Simon was not yet a rock, but Jesus calls him this because He planned to make him into a rock… steady, strong and faithful.