Wednesday, July 16, 2014

John’s Disciples—Jesus’ Followers (John 1:35-42)

“Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).” (John 1:35–42, NASB95)

After His temptation Jesus returned to Galilee where John the Baptist was with two of his disciples, one of whom is named (Andrew) and the other is not named. The one not mentioned by name is presumed to be John, the future apostle and author of this gospel record. It was not inconsistent of John to point to himself anonymously, in the third person, or as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (See John 13:23-25; 18:15-16; 19:25-27; 20:2-10; 21:4-8, 20-24). In fact, he never does mention himself by name in his gospel, other than to identify the writer of the gospel as that disciple in its closing words. “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:24–25, NASB95)

Recognizing that this second disciple of John the Baptist was John the author of the gospel it would easily explain why John includes these details which the others don’t. So, John (we’ll go with him as the second person) and Andrew were standing with John the Baptist when he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Hearing John say this, his two disciples began to follow Jesus. This does not mean that they then became Jesus’ disciples, but that they merely followed Him surely to find out more about Him.

As they proceeded after Jesus, Jesus turned and spotted them and asked them what they were looking for or, “What do you seek?” They responded by calling Him teacher (Rabbi) and asked Him where He was staying. They obviously wanted to know more. John the Baptist had been speaking of the Lamb who was to come, and now these disciples were being told that this man was that Lamb, and they wanted to find out more. Jesus invited them to come along, and John tells us that they stayed with Him the rest of that day.

As it approached about 4 p.m. (the tenth hour where the Jewish day began with dawn), Andrew left to find his brother, Simon, and bring him to meet Jesus. His greeting to his brother clearly declared the conviction that Andrew had realized that day, saying, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). Simon went with his brother, and when Jesus spotted Simon, we read, Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).”

At this point we have two disciples of John the Baptist and a brother who have met Jesus, and their lives were changed forever. As we proceed through the gospel records we find that after Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s arrest He found Andrew and Simon and called them as His own disciples. Mark records for us, “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Mark 1:16–18, NASB95) And then we read in the next verses that he added two more brothers. “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.” (Mark 1:18–20, NASB95)

John the Baptist would not be released from his physical imprisonment, but his legacy continued as two of his disciples were the first ones mentioned in Scripture as being called by Jesus along with their brothers, taking four fishermen and turning them into “fishers of men.” And as we progress through the next verses we find that Jesus continues to gather those around Him who would comprise those later selected as the twelve.

“for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18–22, NASB95) 

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