Good morning! Our reading for this Wednesday, January 9, 2019 is John 1:35-42.
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. — NIV
We all follow someone! I tend to admire and follow Billy Graham or the teaching of Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I have a close friend who is always sending out devotional notes from Chuck Swindoll. It is not wrong to identify certain teachers whom we trust to interpret God’s Word, but ultimately we must place our allegiance in Jesus. Every human teacher or preacher, politician or social leader is limited and subject to misunderstanding and mistake. Though faithful followers of Jesus we remain affected by sin and corruptible. Keeping this in mind will help us to discern and glean the truth from those who inspire us while keeping us honest and our focus on our true leader, Jesus.
It is not surprising that Andrew and the unnamed disciple (whom most scholars believe to be the disciple John) were following the ministry of John the Baptist. We do not know much of their background, but whatever it was they each had the inclination for closeness to God and a desire to follow God’s revealed will. So it was natural for them to check out Jesus when John (the Baptist) pointed him out as “the Lamb of God.”
I do not know what their take was on the description John gave to Jesus, but they knew it was something significant. And since John is recorded in the gospels as always clarifying his role as the one who prepares the way for the Messiah the two must have put one and one together and new John was suggesting Jesus was the Messiah of God the Jews were long expecting and to which the prophets of Old spoke of. The question for us then is are we quick to break away from the voices that inform us to follow Jesus?
The two immediately left the Baptist and approached Jesus who nonchalantly asked them what they wanted as though he didn’t already know. Jesus asks us such questions as well. What is it we want from him? The answer may seem obvious at first yet when we give it some thought we might come up with a list of specifics of concerns we bear or questions which we feel leave us believing but uncertain. Being honest with ourselves regarding the deep felt questions we have is essential if we are going to find inner peace. This does not mean Jesus will immediately provide the answers we ask; he invites them as he does us to follow and hang (stay) with him.
We are told it was about the tenth hour which is Jewish computation of a day would be 4PM in the afternoon since the day started at sunrise. He invited them to dine with him and talk with him. I would presume they talked into the wee hours of the morning at which with little sleep Andrew raced to find his brother to tell him the news. Simon whose name Jesus would change to Peter must have been as spiritually inclined as his brother but because he was the oldest kept to his responsibilities as the eldest son to assist his father with the nets of their family business.
Some people are given easily to excitement and certainty and Peter must not have shared his brother’s passion though he did his interest. Out of love for his brother he accepted the younger’s absence and wonder lust with the concept of God sending the Messiah. Some believers spend a great deal of energy anticipating the Second Coming of Christ while most of us accept it will happen at God’s own timing focus on the responsibilities we must faithfully bear in our present lives.
I love the description the disciple John gives to how Peter came to meet Jesus personally. It was through his brother Andrew that Peter left his preoccupation to follow Andrew to where Jesus was staying. It is one thing to believe and quite another to meet and live in Christ’s presence. Some today may believe or want to believe but are preoccupied with living in the moment following their daily routine and trying to make time to enjoy life. They do not get invested in deeper Bible study or religious attendance. The seed of enthusiastic and passionate faith is present but lacking the impetus to invest more fully in what would prove to be life transforming. Andrew wanted this for his brother so mustered up the courage to challenge him to meet Jesus.
There are people in our lives who may believe but who lack the passionate investment to following Jesus that we have. It is our privilege to testify to what we have experienced in Christ and invite them to meet him personally. In the making of your resolutions for this new year have you made a place for taking the concerted action of sharing Jesus in some significant way with those you love but do not yet follow him with intentionality? Please spend some time with Jesus even if it costs you some sleep and with God’s help find the ways, the time and place to give that witness and invitation. You will be blessed by so doing when you see what difference Jesus can make in someone else’s life.
Blessings! Dr. Brian Homan, pastor