Learn More About Jesus (35–39)
The two disciples who were with John when he confesses again that Jesus is the Lamb of God were Andrew (v. 40) and an unnamed disciple. Although they have just met Jesus, they call him “Rabbi.” The word rabbi literally means “my great one,” although it can also be translated “my Lord” or “my master.” Although the word doesn’t literally mean “my teacher,” the translation is true to usage.
These first disciples are so drawn to Jesus that they want to spend more time with Him; thus, they ask Him where He is staying. They want to follow Jesus. The theme of “following Jesus” appears also in verses 37, 38, 40 and 43. The concept “to follow” is more than just walking in the same direction, but it is the term used for the dedication to discipleship. Are we as drawn to Jesus today, or has our love for Him grown cold?
Mosie Lister’s words challenge us even today: “How long has it been since you talked with the Lord and told Him your heart’s hidden secrets? How long since you prayed? How long since you stayed on your knees ‘til the light shone through? How long has it been since your mind felt at ease? … How long since you knew that He’d answer you, and would keep you the long night through? How long has it been since you woke with the dawn and felt this day is worth living? Can you call Him your Friend? How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?”
Tell Others About Jesus (40–42)
When Andrew finds and follows Jesus, he doesn’t keep the good news to himself but is ready to tell others about it. He first goes and tells his brother Simon that they found the Messiah. The entire Old Testament talks about the Messiah who was supposed to come. In Genesis, the Messiah is the “seed of the woman” who will destroy Satan (Gen. 3:14–15). In Samuel, He is the faithful priest (1 Sam. 2:35). In Job, He is the Redeemer who lives and will take His stand on the earth (Job 19:25). In the Psalms, He is the One whose hands and feet are pierced (Ps. 22:16). In Isaiah, He is the Suffering Servant who takes away our sin (Isa. 53:6).
After Jesus was born and was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, the old man Simeon recognized Jesus as the Messiah when in his thanksgiving prayer he recognizes Him as God’s salvation (Luke 2:30). Some time later, Simon Peter himself would declare, “You are the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah), the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Like Andrew, we have to tell others about the good news that Jesus is the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And there is no one way to do it. What’s your style?
Confrontational? Peter preached, “Repent and be baptized, save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2). Intellectual? Paul debated with the philosophers on Mars Hill to convince them (Acts 17). Testimonial? “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9). Relational? “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (Mark 5). Whatever our style, we must tell others about Jesus.
Experience Jesus’ Plan for You (43–51)
After Jesus calls Andrew, Peter, John and James as His disciples, He also calls Philip. Philip’s evangelistic tendencies are seen from the beginning of his ministry as a disciple of Jesus when he immediately tells Nathanael about Jesus, the Messiah. Philip knew his Bible and knew that the Old Testament spoke about Jesus. He points to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch when he says, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the Prophets wrote.”
Although at first he is skeptical, Nathanael believes after Jesus demonstrates an ability to know things beyond the normal human range. And Nathanael makes the wonderful confession that Jesus is not only a rabbi, not only the Son of God, but for the first time Jesus is introduced as the King of Israel, a title Palestinian Jews used for the Messiah. Jesus indeed is King but His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), and His subjects are not of a certain nationality but believers in Him.
(Editor’s Note: Dr. Tiberius Rata is professor of Old Testament Studies and chair of the Department of Biblical Studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Ind. This article first appeared in The Alabama Baptist (thealabamabaptist.org) and is used with permission.)