John 1: 35 – 51
Having told us about John the Baptist’s witness to Jesus, St John now introduces some of those who are to be Jesus’ disciples. These are people who will be with him while he teaches and heals, and who will be the witnesses of his life, death and resurrection. In St John’s account, the first two to be introduced to Jesus as the Messiah are two of John the Baptist’s disciples.
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. John 1: 35 – 37)
In this short passage, John the Baptist once again affirms very clearly that Jesus is the Lamb of God, and he does so to his disciples. St John implies, perhaps, that other people heard John the Baptist’s testimony, and can back up what he is telling us.
One thing that I find very interesting is that Jesus doesn’t summon or appoint the two disciples – they follow him on the basis of John the Baptist’s testimony.
One of these first two disciples was Andrew. He spent a day with Jesus, (verses 38 – 39) and then this happened:
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. (John 1: 40 – 42)
In other words, Andrew’s immediate response to what he had experienced of Jesus was to tell someone else, and bring them to Jesus. This was not an isolated event, because St John now tells us:
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip. (John 1: 44 – 46)
Philip, just like Andrew, responded to Jesus by telling someone else. That’s probably an important lesson for me.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to spend more time with Jesus, through prayer, reading the bible, and thinking about what I have read. Like Andrew and Philip, my experience of Jesus is leading me to share it with others.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’
‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’
Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’
Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’ (John 1: 47 – 51)
I find this an enigmatic passage. Jesus tells Nathanael that he is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit, and that he saw him under the fig tree before Philip called him, whereupon Nathanael proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah. It doesn’t seem much to base your faith on, does it? But Jesus says that he will see more impressive miracles, including “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’
And perhaps it’s an encouraging word to us. We don’t need dramatic revelations; faith can be built from small bricks when Jesus is doing the building!
Heavenly Father, Thank you for your love for each one of us. Please help us to trust in you, and build up our faith in your Son, Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen