JOHN 1:35-51 (NIV – UK)
John’s disciples follow Jesus
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 round, 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 they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
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.
Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).
Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 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.’
46 ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
‘Come and see,’ said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’
48 ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’
49 Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’
50 Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ 51 He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” [Genesis 28:12] the Son of Man.’
Here we have a number of the disciples encountering Jesus for the first time – and what we see on display is his irresistible attractiveness when he reveals himself to us.
First, John, the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims: ‘‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ (v. 35). This was is a very special title for Jesus, as we read earlier in the chapter. Andrew heard John say this about Jesus, and followed him (v. 40). The very first thing Andrew does is find his brother Simon to tell him who he has found – ‘the Messiah’ (v. 41). Once we truly find Jesus and appreciate who he is, one of the first things we will want to do is tell others. Quite often our family is at the top of our list of those we want to join us in following Jesus, because we care for them dearly – just as Andrew went to tell Simon here. Simon then went to see Jesus.
Jesus then finds Philip and simply commands ‘follow me’ (v. 43). The simplicity of this command is beautiful – and it is the command Jesus speaks to us all, whether we choose to accept or ignore it. Again, we see that once we find Jesus, we will want to share him with others, as Philip goes to find Nathaniel and tell him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote’ (v. 45). Philip clearly appreciates and understands exactly who Jesus is and how important he is – this is probably the reason he wants to tell Nathaniel so quickly. Nathaniel was skeptical at first (v. 46), but Philip’s invitation is simple, ‘come and see’ (v. 46). When we are looking to share Jesus with those in our lives, a simple and gentle invitation can be all it takes – ‘come and see’ – ‘come and join me at church one Sunday’ – ‘come to this course my church is running’. Of course, as soon as Nathaniel meets Jesus he confesses, ‘you are the Son of God’ (v. 49).
Question: Have you encountered Jesus? Does the joy of encountering Jesus fill you so much that it overflows as you share him with others? Can you think of any ways you can encounter Jesus on a daily basis?