Today’s Reading: John 1:29-51
The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. – John 1:35-40
In this passage, we see another way in which John the Baptist was able to prepare the way for the Lord. John’s investment in Andrew prepared him for the moment in which he would be given the opportunity to leave everything behind and follow the Messiah. Andrew’s faith was strengthened by John’s faith and, because of Andrew’s faith, his brother Simon Peter was given the opportunity to face the One who would see him for what he would become rather than for who he was.
Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John – but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). – John 1:41-42
RENAMED & REDEFINED
Jesus did not just rename Simon, he redefined him. Jesus knew that Peter was not perfect and he knew that he would one day betray him, yet he also knew that Peter’s faith would grow strong enough to stay true when many others would choose to walk away from Jesus.
RENAMED, REDEFINED & RECOMMITTED
Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”…
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:60,66-69
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. – John 1:43-44
According to my study bible, Philip was Greek. This shows a mix of cultures between the disciples but also shows that Jesus’ ministry was not going to be only to the Jews. The fact that Philip was Greek became a doorway for other Greeks to approach Jesus.
Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” – John 12:20-21
RENAMED, REDEFINED, RECOMMITTED & REVALUED
Each of Jesus’ disciples was created uniquely to draw others to Jesus, just as we are. There was something about Philip that gave others the opportunity to encounter Christ, just as there is something about us that God desires to use to draw others to Himself. The first person to find Jesus through Philip was a young man named Nathanael:
Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth!”
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. – John 1:45-46
Nazareth was a small town, not famous enough to be considered a possibility for greatness. There was a natural tendency for people to define others by where they have come from, the color of their skin, their family background, etc. Sounds like society today, doesn’t it? Nazareth was not well thought of and yet God chose it as the birthplace of His Son. How wonderful that God sees value in even the small or imperfect places or people!
As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel – a man of complete integrity.”
“How do you know my name?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God – the King of Israel.”
Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” – John 1:47-51
It wasn’t just that Jesus knew where Philip was before he arrived, he knew who he was. It was if Jesus was saying – just as you know where I came from and want to judge me by my origin, I know where you came from. You are a descendant of Jacob, who was known to be scheming and deceitful, but you are a man of complete integrity. And, just as Jacob dreamed of a stairway reaching to heaven with angels of God going up and down the stairway (Gen. 28:12), you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.
Heavenly Father, just as I came to faith through the faithfulness of others in my life, I pray that my walk with you will help others find You – that they will have the opportunity to hear you say, “Come, follow me.” THANK YOU FOR REDEFINING ME, not according to all the mistakes I have made and will make, or where I come from or how I look, but by who you created me to be. You uniquely created me and purposefully place me in the lives of others. Use me, dear Jesus. Help me to see myself through your eyes. Amen.