We get to hear about Jesus’ first disciples. We learn the name of one but are not told anything about the second except that he was there too. I wonder who it was. Did this disciple become one of Jesus’ inner twelve? Did he stay with Jesus or later return to John? Just my curiosity getting the best of me.
I’m going to assume these two disciples were not with John the Baptist the previous day when he pointed out Jesus. During that identification John gave a LOT more detail about how the truth was revealed to him. Today he makes a simple but life altering statement; “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (verse 36).
I’m going to make a second assumption and say that John had used this phrase before in the presence of these two disciples and they understood the importance behind this statement. John always clarified that he was not the Messiah but that the Messiah was close at hand so his disciples were watching and waiting for him to point Him out. We know that this is not the first time John has done so but it is the first time his own disciples have left to follow the Man identified by John.
I wonder about the phrase John used too. Yesterday he referred to Jesus by this same name but added that He was to take away the sins of the world. I suppose he didn’t add that to today’s label because his disciples already knew the association. But clearly they didn’t understand the FULL meaning behind John’s words. I don’t think John knew it all either. If they truly understood they would have expected Jesus’ death and sacrifice. They would not have been afraid in the end but rejoicing. I believe the Holy Spirit Himself gave these words to John and drew Andrew and his cohort’s hearts with them to Jesus’ side. They knew John’s identification of Jesus meant He was the Messiah. They needed no other endorsement than that.
I can just see the scene that day. John the Baptist is ministering to the crowd and calling them to repentance when he catches sight of Jesus just beyond the borders of his group. Andrew and his fellow disciple have been assisting John in getting people in and out of the water. They may have been working crowd control or passing out towels when they notice John stop in mid-sentence and stare at a Man passing by. The Man doesn’t stop but simply continues leisurely along the road. From His outward appearance He is nothing special, just an ordinary Man.
Then John speaks; “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
Andrew and his friend have been listening to John talk about his experience of God identifying the Messiah to him directly and about “the Lamb of God” for over a month now. They have been wondering what He looked like. They have also been contemplating what they would do if they ever saw Him themselves. Today is their chance to answer both questions.
It wasn’t really planned but they felt they HAD to follow Him; the Man John identified. They quickly handed off their responsibility to a nearby fellow disciple and worked their way out of the crowd. They followed this Man for a while, hanging back a bit to not appear to actually be following Him. They weren’t intending to be rude or pushy, they were just curious.
Jesus knows He is being followed from the moment they left the crowd. He has a knowing smile on His face as He walks along for a little while. Once the three men are well away from the crowd Jesus stops and turns to His followers.
I want to pause here for a moment to look at the words Jesus used when He first addressed Andrew and his fellow disciple. Jesus doesn’t ask them WHO they are seeking but WHAT. He knows they are following Him. He knows their hearts have been seeking Him, the Messiah, for some time. He asks them “what” they are seeking as a convincing sign to come aboard.
Their answer is interesting to me too. The very first words out of their mouths are “Rabbi.” Was Jesus teaching already or were they speaking from their expectations? Even though they called Him Teacher they didn’t say they were seeking knowledge or understanding from Him. Instead they said “Where are you staying?” (verse 38). Now that’s a strange thing to ask someone you are following. If someone said that to me I would wonder why they wanted to know. I certainly wouldn’t invite them along to find out! But that is exactly what Jesus did. I wonder if they were going to offer Him a place to stay if He said He had none. Let’s pop back into our story and see what happens next.
Jesus has stopped on the side of the road and turned to Andrew and his friend. He doesn’t ask them their names or why they are following Him. Instead He asks “What are you seeking?” Knowing that they have been discovered doesn’t deter these two. Their curiosity is practically bursting through their skin!
“Rabbi, where are you staying?” Andrew asks this with a polite but eager face. Jesus’ smile grows a little bigger at their question. He is thinking about their motives in asking this question. There is no evil in their question, just openness and curiosity.
“Come with Me and I’ll show you.”
Andrew looks over at his partner and both nod in agreement. They join in walking beside Jesus now as He leads them to the place where He is staying. They have so many questions burning in their hearts that they begin asking before even going ten feet. Jesus is so easy to talk to and welcoming. He is everything they could hope for, and then some. Once they reach where He is staying He invites them in for dinner.
The conversation is so engrossing they talk late into the night. Andrew suddenly notices the hour and feels bad for imposing on Jesus hospitality. Jesus tells them they are welcome to stay the night. Both men thank Him and agree to His offer.
Early the next morning Andrew hurries off to find his brother Peter. The conversation with Jesus is ringing in his mind. He learned SO much already in that one night! He can’t wait to tell Peter Who he has met!
“Peter! You’ve got to come with me! I have someone you HAVE to meet!”
“Calm down Andrew. What’s got you so worked up?”
“It’s not ‘what’ but ‘Who!’ Peter, we found the Messiah!”
“Are you sure? How do you know?”
“John the Baptizer pointed Him out to us yesterday as we were down by the river. My friend and I followed Him to see where He was going. When He discovered us following Him He invited us to where He was staying. We spent ALL evening just talking about the things of God! I KNOW it in my bones! This is REALLY HIM!! And I want YOU to meet Him!”
Peter can’t resist Andrew’s excitement. Peter quickly gets dressed and the two of them hurry to where Andrew spent the night. Andrew hasn’t stopped talking about his experience since the moment he got to Peter. They are still discussing it as they approach the house where Jesus was staying.
Jesus is sitting outside enjoying the sunshine when the two brothers approach. He smiles as they come closer. Before Andrew even has a chance to introduce Peter Jesus speaks. “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (verse 42). Peter just looks at Jesus for a moment. He thinks, “Ok. I wonder what that’s all about.” Andrew’s excitement and certainty is enough for him to keep an open mind, at least for now. For now Peter will wait and see.
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me a glimpse of Your day. I still wonder about John’s other disciple. Did he stay with You too after that night? Was he Philip? I know it’s not earth shatteringly important, but I still want to know. I guess I’ll have to wait for ‘bench time’ on that one too.
I love how You welcomed Andrew and his friend without reservation. You knew their hearts and weren’t suspicious of their motives at all. Was it because it was a safer time than it is today? I’m certain the Spirit drew them to You. Was that why You welcomed them so readily? They were seeking their Messiah and were willing to take John’s word on the issue. I wonder what they would have done if they had been present that day by the Jordan when You came to be baptized. Would they have seen and hear the witness too? Would they have wanted to follow You right away? It wasn’t time yet. Only in Your time. Sometimes that means wait until later and other times it’s now. Please help me to know which is which and not push on without You.