Jesus’ First Followers
AUGUST 5 - Nº 217 John 1:35-51
Not long after Jesus left the wilderness, he walked past the place where John had baptized him (see #215 - August 15). John happened to be there with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus, John exclaimed, “Look, there is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples immediately left John and started following Jesus. Jesus turned around and asked them, “What do you want?” Knowing that Jesus was a rabbi, they replied, “Teacher, where are you staying?” This was a polite way in their culture to ask if they could spend time with him and learn from him. Jesus invited them to join him. “Come, and you will see,” he responded. So, they went and spent the rest of the day with him. Andrew was one of the two men who followed Jesus. Al soon as he left Jesus, he looked for his brother Simon. Excitedly he told him, “We have found the Messiah!” And he took Simon to meet Jesus. When Jesus saw Andrew’s brother, he declared, “Your name is Simon, but from now on you will be known as Cephas.” (Cephas means ‘rock’ in Aramaic, which translates as Petros—or Peter—in Greek). The next day, Jesus decided to go north into Galilee to begin his ministry. He found a man named Philip and said, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from a town called Bethsaida. He ran back to town and found his friend Nathanael and told him, “We have found the Messiah—the one Moses and all the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph!” “Nazareth?” Nathanael questioned. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” It certainly wasn’t a wealthy, modern city. It was an insignificant little town that housed a Roman military base and was known for its rowdiness. “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said, “Here comes a true Israelite—an honest person who doesn’t pretend to be better than everyone else.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael wanted to know. “I saw you before Philip talked to you—when you were sitting under the fig tree,” Jesus replied. Nathanael was now convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. There was no way Jesus could have known that he had been under the fig tree without supernatural insight! “You really are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” he exclaimed. Jesus smiled, “You are going to see much greater things than this,” he said. “You will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Although Philip and Andrew are not two of the best-known disciples, they are two of the most significant men to follow Jesus. Every time we encounter them, they are bringing people to meet the Messiah. In this account, they are responsible for bringing both Simon Peter and Nathanael—who also became his disciples. When was the last time you brought someone to Jesus? If you are a true friend, you will be excited to introduce your friends to him!