90 Days with Jesus, Day 5: John 1:35-42…Following Jesus

John 1:35-42

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, 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 spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42And 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).”

I picture John shouting these words: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” I sort of imagine that he was on the lookout, waiting, watching, keeping one eye on the crowd and one eye searching the crowd—and then it happened; He appeared. John ‘saw Jesus passing by.’ “Behold! I’m trying to get your attention! There is someone you just have to see! You cannot not take a look, a long gaze, a mesmerizing stare! Behold! Examine! Contemplate!” John’s disciples would later repeat these words. Philip went to Nathanael and said, “Come and See.” He uses the same Greek that John did: “Behold!” “Come and behold!” The author to the Hebrews would say something very similar: “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The message is always the same: Stay fixed on Jesus.

John has twice pointed out Jesus to the gathered crowd. Both times he has said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” I did a quick Internet search for the moniker ‘Lamb of God.’ I did not turn up one hit for the One named Jesus. I did, however, turn up an entire page of links to a group of musicians known by the same. They, unfortunately, have nothing to do with Jesus except to mock him. They are nothing worth paying any attention to. They are not worth beholding. They are not worth spending the day with. They are not worth concerning yourself where they are staying. Jesus was and that is what I noticed about these verses here.

John pointed to Jesus and said, “Look!” Then some of John’s disciples followed Jesus. Then they wanted to know where he was staying and when they found out they stayed with him an entire day. Next one of these men, Andrew, went and found his brother and bade him to come and meet Jesus also. Andrew makes what is one of the first open confessions, aside from the baptizer, about the identity of Jesus. “We have found!” “We have discovered!” Notice also that this newly discovered information was information that had to be shared with someone else. This was not something to keep to oneself.

There is another thought concerning this dawning, this awakening, this eye-opening revelation that overwhelmed Andrew. I notice that he came to this conclusion quite apart from any sort of displays of power, or miracles, or even teaching. Maybe I’m being too simplistic about this, but what actually caused Andrew to come to such a conclusion and make such a pronouncement? What took place during that day he spent with Jesus that caused him to conclude that Jesus was in fact the Messiah, the Christ? Was it something John said? But all John said was, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (The only other things John had said were, “I am not the Messiah.”) Or was it something in Jesus’ words, “What do you want? Come, and you will see.” It would be fun to know what Jesus and these two disciples did that day. I’d like to know what compelled Andrew to conclude that this Jesus, with whom he had spent one day or so, about whom he had heard a couple really short sermons, was in fact the hoped for Messiah. It would not always be like that in John’s Gospel. Sadly, it is not nearly at all like that in our day.

Maybe it’s not tough at all. Maybe it was just a matter of spending a day with Jesus. And this is to say nothing of Peter who, evidently, had never even heard John say “Behold the Lamb of God!” Peter, evidently, took Andrew at his word and went to Jesus where from that day forward his life was altered. (Was he so persuaded because of Andrew’s conviction?) What shall we say then? That when we spend time with Jesus we will undoubtedly come to such a conclusion? That when we ourselves are convinced of who Jesus is we will make a beeline to someone we know and love and tell them the news? That we, having more information should be as convinced and convincing as Andrew was to Peter? Or, maybe we should ask, how Andrew could be so confident with so little information and we so unconvinced with so much information?

There is one last thing: It was Jesus who, from the get go, was the leader. “When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. And, they spent the day with him. And, ‘Andrew…was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.’ And Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And they wanted to know where Jesus was staying. In other words, from the start, these men followed Jesus, spent the day with him, went to him, share him with others, told others about him. From the start, it was about where Jesus was. Eugene Peterson writes, “North American Christians are conspicuous for going along with whatever the culture decides is charismatic, successful, influential—whatever gets things done, whatever can gather a crowd of followers—hardly noticing that these ways and means are at odds with the clearly marked way that Jesus walked and called us to follow. Doesn’t anybody notice that the ways and means taken up, often enthusiastically, are blasphemously at odds with the way Jesus leads his followers? Why doesn’t anybody notice?” (The Jesus Way, 8 ) From that day forward they followed Jesus. Would that this were true of all of us: Stay fixed on Jesus.

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