Welcome to Thursday’s podcast. Our reading today is John 1: 35 – 51 but today I’m going to focus on verse 41-42:
‘The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 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).’
Have you ever had to search for someone?
A few weeks ago I visited London to attend the HTB Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall. I managed to meet up with a friend who lives in Asia. I hadn’t seen him for 5 years. We’d arranged to meet at one of the main doors opposite Kensington Gardens. Simple? The issue was that my mobile phone battery had died about 15 minutes before we were due to meet. With my handy mobile charger I set off to find him. As I approached the Albert Hall they had just finished and 6000 were leaving the building. No phone – loads of crowds – it suddenly dawned on me that agreeing to meet at the entrance of Kensington Gardens was a much bigger area than I thought.
I panicked slightly – just how would I find my friend? So I began to pray. Mercifully after wandering around for what felt like an age – I found him! Turns out he’d also been wandering about looking for me – we must have missed each other in the crowd.
In today’s passage we read about the calling of the first disciples.
The gospel writer John tells a story of when a time when John the Baptist sees Jesus and he exclaims: ‘The Lamb of God’ – a prophetic statement regarding Jesus’ mission but also the purpose of his death and resurrection. When John the Baptist’s disciples (one being Andrew & the other [we think] the gospel writer John) hear this, they follow Jesus. In fact Andrew tells his own brother, Simon, they have found the Messiah. In the Greek language Messiah = ‘Christos’ where we get Christ.
Andrew takes his brother, whom based on the strength of all that John the Baptist has said, takes his brother to meet Him.
They search him out.
What happens next is really interesting.
When Jesus meets Simon he says: ‘you are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ – Cephas is the Aramaic for Rock. In the Greek Rock is ‘Petros’ where we get Peter.
While Andrew (possible the gospel writer John) along with John the Baptist are searching out the Messiah – so too is Peter, as he’s so keen to meet Jesus; it’s also very clear that Jesus too is searching out followers.
As we follow Jesus – it’s not a one way thing. It’s not on our terms. It’s always on his terms. As soon as Jesus meets Peter he confers upon him a new name and a new call.
When we are baptised we are baptised into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is a wonderfully encouraging thing – it’s deeply powerful and speaks very significantly into our new identity in Christ. But, it also says something about our new call, our new mission and our new task. We don’t just seek out Jesus to experience life transformation and sin management. He seeks us out to continue and work his purposes wherever we find ourselves.
As I reflect on these words and think on the incredible way in which Jesus recruits his disciples – I’m struck by Andrew’s love towards his brother, Peter. It says ‘the first Andrew did was find his brother Simon and tell him ‘we have found the messiah…’
Yesterday after dropping my daughter at school I was walking towards church in the beautiful sunshine. I bumped into my neighbour and we walked together before she headed down the hill and I carried on towards church. They’re awesome neighbours and we get on well as a family.
As she headed down the hill I felt a gentle nudge from the Lord. ‘So when are you going to invite her in?’ – I took that as a challenge not to settle into ‘friendship’ but to have courage to share Jesus – to make the invitation, have the conversation.
Jesus is searching out my neighbours as he is yours.
Let’s today walk in His grace – embrace his new identity but recognise, which is sometimes harder, that the Lord has stuff for us to do.
Father thank you as you choose us you also call us to continue in your kingdom purposes.
READING: John 1:35-51
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’
They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’
‘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.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 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).
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 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.’
‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
‘Come and see,’ said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’
‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’
Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’
Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’