JESUS: OUR OWNER
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 1:40 (Holman) Andrew, Simon Peter=s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him.
By the time John=s Gospel was written, Peter was well known, the most famous of the Twelve. Hence, Andrew is introduced as the brother of Peter.
Andrew characteristically took second place. He evidently never begrudged living in the shadow of his brother. Andrew was not included in the inner circle of Jesus as was Peter.
To Andrew precedence was not terribly important. What mattered was being with Jesus and serving Him as best he could. Andrew is a model of all who humbly, loyally, and ungrudgingly take the second place.
John 1:41a He first found his own brother Simon . . .
Andrew sought his brother to save him. The phrase in our text reveals three things:
1. It gives evidence Andrew had met Jesus. It is in the nature of the new birth experience to share it with others. Though most of us usually allow fear to squelch our witnessing, the desire to do it is still there. Down deep we all know we should be verbal witnesses.
2. Andrew=s finding Peter implies he was seeking him. He did not leave things to circumstance and just wait for Peter to happen along. The job of the church is not to wait for the lost to come, but to go, to be proactive in seeking them. Jesus saw lost sheep as scattered. We believers must scatter to find them.
3. Missions must begin at home. Andrew was the first home missionary. He later became a world-wide missionary, but started by serving God where he was.
We must learn to serve Christ wherever we are. We are the witnesses. Now is the time. Here is the place.
John 1:41b . . . and told him, AWe have found the Messiah!@ (which means AAnointed One@).
Andrew did not preach or argue, but did speak earnestly and assuredly. He shared his beliefs, not his doubts. We cannot share effectively when clouded with doubts. Andrew spoke what he knew.
Andrew did not wait until he had Alearned enough of the Bible@ to be a witness. We don=t have to know everything to share Christ with others. Andrew called Jesus the Messiah, but had no inkling of what that actually entailed. His factual knowledge was minimal. Even at the ascension, the disciples still misunderstood Jesus= messianic role. Andrew didn=t know it all, but had learned enough in one evening to know Jesus was One whom he could perfectly love and trust. He knew the best thing he could do for his brother was to bring him to Jesus.
Andrew talked only of Jesus. One reason we are more likely to talk to a stranger than to an acquaintance is, the acquaintance knows our shortcomings and failures. Andrew avoided this pitfall by saying nothing about himself.
Nothing can replace personal one-to-one witnessing. Preaching is general and deals with groups. Personal witnessing, on the other hand, applies the Gospel specifically to the individual. Also, much preaching is geared to feeding the sheep, not to winning the lost.
John 1:42 AAnd he brought (Simon) to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, AYou are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas@ (which means ARock@).
This is possibly one of the greatest acts of service ever done for the church. Andrew was always bringing people to Jesus. Here he brought Peter. In John 6:8-9 he brought the boy with the five loaves and two small fishes. In John 12:22 he brought inquiring Greeks into the presence of Jesus.
It was not enough for Andrew to tell Peter about Jesus. His aim was to bring Peter as close to Jesus as he himself had been.
The change of name implies Christ=s power to bestow a new character, functions, and honors. The new name showed Peter would become a new man in Christ Jesus.
Jesus knew what was in Peter. Simon had the affection, loyalty, and enthusiasm which, after being disciplined with failure and disappointment, will one day make him a man of granite.
In the Gospels, Peter is anything but a rock. He is impulsive, unreliable, volatile. But that=s not the last word for Peter. Jesus planned to re-make him. But someone had to invite Peter first.
John 1:43 AThe next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, AFollow Me!@
Jesus is ready to begin His public ministry and starts, like Andrew, at home. However difficult it be, our work for God must begin at home. Jesus went to family and friends first (see Luke 4:14ff), knowing they would reject Him. Our vision should include, in this order, family and friends.
Jesus was a personal soulwinner, not limiting His ministry to public speaking. Everywhere He went He touched the lives of individuals.
No public ministry should ever be allowed to replace private personal soulwinning. Moody preached to millions, but after his deeper experience with the Lord, he personally witnessed to someone once a day for the remainder of his ministry. People on the streets of Chicago called him AMadman Moody.@
We need to become serious in our prayers concerning this business of soulwinning. Let=s pray specifically God will send us out into His harvest. We know this would please Him, for Jesus Himself did it.
Jesus spoke to a man who was neither seeking Him nor brought to Him by anyone. No bells, no whistles, no impressive introduction B just simple talk.
Jesus told Philip to follow Him. Henceforth Philip=s model would be only Christ. Philip was forced to decide. There did not have to be an extensive preparation period before he could come to know Jesus. In a moment=s time, his eternal destiny would be determined. There was no pressure, for all of Christ=s army are volunteers, but the decision had to be made.
John 1:44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the home town of Andrew and Peter.
Some of Christ=s disciples were of outstanding ability, but Philip is always presented as ordinary. Though Philip was never a candidate for Aoutstanding Jew of the year,@ Jesus made him an Apostle anyway.
Philip often seemed out of his depth. He doubted 5000 could be fed (John 6:7). He did not know what to do with the Greeks, who probably came to him because of his Greek name. He finally had to consult with Andrew (John 12:21f). He asked Jesus to show the disciples the Father (John 14:8f). This desire for further revelation pointed to weak faith.
In spite of everything, Jesus loved and used Philip. Jesus was not seeking extraordinary credentials, just extraordinary submission. Christ doesn=t need beautiful vessels, just Aflowable@ vessels through whom He can touch the world.
The question is not one of worthiness, but one of willingness. One prayer of the great Welsh revival was:
AFill me, Holy Spirit, fill me, more than fulness I would know;
I am smallest of Thy vessels, yet, I much can overflow.@
ALord, take our ordinary vessels and extraordinarily bless the world through them.@
John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, AWe have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law (and so did the prophets): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!@
The found became a finder. AOne lighted torch serves to light another@ (Godet). Christianity has been defined as one beggar telling another where to find bread.
In lists of the Apostles (Matthew 10:3; Luke 6:14; Mark 3:18), Philip and Nathanael (Bartholomew) are always mentioned together, as if the two were riveted not only to Christ by this experience, but also to each other. Bringing a person to Jesus results in a deep bond of friendship. Nothing endears us to another more than their knowing we brought them their first knowledge of the Savior.
AWe@ shows Philip was already identifying himself with the little group around Jesus. It doesn=t take long to fall in love with Jesus, and with His people.
While the rest of Israel continued to search, Philip=s quest was over. He had found Messiah. Nothing else mattered. Be ever thankful if your spiritual search resulted in your finding Jesus. Many are tormented at this point in life..
John 1:46 ACan anything good thing come out of Nazareth?@ Nathanael asked him. ACome and see,@ Philip answered.
Nathanael was skeptical. He spoke instinctively. His rashness resulted in the first slur against Jesus recorded in this Gospel. Jesus would hear many more; He has a devil, He perverts the nation, He is a friend of sinners.
Nathanael=s challenge put Philip in a quandary. He heard his beloved Master slurred. What will he do? He could dive into a deep philosophical argument, sull up, spit on the ground, or walk off. He could kick some dirt on Nathanael, kick his shins, or roll up his sleeves and go at it.
No, Philip had more faith in God than this. Philip may not have been a particularly resourceful man. He certainly did not attempt to convince his friend by arguments. Philip=s goal was to win a convert, not an argument.
Philip hasn=t known Jesus long, but long enough. He knows if Nathanael will come and see Jesus, there will be no need for arguments.
What a challenge is, ACome and see.@ It denoted something the two would do together. Philip did not say, AGo and see.@ He will instead personally see to it that Nathanael has a good look at the Savior.
Unbelievers often hide behind their prejudices: church people hurt me, I knew a preacher who fell into sin, church members are hypocrites, you=re interested only in numbers, you want my money, church services are dull.
C.S. Lewis said people would always be able to find arguments against Christianity. He confessed, AI well remember how eagerly I looked for such arguments when I began to be afraid it was true.@
Lewis especially took issue with those who used hypocrites as an excuse to repel Christianity. AWhat can you ever really know of other people=s souls B of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You cannot put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbors.@
Prechristians sometimes build walls of prejudice to hide behind. There=s no need for believers to jump behind the wall with them and argue. Instead, challenge them to come and see. ANathanael, put your money where your prejudice is.@ Many are afraid to come because they might like what they see.
Don=t argue with unbelievers. Simply tell them to come and see Jesus. That boozer and womanizer at work ought to be in church with us now, as should those we know who are gamblers, thieves, drug addicts, etc. Why aren=t they here? We have not issued the Acome and see@ challenge.
Our churches are to be not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. Pharisees saw Jesus as a friend of sinners, but now sinners see Jesus as the friend of Pharisees. This is the worst slur anyone could put on Jesus. Let=s tell prechristians to come and see Jesus. He is our best argument.