John continued to prepare the way and fended off questions that were being thrown at him by the Jewish leaders. He had already baptised the Messiah and had a supernatural encounter where he heard a voice from heaven and had seen the Spirit descend on Jesus. One day when John saw Jesus coming toward him, he openly testified about the Son of God.
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.John 1:29-30
John calls Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The blood of the lamb that was shed on the first passover protected the Israelites from the destroyer (Exodus 12:23). Jesus is the new lamb that was sacrificed on the cross and because of His blood, the destroyer cannot harm us. John accurately foretold about this great sacrifice that Jesus would make for all of us, something that could have been revealed to him only by God.
I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.John 1:31
John would have known Jesus as his relative but Him being the Messiah was revealed to John only later by God. John knew that his job was to prepare the way for the Messiah but beyond that he did not know and without doubting God continued on the path that was chosen for him. Only when John baptised Jesus and saw the Spirit descend upon Him and heard the voice of God, did he truly understand the purpose of his existence. Like John, do we fully trust God when our path is not clear or do we waiver doubting him throughout. John committed his whole life in the service of someone that he seemingly knew nothing about. How much more should are committent towards Christ be given how much more we know now?
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
The next day John pointed his disciples in the direction of Christ and they promptly followed their new Teacher. John realised his purpose was to reveal the glory of Christ and not gather a large following for himself. This is again something that most of us have trouble doing, putting God above us. Many people have trouble letting go of their followers. Pastors have a tough time recommending new churches to their congregation members who are moving to another land, lest they stop following their online services. Pastors hold on to their flock tightly and even become a stumbling block for them in following Christ on their own. People become too dependent on their leaders and do not seek God independently. Like John, we must realise that we are here only to reflect His light that shines brightly on us. On our own we have no light to emit and we will fail if we think otherwise. Let us not stand in the way of God taking control of His flock.
Andrew and Peter
One of the two disciples who left John to follow Jesus was Andrew. The first thing he did after encountering Jesus was to go and tell his brother Simon. The Gospels have several accounts of Jesus calling Peter. Peter is just like any believer who is called by Jesus. Everyone has doubts, reluctance to leave their family or their comfort zone and even go back to their old life several times. But just like Jesus kept bringing back Peter into his fold, He will do the same for us no matter how far we have gone away from Him.
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).John 1:42
Philip and Nathanael
Before leaving for Galilee, Jesus invited Philip to follow Him, and just like Andrew, Philip went and told Nathanael about finding the Messiah. But Nathanael was pessimistic and did not share the same excitement as his friend. He dismissed the idea of Jesus being the Messiah because he hailed from Nazareth.
Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.John 1:46
None of the Old Testament prophets ever spoke about Nazareth. It was a town that was now occupied by Roman soldiers and had adopted their worship practices. It could also be as simple as hometown rivalry between Bethsaida and Nazareth that made Nathanael utter those words callously. Whatever be the reason that Nathanael was denying to meet Jesus, it certainly was not something coming to him through God’s Spirit as the Spirit of God helps us recognise His Son. All these doubts that come in one’s mind preventing them from encountering Jesus come only from the evil one. If Nathanael would have listened to the voice of satan, he would have perhaps never met the Messiah and continued being satisfied in his so called righteous life. But when he met Jesus his eyes were opened to true righteousness that could only come from God and not by trying to obey laws.
“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.”John 1:50-51
The ministry of Jesus spread through people sharing their personal experiences of their encounter with the Messiah. Even today, in a world filled with countless religions and distractions, the work of God continues through the personal testimonies of people who have experienced Christ in their lives. Is that true of our lives and our fellowships? Are our services more of a sound and light show rather than people experiencing the wondrous works of God. The disciples expected a sound and light show too but found a man with humble dwelling and the words of this Man changed their lives forever. Let us evaluate our reason for following Jesus.
V29: Why does John call Jesus the lamb of God? V31: Did John not know Jesus? V32: What was the purpose of John the Baptist? V36: Why did John send his followers Jesus' way? V38: Why were the new followers curious about where Jesus was staying? V40: Why are there contradictory accounts of Jesus calling Peter between the Gospels? V46: What was wrong with Nazareth? Summary - On being called by Jesus, the first thing Philip and Andrew did was call the person they were closest too. What is our response when Jesus touches our lives?