Read John 1:29-51
Examples—good, bad, or indifferent—are all around us. Even though we know the Bible’s primary purpose is to show us the path to heaven through the grace of our Lord Jesus, the Scriptures are also full of examples. Paul tells us, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) Though Jesus’ disciples were often poor examples of Christ followers (just as we can be), in the account of Jesus calling the first of His followers we find examples we would do well to emulate.
John and Andrew
The first two disciples Jesus called to follow Him started out as disciples of John the Baptizer, namely John and Andrew. When John the Baptizer singled out Jesus and testified that He was indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29) it was enough for these two. Although John the Baptizer did retain some disciples for a time, Andrew and John knew it was time to stop following the preacher and follow the One preached. We would do well to remember that. As attached as we may become to our pastors, it is the One Whom they preach that we follow. We dare not let brotherly love or loyalty cloud our vision of Christ.
The next we hear of Andrew, he is telling his brother, Simon (Peter), about the Christ. Andrew wasn’t content with just the telling however, he brought his brother to see Jesus. Are we often content with the telling, and forget to follow through with the bringing? We may tell others about our church or our religion, but when we are done speaking, have they been brought to Jesus? We would do well to leave those to whom we witness with these truths: I believe Jesus is the Christ, true Son of God; His life, death, and resurrection were the perfect payment for all sin; He is my Savior because He paid for my sin; He is their Savior as well.
Philip and Nathanael
When Jesus called Philip, we are simply told that he followed Him. Philip then found a friend to share the Good News with. Nathanael scoffed at the idea that the Messiah could come from Nazareth, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46) Whether the poor reputation of Nazareth was deserved or not, Philip didn’t take the bait. He was not going to debate his friend, but rather simply invited him to come and see for himself. We know the old saw, “Never discuss religion or politics.” However, our sharing of Christ and His Word is to be our daily occupation. When we discuss biblical matters with others, it may be difficult to keep a firm hand on our emotions, to not become argumentative. This is especially true if someone is purposely baiting us into an argument. Take a page from Philip’s book: “Let’s look into God’s Word together and see!”
Nathanael heard Jesus state, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” (John 1:48) This tiny glimpse of Jesus’ omniscience was enough to have Nathanael confess, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49) Jesus revealed to Nathanael that as he accompanied Him, he would see far greater things than this. We have seen far greater things. Whether in the full revelation of God’s Word or in our own life experiences, we have seen prayers answered and promises fulfilled. Let us follow in the footsteps of the followers of Christ, and joyfully share the Good News with all!
David W. Bernthal is the principal of Luther Memorial School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.