37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). 43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" 48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" 50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Questions to Consider:
Personal Thoughts: The first disciples were not followers of Jesus because they had nothing better to do. They followed Jesus because they were convinced that He was the Christ. The declaration of who Jesus was is made over and over again. It is the same reason we follow Jesus. We Believe! Jesus said the following words to Thomas: "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) And so we are blessed!
Two of John the Baptist's disciples heard John call Jesus the "Lamb of God." They must have had some understanding of what that meant or thought that the title sounded impressive because they immediately started to follow Jesus. Jesus responded to them exactly like we would respond to people who are suddenly in our shadow; He asked them, "What do you want?"
They called Jesus, "Rabbi." This meant that they viewed Jesus as a spiritual teacher, someone worth listening to, someone worth learning from, perhaps someone worth following. Rather than try to convince these two men to follow Him by giving them a sales pitch, Jesus simply invites them with, "Come and see."
One of the two men was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Andrew found Peter and shared a significant word with him. "We have found the Messiah." (Side note: Peter declares to Jesus (Matt 16:16) "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." However, Andrew had come to that same conclusion the day he decided to become one of Jesus' disciples)
Jesus calls Simon Peter "Cephas" which means stone or rock. Some Christian traditions believe that this means that Peter was "The Rock" that the church would be built on. They base this on Jesus' response to Peter's declaration that Jesus was the Christ. ""And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." In my opinion that is quite the extrapolation. Firstly, Jesus said the church would be built on "this" rock and He used the word "Petra" not "Cephas." Most Bible scholars believe that the "Petra" the church is built on is the revelation that Jesus was and is the Christ.
The next day, Jesus called Philip to follow Him. Philip immediately found Nathanael as spread the good news. "We have found Him..." When Nathanael found out the Jesus was from Nazareth, he was less than impressed: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
How did Jesus win this skeptic over? He spoke to Nathanael with prophetic insight: 1) "Behold, an Israelite in whom is no deceit!" 2) "Before Philip called you, you were resting under a fig tree." Both of these insights grabbed Nathanael's attention because they were true.
Nathanael makes a declaration: "Rabbi, You are the Son of God!" The point is this: Andrew, Peter, Philip and now Nathanael did not follow Jesus because of His charisma or charm; they believed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.
Jesus tells Nathanael, (Let me paraphrase) "If you believe in me based on a couple of prophetic insights, just wait, you have not seen anything yet!"
John was the youngest of Jesus' disciples. He refers to himself as the disciple that Jesus loved. In the distorted view of the modern pop culture, love between men is often sexualized, which makes it difficult to comprehend the powerful bounds of the friendships between men who love each other. Please note: Sex and Love are not synonymous. On a personal note, I have sexual relationships with one person; my wife. On the other hand, I have an intense, non-sexual, agape love for a very large number of friends and family members. How deep is that love? I would die to save them; and there is not one sexual thought that I associate with those relationships. Sorry to start out this study with such a taboo conversation, but the sensual nature of our culture needs to be exposed. The Bottom-line: John wrote the Gospel of John from the perspective of a person who loved his dear friend, Jesus.
The Purpose for which the Gospel of John was written: There is no guess work when it comes to John's purpose for writing the Gospel of John. He clearly states his purpose in John 20:29-31 (NKJV) "Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John wrote his Gospel so that people; people who were not around during the time of Jesus' ministry on earth, would read John's account and come to believe in Jesus.
One of the themes found in John's coverage of Jesus' ministry on earth is the idea of good verses evil portrayed as an analogy of light verses darkness. The earth is a picture of darkness, weighted down under the curse of sin and under the influence of Satan. Jesus is portrayed as the light that shatters the darkness and passes on the lighted torch to the Church to carry on.
Questions to Consider:
Lead Teaching Elder: