The Challenge to the Righteous on Day 3—Follow Him!
In each generation, God sets apart a righteous remnant who He calls His own, not because of their good intentions, but because of His grace at work in their hearts. And rarely are they obvious choices. Case in point: The first disciples of Jesus who had little to recommend them except they were disciples of John the Baptist. In this study we’ll meet two of them.
Since they were disciples of John—the best men he had—he knew that once he introduced them to Jesus, he was going to lose them. But that didn’t stop him, for he had no ambitions to develop a following for himself. His mission was to point people to Jesus. Verse 35, “The next day John was again standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ So they came and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.”
The tenth hour means it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and too dark to walk home on a winter’s day. So what did they do? They spent the night with Jesus talking and asking Him questions. After all, wouldn’t you? If you had a chance to spend a night with Jesus, would you miss out on a moment of it?
Notice two other things with me. First, they called Him “Rabbi,” a term of great respect in that culture, saying to Him in effect: “We’re ready to follow you now instead of John.” Verse 40 tells us who the first disciple was to make that decision. It was Andrew, and what did he do as soon as he got home? He found his brother Peter and led him to Jesus. Reading between the lines, we can also tell who the second disciple was to follow Jesus. It was John, the writer of this Gospel, who in keeping with his habit remains anonymous, yet gives away his presence by citing the exact day and hour he met Jesus. That’s something he could never forget.
But the most important thought to leave with you is this: John’s testimony worked. Because he made his ministry all about Jesus and not about himself, our Lord was welcomed with great fanfare by the people of Israel. It didn’t last very long, for the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. But the truth captured the most important hearts of all – Andrew and John, who immediately told their brothers, Peter and James, and their fishing buddies, Philip, Nathanael, and Thomas. And because of that chain reaction of disciple-making, set into motion by John the Baptizer, you and I believe today and are on our way to the kingdom of God.
So let’s not stop. Let’s keep the momentum going. Invite a friend to church this week. Ask someone to join you at your Bible study. Take someone with you to a Christian concert. Or pass on one of these lessons that may help their faith. Remember John’s three challenges to us – Turn to Christ! Believe in Christ! Follow Christ! The last of which involves more than following Jesus yourself; it also entails inviting someone to join you in your journey of faith.