Monday, April 25, 2011

John 1:35-39

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

Here is John's version of the calling of the first two disciples. They were originally disciples of John the Baptist and they were prompted to follow Jesus by John's pointing him out as the Lamb of God.

I wonder what they understood by that phrase. They couldn't have seen it as a sacrificial lamb, because at that stage they did not understand that the Messiah had to die to ransom his people. The previous day, John had called Jesus, the lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world. They would be familiar with Isaiah 53:7 'led like a lamb to the slaughter' but throughout Christ's ministry they didn't believe that he had to die. Perhaps they saw the lamb as the ram, a more combative figure? The popular picture of sheep often neglects to inform us that they are all female. Shaun the sheep would have to have been a young ram. CS Lewis pictures the Christ figure as a lion. The popular picture of the Messiah at the time was of someone that would break the yoke of Rome. These were young men and young men baulk at authority. We know that one of Jesus' disciples was one of the party of Zealots who favored an armed uprising. One of the two disciples called here was the Apostle John himself who had the nickname Boanerges or 'son of thunder'.

Jesus invites them to come and see. What would they see? Jesus had no home to show them, but what he did show them would really open their eyes. Jesus made the blind to see but this was a metaphor for making the spiritually blind to see. John and Andrew called him 'Teacher' which seems to say that he had already begun his teaching ministry. Presumably he already had a following, but these two were among the twelve that he chose to train. Thousands followed him, so many that he was pushed into the water and had to teach from a boat moored a little off shore on at least one occasion. But twelve were especially chosen to be church leaders of the future. How important is that! I remember as a young man be called by the pastor of my church for special instruction. Every one of those few chosen went on to become leaders of this or another church.

They spent the day with Jesus. Have you ever done that? What a privilege! Sometimes celebrities are asked with whom would they like to spend an evening and they choose someone like Gandhi or Mandela or David Beckham. Silly people! Who would be better than Jesus? Yet we can do this. Retire to a quiet place with your Bible and begin to pray.

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