We are continuing our study in the Gospel of John. Let’s take a moment and read our text today—READ John 1.35-42.
As we consider this text today it is important to keep in mind the way God has ordered the world. God has decreed all healthy organisms will multiply. When a marriage couple has healthy reproductive system they multiply their family. When a business has a good product they will multiply their customers. When you are working on something at work that is fruitful it will be shared with others. God has put into the fabric of the world fruitful things multiply. What we will see today is…
As we taste the good fruit of Jesus Christ we multiply His message.
1. The Fruit of the Message—John 1.35-39.
It is here where we see the continuing ministry of John the Baptist. But this is a key transitional point, because John is transferring people from his ministry to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
In order to keep the reader connected to the rhetoric of the prologue John opens this section with the phrase, “The next day.” I say this is keeping us connected to the prologue because it follows a similar stylistic pattern to Genesis, which was John’s agenda in the prologue. Let’s not forget this Gospel opened with the phrase, “In the beginning,” which is the same phrase that opens the beginning of the Bible. Therefore, as Genesis was establishing creation, the Gospel of John is establishing re-creation. God called our first parents to be His first disciples. The Greek word “disciple” simply means student or learner. Our parents were created, were called, to image God to the world. We are called to image Christ to the world as our first were called to image God.
John the Baptist uses the phrase, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” once again. What is different about this time is when John makes this declaration two of his own disciples decide to take on a new teacher. John 1.37 says, “they followed Jesus.” Jesus sees they are following Him—READ John 1.38-39. While John the Baptist points these men to Jesus we should not forgot how important it is that Jesus extends them a personal invitation to come with Him. The question He asks them is the same question He asks all of us, “What are you seeking?” Another way of saying this is, “What do you want from me?” The longer we spent time among God’s people, regularly hearing the call of Christ to “Come and see,” we will either move deeper into that question or move further away.
Some people need to admit they are merely dabbling in following Christ as their teacher. These people don’t see Jesus as their Teacher or LORD, but merely as their Savior. Jesus talks about this in the parable of sower in Matthew 13. Jesus gives us a clear explanation of what it means:
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”—Matthew 13.18-23
We cannot assume everyone who responds to the Gospel will preserve with us. Even in Jesus’ ministry some people followed Him for a season, but eventually walked away. We must be regularly asking ourselves and each other, “What do we want from Jesus?” If it is anything else than, “You! All I want is you Jesus! Help me believe that and live that way,” then seed that was sown may not be in good soil. The call of Christ is a question, and we all must face that question every second, every minute, every day.
2. The Multiplication of the Messengers—John 1.40-42.
As we move into this section something profound happens here. First, we see how quickly Jesus multiplies His messengers of bringing other people to Christ. We see within a few verses John the Baptist pointing Andrew to Jesus, and then Andrew pointing Peter to Jesus. Second, we see how God uses different people in different ways to bring others to Jesus Christ.
The Bringing Messengers
One of those multiplied messengers is Andrew. The Gospel of John tells us how one of the two followers of John the Baptist was a man named Andrew. But the qualification that is said in John 1.40 is, “Simon Peter’s brother.” Let’s think about that for a moment. Has someone every connected who you are by relating you to someone else? In one sense that can be encouraging. If that person is pretty cool, then the person might think much of you because they admire the person they connect you with. But sometimes these connections can sting a bit. Why is that? My older sister was pretty good at whatever she put her mind to, so there were times when people would say, “You are Tressa’s brother, right?” There was a sense in my soul, I am my own person, not just the brother of Tressa.
So here we have in the pages of Scripture Andrew being referred to as the Peter’s brother. What this tells me is some of us need to embrace we may not have the same role as others in the economy of God’s kingdom. While we all have the same value, we do not share the same role. We see very quickly what Andrews role was—READ John 1.41-42a. When it comes to evangelism some of us are bringers. Some of us will bring others directly to Christ like Andrew did with Peter, but others will bring people to other followers of Jesus who will bring them to Jesus Christ. God used Andrew to bring one of the most famous preachers and disciples to Jesus. Many of us may know Charles Haddon Spurgeon, but I doubt any of us know the name of the shoemaker who preached the morning of a bad snowstorm in which Spurgeon was saved, because the pastor didn’t show up that day. Some of us have been called by Jesus to have an Andrew ministry. Embrace that calling and resist the temptation to be someone else. So many of compare ourselves to other Christians, focusing on their strengths and our weaknesses. Instead we should keep our gaze on Christ, that is where we find our identity, and given our marching orders. We can embrace our gifts and rejoice in the gifts that Christ has given to others. Here is how Paul expresses this in Romans 12:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function.—Romans 12.3-4
In the book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, pastor Mark Dever shares this:
“‘I couldn’t do what you just did.’ ’What?’ I said, honestly clueless.’Engage that person in conversation like that.’ My friend was a strong Christian. He was growing spiritually like a weed. But he was a much younger Christian than I. Plus, he has, I would say, a normally balanced personality, whereas I am an off-the-charts extrovert, which brings blessings and challenges. But the extrovert’s ability to talk to a lot of people is one of the pluses. What isn’t one of the pluses is what happened to my friend—he was left feeling that he couldn’t evangelize. We went on to have a good conversation about evangelism and about his recent opportunities, but this experience did make me consider the fact that ‘clergy persons’ such as I, whether intentionally or unintentionally, often give off the vibe that evangelism should be left to the professionals.”—Dever, p. 45
The Potential Messengers
In John 1.42 we have Peter meeting Jesus for the first time. It is hear where Jesus gives Peter a new name, or a new identity. Jesus declares you will be a rock Simon, a rock on which I will build my church. Peter was a bold, extrovert like Mark Dever. Jesus ends up using Simon Peter as one of the greatest preachers and leaders in the early church.
Notice how Jesus evangelized Peter. He gave him a new identity. He talked to him about His potential—about what He will become. Many of us do not do that in our evangelism. While it is important to share with the person they are a sinner, it is also important to share with them what you believe they can become. I remember when I was at youth summer camp one year the leadership team asked me to share my Gospel story with the whole camp. I talked a lot about the broken home I came from, the broken relationships had in my dating life. A middle aged lady came up to me afterwards, told me how much that story meant to her and the teenagers with her. She told me God will make you into a strong godly man who will make a great husband and father. I was 17 at the time. This lady did not know me, but I believe the Spirit of Christ was working through her to encourage to have hope of not continuing in the cycles of sin that were running through my family. I needed to hear that. Praise God for bold saints who are willing to take risk to proclaim hopeful potential truths into our lives.