The Call of Discipleship – John 1
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
Here at Faith Church we are working hard to build the church our friends and neighbors will join and our children will lead.We know that we can best accomplish that mission when we are
Growing in Groups
Serving on Teams
This is the work of the New Core Group and it follows the example of the original core group. It also follows the example of the very first core group. The disciples. In today’s passage, John tells us how these people came to begin each of those steps, following, Jesus, growing in a group, and serving on a team. It started by meeting Jesus.
You can’t follow who you don’t know.
You can follow someone you don’t know, but it’s creepy. It’s called stalking…
So here in this passage we have the record of several of the disciples first meeting with Jesus. As we read these verses, I want you to notice how many times we come across these words:
Come, Follow, Find, See, Seek, Look, & Saw
A couple of weeks ago the ultimate installment of the Marvel Movie franchise was released and it became the top grossing film of all time in very short order. The marvel movies are inspired by the Marvel Comics created by Stan Lee. Some would say that Stan Lee was a master at the Superhero origin story. Most of the movies that come out are exactly that, origin stories. They tell the tale of how the super hero became a hero. Often it’s hard for the sequels and subsequent movies to capture that same power and passion, so they often revert back to telling the origin stories again and again with new casts of actors and new twists… What we have here in the closing of John 1 is the origin story of the disciples. The disciples would be referred to as world changers
These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; – Acts 17:6
The disciples would be a part of a supernatural movement of God across the globe, they would be a part of an explosion of the gospel all over the map and be at the center of one of the greatest changes in culture the world has ever seen. John is telling us their origin story here in these pages.
The origin story of the disciples reveals Jesus as the source of their power and the shaper of their hearts.
How did this happen? We are shown the very simple formula in each of these interactions. The first two disciples who are standing with John the Baptist when he fires to Jesus as the Lamb of God, they go after Jesus and Jesus turns to them and says, what are you seeking?
They simply say, where are you staying?
Perhaps they’re hoping to know where they can find Jesus so that they can find him there later…
Jesus says, come and see. Jesus invites them back and they end up staying there with him…
You can’t follow who you don’t know.
You won’t follow someone you don’t love and trust.
They are very simply looking to spend time with Jesus. They are very simply trying to be where he’s at… They are trying to abide with Him.
With each of the disciples who after this in the story, Jesus simply asks them to follow him. Which meant going from place to place with Him. Spending time with him. Listening to Him. Working alongside of Him. Eating with Him. Just being together.
Pastor Eric and I both listened to a conference session this week in preparation for some church leadership stuff we are working on. At the end of the session there’a Q & A. A pastor gets us and says, let me tell you what we are working on. They had laid out all this great material in digital and online formats, all this stuff that could be listened to, these books to be read, sounded like really good material.
He said, what do you think? The presenter said, that all sounds good, but I don’t think you’ll be able to develop anyone without sitting down with them face to face and talking with them.
We believe world changing disciples are handmade.
When the disciples got close to Jesus, their hearts and lives were changed. They not only had access to this power that would allow them to bring hope and healing in the lives of people around them, their hearts were shaped to want to help people, their hearts were shaped to be selfless when what they had been before was selfish.
Your depth of purpose will depend on your proximity to Jesus.
No one got this more quickly than Andrew. We don’t know much about Andrew but what see of Andrew in scripture is just him bringing people to Jesus. In verse 40-42 we have Andrew bringing his brother Simon to Jesus. We’ve got some Andrews in our church… You might not ever stand up in front of a group of people like this, but you are an inviting machine…. Some of you are so good at inviting people you’ve got other people in the church asking you to invite their friends and family to church… Andrew knew, if I can just get you to Jesus. If I can just get you to Jesus, that will change everything. I love verse 41 so much…
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Andrew knew what we would come to know about Peter. Peter was a mess. Just this week I read a satirical article that was supposedly reporting that in heaven when the disciples get together they intentionally read passages where Peter makes a fool of himself just to give him a hard time… We would come to know this about Peter, but Andrew already knew it. You might be able to fool everyone else at first, but there’s no fooling your brother. Your brother knows you.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
Now for some people standing there at that moment, it probably didn’t seem like that strange of a nickname, and I’m sure Peter was proud to be called a Rock. I would have loved to see Andrew’s face in that moment. Andrew and Jesus knew that wasn’t fitting for Peter in that moment, but Jesus was going to make it fitting. You see, these disciples weren’t altar boys. They weren’t spiritual giants. They were ordinary guys. They were just like you and me. The difference was their time with Jesus. Another example of this is Nathaniel.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Jesus saw what these men were, but he also saw their potential. Jesus saw their imperfections, but he also saw what they could become. He called that out of them. He called them to something greater. He called them to be more than they were, but nothing less than what they were created to do.
Jesus calls us to something greater.
You see, some of you are afraid that you’re not worthy… You’re afraid you’re too jacked up, but the truth is that if you were, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now. God saw you before you ever walked in to this church for the first time… Jesus already knew what you were before he called you and he also knew what you could be if you would open your heart to him… Look what Jesus says to Nathaniel when he sees him.
48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Jesus has been expecting you.
Nathaniel is amazed when Jesus had seen where he was. Even greater was that Jesus could see where Nathaniel would be. Jesus says to Nathaniel
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
Jesus has greater things in store.
The “THOU” or “YOU” is plural. It was not just Nathaniel who would see greater things, it was all of them.
Jesus was saying they all would see greater things.
We’ve cheapened what it means to be a Christian.
I don’t even like the term, really.
I often say believer or follower of Jesus.
“Christian” has come to mean anyone who went to church or maybe even now just thinks going to church is a good idea.
Several years ago I met a man and I was trying to talk to him about spiritual things. I started the conversation by asking if he attended church. He said, I’ve belonged to “such and such” church since I was a kid. I wanted to transition to, I’m glad to know you attend church, but where would you say you’re at in your relationship with Jesus?
I couldn’t get there, because he cut me off at “attend church.”
He said, “I didn’t say I go there, I’m a member there.”
The greater things that they would see would come down the road as they spent time with Jesus.
The disciples spent 3 years following Jesus everywhere he went.
We think we can get it all covered with an hour every couple Sundays…
So what are these great things that they will see?
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Now, for these Jewish disciples, this would have hearkened to mind the story of their ancestor Jacob.
Jacob was traveling and spent the night in the wilderness. That night he dreamed that the sky opened up and he could see angels ascending and descending…
Jacob surmised this was the place where God dwelt and sent his angels to and fro to do his bidding on the earth.
He named the place Bethel which means the dwelling of God.
Jacob would return to this place later on and their encounter God and renamed the place El-Bethel, meaning the God of the House of God.
This place where Jacob saw ascending and descending was a Holy Place- a place where God did His work. It was like God’s headquarters in Jacob’s mind…
Jesus says, you will see the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
Now everyone else called Jesus the Messiah, but Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man which is the title Daniel the prophet gives for the one who will come and conquer the evil beasts that rule the world.
Jesus is saying, you’ll see God working not in a place, but in a person. A person who will overcome the works of evil.
Jesus is saying, Nathaniel this is nothing to see where you are coming from, but I say to you you will see greater things than these.
You will see God working through the one who will overcome evil for all mankind, so follow me.
Jesus knows your past, see your future, and calls you to follow Him into something greater.
Mom always saw potential in me.