John 1:35-42 Raising true disciples of Christ Raising true disciples of Christ
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for 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 found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
The way the disciples were drawn to the Lamb of God and their interactions with Him revealed to us the critical values of raising disciples towards a revival. While many are the disciples of the church but few are true disciples of Christ. The role of the church is ultimately to nurture and free disciples to fulfill their personal call. Only then, revivals at unprecedented levels can be realized. True disciples are those who are willing to be changed by Christ to become living sacrifices for His purposes.
“Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
After Jesus’ baptism, John proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” this time apparently for the benefit of his own disciples. John’s disciples as it seemed were given the freedom to follow Jesus. Although we observed at a later stage that John still had disciples of his own while in prison (Luke 7:19). We know from the text that upon hearing his words, the two men decided to follow Jesus. However, it is reasonable to assume that they might not have fully grasped the implications of the term Lamb of God. However, the term does clearly depicts virtues of sacrifice and surrender rather than glory and power. There were no categories such as the Lamb of God given to individuals in Jewish history. However, there was no doubt in the disciples’ minds that Jesus was the first of a new genre. Christ would pioneer a new chosen race of priests and living sacrifices that would come after Him.
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
Seeing the two men following Him, Jesus asked, “What do you seek?” despite knowing that they were attracted to the Lamb of God. The disciples’ follow-up question: “Rabbi, where are You staying?” showed their determination to get to the bottom of who Jesus really was. Jesus’ reply, “Come, and you will see” showed His willingness to fellowship with men who were attracted to the Lamb of God.
You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas.
After seeing for himself what the Lamb of God was like, He told his brother, “We have found the Messiah”. Jesus having met Andrew’s brother for the first time changed his name from Simon to Cephas (Petros in Greek). The significance of this name change was not fully apparent in John’s gospel. Matthew 16:18 records,
I also say to you that you are Petros (Peter), and upon this petra (rock) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19.
The name change suggest a change of destiny, an awakening of a man whose true identity was Petros (Peter). He would be the man through whom the foundation of the church in Israel was to be built.
The purpose of discipleship is to free believers to follow Christ. The disciple maker points his disciples in the direction of Christ, the Lamb of God. Hence, the role of the disciple maker is to help disciples develop a pliable heart and the discipline to read the Word. The first two disciples expressed desire to know Christ and to follow Him: Rabbi, where are You staying? Many churches today push members through a conveyor system of courses masked as discipleship programs. Their “disciple makers” are tasked to secure members’ commitment towards church projects and meetings. Many of these programs are designed not to equip members to fulfill their personal call, but to fulfill the leader’s aspirations. John the Baptist proclaimed in the presence of the disciples the Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” A successful disciple maker is one who is himself a follower of Christ. He actively weans himself off his disciples and encourages them to draw directly from God for their personal growth.
True disciples of Christ carry the marks of the Lamb of God. Discipleship values during the times of Christ comprised the attitude of surrender and personal sacrifice to do the work of God. However, present day discipleship ethos focuses on self-edification and personal growth. They bear the motivation: how can I succeed and prosper in life through the principles of God? Although this motivation is legitimate, it loses the essence of true discipleship as defined by Christ, the Lamb of God. The first of Christ’s disciples were drawn by the spirit of sacrifice for the salvation of Israel. As we know it, all of Christ’s disciples took after the call and passion of their disciple maker, the Lamb of God. What does it mean by being Christ’s disciple in the modern society? The apostle Paul taught,
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
Disciple makers and church leaders make disciples after their own kind. Therefore, leaders must first ascertain if they themselves are true disciples of Christ before they disciple others. True disciples live life choosing the ways of God as opposed to the ways of the world. To be a living sacrifice involves choosing to do God’s will even if it means death to self. To be a living sacrifice is to be uncompromising in matters pertaining to the truth while working to fulfill one’s destiny.
True disciples are willing to change and embrace their divine destiny. One is not considered a disciple of Christ unless he is willing to let God change his destiny. Unless one is willing to deny his own agenda and seek God’s calling for his life, he is still considered a seeker. Peter became successful because he wholeheartedly allowed God to change even his name. Many churchgoers would struggle and fight to retain their old identity, idiosyncrasies, and ambition. They could not trust God enough to let Him shape their future. Hence, many could not fulfill the potential that God has ordained for them. If we are willing to let God change our name, He will develop and use us according to our original design. The end of which is a glorious and eternal legacy.
- What is the role and purpose of the church? Is church a place to find friends and have your needs met? Church is a place where members can be discipled and to work together to establish God’s kingdom in our world.
- Are there areas in your life that are “out of bounds” for God? You have made up your mind concerning certain things by fortifying it with excuses and human reasoning. Perhaps, it is time to let go of these things and let God have His way.
- Are there certain habits that you find difficult to change? It is because you kept the Holy Spirit out by reserving selective portions of your life to yourself. Start by presenting your body, heart and spirit unreservedly to God and you will begin experience changes in yourself and circumstances like never before.
Dear Lord, I will follow you, the Lamb of God by presenting myself as a living sacrifice at your service. I will not hold back any areas and decisions in my life from your control. Change me and mold me according to your wisdom, passion and power. Use me to raise up a revival in this nation by reaching out to those who are lost, poor and weak. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.