- John records how two disciples of John the Baptist became Jesus’ first disciples. (1:35-42) The two heard John declare that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and decided to follow Jesus to see where He lives. Jesus replied, “Come and see.” They went with Him to where He was staying and remained with Him the rest of the day. There is no mention why they wanted to know where Jesus was staying. But what followed that going and staying with Jesus is significant. There were two of them together but only one is mentioned by name, Andrew, the brother of Peter. Andrew went on and told Peter they have found the Messiah (Christ)! (the Bible did not record what happened to the other disciple of John the Baptist. Did he continue to follow Jesus? He is not among the twelve chosen to be apostles by Jesus later. Andrew and Peter became apostles. The unnamed disciple seemed to have missed it.
- In a second scenario Jesus took the initiative to go to Galilee to look for disciples. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” And Philip became Jesus’ disciple. After that Philip went and looked for Nathanael and told him that they have found the person Moses and the prophets wrote about, namely Jesus! Both Philip and Nathanael became apostles. (1:43-49)
Let’s look at the similarities of the two apostles (Andrew and Philip):
- Both Andrew and Philip are well prepared, full of expectancy and are convinced that Jesus is the Messiah.
- They bring people to Jesus. (Andrew: John 1:41-42, 6:8-9, 12:20-26)
- They both say, “we have found the Messiah.”
- It means that they have been searching, enquiring and looking out for the arrival of the Messiah. When Jesus appears, they recall what they have learned about the Messiah, and are fully convinced and respond to His calling immediately.
- They show their faith in action by going to tell someone what they have found and believed. They became eager witnesses for Him naturally.
In summary, they first learned about what Moses and the prophets wrote about the Messiah, and expected Him to really come. When Jesus came and they heard about Him, they believed and responded when He called them. They declared to their close relative and friend, “We have found the Messiah—Jesus is the One!”
The Holy Spirit through John has given great significance to the calling of Andrew and Philip who in turn became the first two evangelists among the disciples. It is also significant to note that both Peter and Nathanael were at first reluctant to follow Jesus! They had to be persuaded. On the other hand, Andrew and Philip were already ready when Jesus showed up!
Knowing and searching come before encountering and calling. When the calling comes they already know.