Lesson 8

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:35 Again, on the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples, 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 1:38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What are you looking for?"

They said to him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), "where are you staying?"

1:39 He said to them, "Come, and see."

They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. 1:40 One of the two who heard John, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 1:41 He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah!" (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is by interpretation, Peter).

 Today's Lesson

The story following the baptism of Jesus continues. Again, John gives us information and perspective unique among the gospels. John the Baptist has declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God and the Son of God. The next day he repeats this claim and sends two disciples to follow Him. Here is the only indication that disciples of John came and followed Jesus during His lifetime.


One of the two that follow Jesus is Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. Only in the Gospel of John do we read that he was first a disciple of John the Baptist. In the earlier gospels, he is presented first as a fisherman who is called into service by Jesus along with his brother, Peter. The two versions are easily reconcilable. The version in John is likely the earlier and represents the first meeting of Andrew and Peter with Jesus. The incident on the shores of the Sea of Galilee represents a later call when Andrew and Peter drop everything and follow Jesus.


Andrew brings his brother to see the one that John the Baptist has called the Son of God. He tells his brother, "'We have found the Messiah!'" When Peter comes to see Jesus, Jesus does something very interesting. He looks at Simon and then gives him a new name. "'You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas'" Peter is a Greek name and Cephas is an Aramaic name. Aramaic was the Semitic language that was the everyday language of the Jews during the time of Jesus. Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic. In the Helenized area around the Sea of Galilee, Simon Peter would have been known by his Greek name. His Greek name of Peter and the Aramaic name of Cephas both have the same meaning, "rock." In effect, Jesus was giving him a new name that meant the same as his old name.


But, Peter was far from being a rock during Jesus' lifetime. Peter is portrayed as being an emotional man who swore and made rash statements and promises. He was a divisive element among the twelve apostles. He wanted to be a leader and yet he acted in such a manner that no one would follow him.


But, Jesus could see through what Peter was now and could see what Peter would become. Peter would be the steady rock that would see the early church through its formative years. Peter would be the spokesman for the twelve after Jesus' death. Peter would deliver the Pentecost message and would open the door initially to Gentile converts. Moreover, Peter would be the bridge between the Jewish church that would eventually be led by James, the brother of Jesus, and the Gentile churches that would be founded by Paul.


In this passage we are introduced to Jesus' first three followers: Andrew, his brother Peter, and the other disciple of the Baptist that follows Jesus with Andrew. Tradition has tended to follow that this disciple was none other that John the brother of James that would eventually write this Gospel.


Here we see Jesus beginning His ministry. Here the Lamb of God begins to gather His flock. He is the Lamb, the Messiah, the Christ, the Rabbi, and the Teacher. Here He gives His followers new names and new lives. He turns to them and says, "Come, and see." Here the Word of God speaks.


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