John 1:35-42

John 1:35-42

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  Once again, John confesses who Christ is. He identified Jesus as the Lamb of God the day before and now declares the same here. In the previous confession, we are not told who the audience was but in v. 35, we learn that the second confession was before two of his disciples. In turn, we learn that the two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. One commentator put it like this:

Not all of John’s disciples followed Jesus (3:25–27; Acts 19:1–7), but these two did. Many people in John’s situation would have been disappointed to see their followers going after someone else, but not John. When asked about it later, he said that a person can only receive what is given from heaven, and reminded his hearers that he had already testified that ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him,’ and explained that seeing people follow Jesus actually completed his own joy (3:28–30).[1]

Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” These are the first two words of Jesus in the Gospel of John: “the Logos-Messiah confronts those who make any show of beginning to follow him and demands that they articulate what they really want in life.”[2] He will have his disciples identify themselves and their purpose. Is this not a question we must ask of church members? Why do they come? What are they seeking? Are they seeking the Lord to be His disciple or are they here for entertainment or for other carnal purposes? (He asks it again in 18:4, 7; 20:15.)

And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 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. This is probably their way of becoming his disciple; they were not merely asking about his residence. Because they were calling him “Teacher” and knew Jesus was the Lamb of God, this pursuit is more than a passing interest. The tenth hour is around 4PM. They probably remained with him late into the night. Jesus did say, Come and you will see.  Our Lord will accept all who would come to him in sincerity and in truth. It is not that He is unwilling for us to follow Him but rather, do we really want to follow Him?

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. One of the disciples appears to be Andrew and is zealous to evangelize his own brother Peter. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). “He thus became the first in a long line of successors who have discovered that the most common and effective Christian testimony is the private witness of friend to friend, brother to brother.”[3] This is a typical experience of all those who have become Christ’s followers. It is both the natural effects of new life and the necessary response of the disciple. Should we not be zealous to make our Lord known? He did not go through evangelism training and yet we witness his evangelistic zeal!

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). Jesus’ response is swift and powerful. Jesus renames Peter. “When Peter is brought to him, Jesus assigns a new name as a declaration of what Peter will become. This is not so much a merely predictive utterance as a declaration of what Jesus will make of him.”[4] Everyone is changed when they meet Christ. Even if our names do not change, our nature does and consequently our lives!

[1] Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary (TNTC 4; IVP/Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 85.

[2] D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (PNTC; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 155.

[3]  Carson, The Gospel According to John, 155.

[4] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 156.

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