Tag Archives: follower

the first thing he did

Andrew spent a day with Jesus.

He had been a follower of John (the baptizing one). He was looking for something spiritual. He was looking for someone that would be the one, the answer, the Messiah.

And after spending a day with Jesus, Andrew went looking for his brother and said, simply, “We have found the Messiah.”

His brother would have known about Andrew’s quest, about how he followed John, about what Andrew had been looking for. His brother would have known Andrew’s personality, how quick or slow he was to trust. Simon knew how to understand Andrew’s statement.

There are times that we say to people that we don’t know, “We have found the Messiah” and we can’t figure out why they aren’t as excited as we are.

It may be because they aren’t us, they don’t know us, they have no clue about the quest we have been on. They don’t know how much we have struggled over this. They don’t have any reason to be concerned about what is happening in our lives.

Andrew tells his brother Simon about his discovery and then takes Simon to Jesus. He doesn’t drag him. He doesn’t coerce him. He doesn’t trick him.

It may be reading into the text, but Simon likely goes with Andrew to see Jesus on the strength of Andrew and Simon’s relationship as brothers (at least) and perhaps because they shared the same quest.

When followers of Jesus invite other people to be followers of Jesus, we have to be aware of their story. And we have to let them be aware of ours.

To simply assume that they should understand the significance of Jesus without any relational context at all misses a simple truth: Simon, also known as Peter, started following Jesus through a relationship.

beginning to follow

Three men sat talking. Another man walked by.

“That’s the one I was talking about,” says one of the three. The other two start walking after the passing man.

He turns. “What do you want?” he asks.

Their first word, “rabbi”, says everything.

A rabbi was a teacher. Rather than sitting in a classroom with students showing up three hours a week, a rabbi lived and taught wherever. The students, the followers, the disciples, would follow all the time. They would watch what he said and how he said it. They would leave home so they could be near him all the time.

Imagine an internship with your most-admired business leader. Imagine being a personal assistant to your favorite rockstar, going on tour.

“I could never do that” we think. We have our lives to live and commitments to keep. As much as we would love to spend that much time learning to understand how our hero thinks, we just couldn’t.

But what if you could spend a week with David Allen, the guy who knows all about “Getting Things Done.” Yes, you can read his books, but what if you could watch him? What if you could point out what seems unrealistic, ask how he handles certain situations. Wouldn’t that be worth a week?

“Rabbi, where are you staying?” means that these two men want to spend some time with this teacher, finding out whether they want to follow Jesus.

Jesus offers a simple answer: “Come and you will see.” There is in this invitation an implied “I would like you to,” but there isn’t an obligation or pressure or threats.

There is merely an offer of relationship.

These two men had already committed their lives to learning from a master teacher.  Now they found the one to follow.

there He is

John – the one we know as “the Baptist” – had followers.

We don’t think about that, considering that he was a plain-speaking, rough-dressed, wilderness-living kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy that is interesting to visit, but “you wouldn’t want to live there.”

I think we don’t really understand John or his time.

His character attracted attention. His message, that the Kingdom was near, attracted hearts. People were not happy with their lives, not happy with trying to measure up to religious rules. He offered hope, wrapped in a lack of pretense.

Of course he had followers.

One day Jesus walks by. John has two disciples with him, learning, watching, listening. John points at Jesus and says, “there is the Lamb of God.”

The two disciples walk away from John and toward Jesus.

It feels peculiar. It seems like they should have been more loyal, that they should have stuck around.

But John’s whole message is “I’m here to point out the Light, the Lamb, the One.” When these two followers left, they were giving John the opportunity to live what he said he believed.

We worry about followers. We want people to listen to us, to pay attention to us. We want to be noticed, to matter. It’s a human thing.

But Jesus invites us to point people toward him.

It’s a funny thing, fame is, especially for people talking about Jesus. We (and I am one of those people) want to be clear, to be fresh. We want to help people understand Jesus. But then, when we are noticed, we can think that the attention is about us. If we work hard to attract more attention, it is about us.

John offers another way. Don’t worry about getting attention, just point toward the Lamb. That’s why we’re here.