Jesus Calls the First Disciples

John 1:35-51

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be calledCephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law,and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

Like the other Gospel writers, John shows us the paradox of service in Jesus’ kingdom. As his first disciples and trusted servants, Jesus chooses unlikely men, mostly fishermen, all of whom will fail him at one time or another. God chooses the weak in order to exalt his name (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26–27). This is good news for all of us who recognize our own weaknesses and sin. Our failings do not disqualify us from Christ’s kingdom. Spiritual heroism is not what qualifies us for heaven. There is only one hero in the gospel story: Jesus himself.

The most important qualification for Jesus’ disciples is to know his name—that is, to be absolutely clear in heart and mind about who he is and what he has done. Thus, the first disciples were given an immersion course in Christology. In the span of 16 verses, Jesus is identified as “the Lamb of God,” “the Messiah,” “the Son of God,” “the King of Israel,” and “Son of Man”—all messianic names that take on a fuller meaning throughout John’s Gospel.

At the heart of all these names is the truth that Jesus has come to save—to be the ladder from heaven to earth of which Jacob dreamed (Gen. 28:12) and to which Jesus alludes in John 1:51. But we do not climb our way up to God; God in Christ came down to us.

*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.