About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesusí First Disciples (ch. 1:35-42)


In verse 35 we see John the Baptist with two of his disciples.  They appear to be John and Andrew.  John had disciples.  Disciples are people who both  follow someone's teaching and puts the teaching into practice in their lives.  John sees Jesus and he says, "Look, the Lamb of God."  It is interesting to note that John doesnít call Jesus by His name.  He calls Him the Lamb of God.  By this John is pointing out why Jesus is in fact on earth, rather than simply calling Him by name.  John the Baptist is thrilled beyond measure seeing the Lamb of God that would take away his sin and the sin of the world.


The fact that John saw Jesus by the Jordan River the day after he baptized Jesus tells us that Jesus was still in the vicinity.  He did not immediately leave on His ministry tours.  As a matter of fact, Jesus would take these two disciples and make them His own disciples. 


In verse 37 we note that as soon as these two disciples heard that Jesus was the Lamb of God they turned immediately and started following Jesus.  That is to say, not following Jesus as a disciple, but literally walking behind Jesus. 


In verse 38 Jesus turns to the two men and asked them what they wanted.  This might be a strange question, especially in the light of the fact that Jesus would soon ask these men to be His disciples.  It's my thinking that Jesus often asks us to express ourselves to Him, not to clue Him in on what we are thinking because He already knows, but, to give us the opportunity to simply speak to Him and tell Him our thoughts.  It's a simple matter of communication between two people.      


Note that the two men called Jesus "rabbi", meaning teacher.  Although the Jewish leadership did not fully recognize Jesus as a true teacher, He was in fact a teacher. 


I suggest that this was too early for these two men to have a clear understanding of who Jesus really was.  Yes, He was a teacher, but He was much more than a teacher.  I believe John the Baptist understood who Jesus really was, but these men didn't have as clear of an understanding as John the Baptist, at least not at this specific moment.   


The two men asked Jesus where He was staying.  It seems to me that they wanted to know where Jesus was staying so they could visit with Him and learn more about Him.  Obviously John the Baptist was pointing out the importance of Jesus to these men so they naturally wanted to learn why Jesus was so important.


Some scholars point out an apparent discrepancy between this passage and Mark's passage in Mark one where Jesus calls the Twelve to follow Him.  The fact of the matter is that these are probably two separate events.  In Mark the setting is the Sea of Galilee and here it is the Jordan River.  In Mark's account I believe we see the actual selecting of the Twelve for ministry.  Here, I believe we simply see Jesus inviting men to follow Him.  This passage most likely precedes what we read about in Mark 1.    

In verse 39 Jesus invites these two men to come with Him.  John notes that this was about the tenth hour, which would be about 4 PM our time.  That being said, depending on whether John was using Jewish or Roman time, would depend on the exact time.  It is either 10 AM Roman time or 4 PM Jewish time.  


In verse 40 John tells us the name of one of these two men who followed Jesus to where He was staying.  His name was Andrew.  Andrew was Simon Peterís brother.


In verse 41 Andrew finds Peter, his brother, and told him that they had discovered the Messiah.  It appears to me that Andrew found Peter after they visited with Jesus where He was staying, although that might be debatable.   


A few verses back the two men called Jesus "teacher."  Now Andrew calls Him Messiah.  This is clearly a progression in the thinking of Andrew to who Jesus really was.  From teacher to Messiah; that's the steps we all need to take concerning Jesus.  Yes, He is our ultimate teacher, but He is more than a teacher.  He is the Messiah in Hebrew, the Christos in Greek, and Christ in English.      


In verse 42 we see the first time that Jesus meets Peter.  Andrew brings him and introduces him to Jesus.  Right away there seems to be a special connection between Peter and Jesus that you will see throughout the gospel account.  Jesus says, "You are Simon son of John."  Did Jesus know Peter's name before he met him, or know of him?  Not likely.  This was probably a word of knowledge.  Jesus just supernaturally knew who Peter was and his name, or so I think.  On the other hand, Jesus could have known Peter's name simply because Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother. 


Jesus then says, "You will be called Cephus."  Both the name Peter and the name Cephus mean "a rock."  Cephus is Aramaic.  This gives us a bit of a clue that Jesus was actually talking in Aramaic; something most scholars believe was the language Jesus spoke.  When you translate Cephus into Greek it is "Petros", "Peter in English, meaning a large rock. 


We should understand that for the next three plus years of Jesus' ministry Peter was not really the rock that Jesus implied here, although, after Pentecost in Acts   2, he certainly became that rock.


It is interesting to note that in Matthew 16 where Jesus ask Peter who people thought He was, Peter responded by saying that he believed Jesus to be the Christ.  Jesus response to Peter was that you are Peter.  Peter there is Petros, a masculine noun a rock.  Then, Jesus continued to say that "upon this rock I will build my church."  Since the word "rock" in Greek is "petros", you might think that's the word translated here in the second half of Jesus' statement, but it isn't.  Jesus told Peter that you are Petros, masculine noun, and upon this petra (not petros) I will build my church.  Petra is feminine.  So, petra can't refer to Peter because Jesus had just called him Petros.  I say this to suggest that Catholic doctrine has it wrong when it says that the church was built upon Peter, the petros.  That's not the case because the church according to Jesus will be build upon " petra ", not "petros". I hold to the view that the church is not built on Peter, but the fact that Jesus is the Christ, which was, Peter's confession.                 


It would appear by this name change that Jesus wanted Peter to use His Aramaic name for the most part, although we still see him being called Peter as well.  Why Jesus wanted this name change is somewhat speculation.  We need to note that as far as we know, Jesus did not change the name of any of the other disciples that He called to be apostles.  Again, why Jesus changed Peter's name is purely speculative.  We do know though that Peter was significant in the early church as the book of Acts makes very clear.  The first Christian message ever spoken was by Peter.  The gospel that he preached in Acts 2 was part of the birth of the church since thousands were saved and added to the church.    

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