35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 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. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Last week we came to verses 29-34 and found that Jesus is called the Lamb of God and saw John the Baptist’s testimony about the Lamb of God. We noted it last time that the imagery of a sacrificial lamb having it’s blood shed as a sacrifice for sin wouldn’t be as vivid for us without what we know from the Bible, especially the Old Testament. But people in John the Baptist’s day were very familiar with the Jewish sacrificial system, they were very familiar with the idea that daily animal sacrifices were made because God had made it clear throughout Israel’s history, that sin and separation from Him could only be removed by blood sacrifices.
Let’s remember that John the Apostle’s purpose in writing this Gospel is to show us who Jesus is, God in human flesh, so that we’ll believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing… have life in his name (John 20:31). So when John the Baptist makes this wonderful statement we saw in verse 29 telling us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, this is significant.
Jesus is the Lamb of God, he’s the final sacrifice, the complete sacrifice for sin. And remember what we learned about that statement. Jesus being the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world does not mean that everyone will be saved. It means that salvation is available to everyone worldwide; everyone without distinction between race, class or ethnicity. Salvation isn’t only for the Jews; it’s for all who believe in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the once for all sacrifice, says Hebrews 7:27, for all who believe in Jesus’ name.
Now when we come to verses 35-42 we find what happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God. This passage is like an illustration of the progression that faith in Christ takes in your life. What happens in the life of a sinner when they place their faith in Christ? Let’s look.
Verse 35 indicates a new day in the progression of chapter one. Remember the day before this was the day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and said, verse 29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” We’ve seen repeatedly in chapter one that John’s method of ministry has been about pointing people to Christ. He’s been saying that he’s just a messenger, he’s only “a voice crying out in the wilderness.” John’s testimony has consistently been that Jesus is the Christ, He’s the Messiah, He’s the Savior and He’s the one you should follow.
The day before this day beginning in verse 35, when John saw Jesus coming he effectively said, “look, there’s Jesus, there’s the Lamb of God, you follow Him, you believe in Him because He’s the one who will take away your sin if you believe in Him.”
Now it’s the next day and here he is again when he sees Jesus walking by.
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
Do you see in verse 35 that it says that John the Baptist is with two of his disciples? That just means that these were individuals who had aligned themselves with John as their teacher. They weren’t following John so much as they were following his teaching. That becomes obvious when we see this in verse 37.
37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
What happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God, that Jesus is the one who takes away sin? You send others to follow Christ.
John the Baptist wasn’t about making followers of himself, he was about making followers of Christ. That’s why again, when he sees Jesus passing by, he points people to the Lamb of God. He’s about sending people to follow Christ.
The same is the responsibility of all Christians and churches and preachers today. We’re not to be about making followers of ourselves or this church or any one particular man. We’re to be about making followers of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Why? Because we can’t take away anyone’s sin, but He does.
You want to know how God grows His church? It’s when God’s people love Christ so much they can’t help but send others to follow Him.
I trust that’s why you’re here today. If you are a follower of Christ, I trust you want to know Him more and love Him more and become more and more faithful to Him through obedience to His Word. People will be saved and God will grow His church when God’s people are growing in their love for the Lord Jesus Christ because of His grace and His mercy through His shed blood for their sins as the Lamb of God. That’s why God has given you His Word; so that you will know Christ and love Him more and more. And when you do, you too will send others to follow Christ.
I have no doubt that we could guilt trip you into telling more people about Jesus. We could arrange programs and days and times for you to go out and knock on doors to spread news about Jesus and there’s certainly nothing wrong with going out to spread the news of Christ. But when you know that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away your sin and you love Him you won’t need anyone to guilt trip you into telling others about Christ you will do so from the overflow of your love for Christ. You will send others after Christ because that’s what people do who love Christ.
John’s teaching wasn’t about John, it was about Jesus. In fact John begins to fade into the background in this passage and we don’t see much of him again but for a brief glimpse in chapter 3. John was all about pointing people to Christ and sending them to follow Christ. That’s why verse 37 says that when two who had been following John’s teaching heard him say, Behold, the Lamb of God! they followed Jesus. The rest of the Gospel is now going to be about the ministry of Jesus.
Verse 37 shows us the natural, spontaneous reaction of one who has heard the truth and believes that Jesus is the Lamb of God; you follow Christ. Notice that John didn’t send them in so many words after Jesus and Jesus didn’t call them to follow Him. John says nothing here about following Christ but that’s what his ministry was all about. So from John’s perspective what happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away your sin? You send people to Christ.
Note also what happens from another perspective. What happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away your sin, from the perspective of the two disciples? You follow Christ.
Verse 37 says that the two disciples followed Jesus and this indicates more than merely following away. Yes their following Christ away from the scene but they are also committing themselves to follow Him. That becomes more clear when we see Jesus’ question in verse 38. Here are the first words of Christ in John’s Gospel.
38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?”…
Jesus knows he’s being followed and turns and inquires, saying what are you seeking? Or “What do you want?” And really this question of Christ’s goes deeper than a simple, courteous, “can I help you”. Jesus knows their hearts, He’s asking about their commitment. He knows they’re not simply interested in following Him around. It’s not as if He’s asking what they want this moment, He’s challenging their motives for wanting to follow Him. And this is Jesus’ question for all mankind today. What is it you really want? Look at their answer in verse 38.
38 …And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
Jesus having turned and asked them a question it may have been they were a little surprised or embarrassed so their question is where are you staying? Now, their interest in Jesus wasn’t really about where He is staying. So their question was more or less like a polite way of saying, “can we go where you’re going because we’d really like to have an extended conversation with you?” This isn’t some simple inquiry. They’re committing themselves to Him. Jesus knows this; he knows their hearts; He knows their interest in Him is genuine. So he says to them…
39 …“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.
Come and you will see isn’t simply, come look where I’m staying. Jesus is welcoming them to come along. This was really what they were hoping to hear. And it’s late in the day, the tenth hour, meaning it’s about 4 in the afternoon. So it’s likely they went with Jesus and spent the rest of the day together and these two likely stayed the night where Jesus was staying.
Could you imagine having the evening to sit and talk to Jesus and ask him all your questions and learning from Him. That’s what these two had wanted — a long evening to talk with Jesus.
This is what happens when you believe in Jesus, the Lamb of God. You follow Him and you long to know Him more. These two took the first steps in following Christ. It was late in the day but they gave no concern for where they would stay. They just wanted to know more about Christ.
If they truly wanted to know Christ it’s because the Father had drawn them. Jesus says in John 6:44, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… Jesus never turns away a true seeker. God says in Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jesus never turns away one who truly wants to know Him.
Now look at what happens next — and this likely is the next day.
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
Now we know that one of the two who left John’s side to follow Jesus is Andrew. Now it doesn’t say it here, but many think the evidence points to the other disciple being John the Apostle, the author of this Gospel. And that’s likely the case since so much of the Gospel of John is from an eyewitness account. The fact that John’s Gospel at times mentions the time of day is just one indicator that he was very likely a close-up eyewitness.
Now do you see what Andrew does the next day after they followed Jesus to where He was staying? It says He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
Here’s what happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away your sin. Here’s what will happen when you are overwhelmed by the love of God in Jesus Christ. You will bring people to Christ. You won’t be satisfied to only send them to Christ but you will bring them to Him, explaining the way of Salvation and forgiveness of sin. Look at it in verse 42 after Andrew tells his brother Simon, We have found the Messiah. It says, He brought him to Jesus…
Andrew wasn’t content to simply tell Simon about Christ he had to show him and take him to Christ. And I think this is significant here because it points to what’s likely the most effective method of evangelism; Andrew took his brother.
Here’s the most effective witnessing method there is: sister to sister, brother to brother, parent to child, child to parent, husband to wife, wife to husband, friend to friend. That’s the first thing Andrew did when he found Christ — he took his brother Simon.
42 …Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John?…
Jesus gives Simon this searching, knowing, look and says So you are Simon the son of John — John was a common name, we don’t know much about Simon’s father but look at what Jesus says next.
42 …You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
This is remarkable because Jesus looked at Simon and saw what he would be. Jesus gives Simon a new name, Cephas, (the Apostle John translates and tells us it means Peter), it means rock.
Usually when someone gets a new name it’s for something they’ve already done or for something they are right now. But not Simon.
Jesus looked at Simon and saw what He would make of him. Here’s a clear pointer to the deity of Christ. This was not about an instant character change for Simon. Jesus says, You shall be called Peter. You’re not Peter now, but you will be called Peter. This was what Jesus knew Simon would become as He believed in Christ and yielded to God’s work in Him. This was what God by His grace would give to Simon. God would change him and make him a new man. He would become a rock.
And this too is what happens when you believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God. God changes you. He makes you a new man, a new woman, a new child, because he gives you a new life. And the point here is not what you become for your glory it’s what God makes you for His glory.
If you know your New Testament you know that Simon Peter was not a rock. You know that he was at times timid and vacillating. He was impetuous, often the first one in and the first one out. We would have called him a big talker.
But Jesus got ahold of Simon Peter’s life and in time changed his character to go along with his new name. Peter became one who was an instrumental leader in the early days of the church.
This is what happens when you believe in Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. You follow Christ and when you do God changes you and He does so for His glory. And as a result you will make Him known and you will not only send people to follow Christ but you bring people to follow Christ.
Look to the Lamb of God and believe. Look to the Lamb of God and have your sins taken away. Look to the Lamb of God and live.