Summary: Our hearts long for a genuine encounter with Christ.
Encountering Christ in the Book of John #2
There’s a man in the Bible with whom most of us are very familiar. His name was Simon Peter. Peter was a successful commercial fisherman before he became a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Although there were twelve disciples, Peter was a take charge kind of guy and appears to have been a real leader among the men. He is mentioned first in every listing of the twelve, and along with James and John, was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He was with Jesus when they went up the mountain where Jesus showed Himself to the three in all His glory, His transfiguration before them. As you read the gospels, you see Peter asking Jesus questions; giving the Lord unsolicited advice; boldly leaping into the sea and walking on water; affirming his conviction that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God; expressing willingness to die with Jesus, and on the night before the crucifixion he drew his sword to protect the Lord. While Peter’s eagerness led him to go too far sometimes, his enthusiasm is attractive and compelling.
Peter was more than an enthusiast though. He was respected by the other disciples and was accepted as their leader. After the resurrection he became the spokesman for them all, preaching the first evangelistic sermons we find in the book of Acts. Peter exhibited courage before the Sanhedrin and he confronted the Hebrew Christians who objected to his preaching at the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius. He is the one Paul went to Jerusalem to get acquainted with long before he became the great leader he was.
Sometime later in his life, Peter wrote the two letters we have in our Bibles by his name, and he is mentioned by the name Peter 153 times in the New Testament. When Peter met Jesus, the Lord changed his name to Cephas, which means a stone, a name that is mentioned only 6 times in the Bible. Tradition has it that Peter was martyred, or murdered in Rome under the rule of Nero, some claiming that he was crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy to be crucified like his Lord. Certainly he had his faults and made some real blunders, but all in all Peter was a great man of faith and was one to be admired for the life he gave to the Lord. We ought to respect Peter as a leader whose character we can admire, whose writings we can obey, and whose example we can gladly follow.
I say all of that about Peter this morning to lead up to a question about him that we’ll answer in our text. The question is simply this: Do you know who led Peter to Jesus? Let’s read John 1:35-42 now:
“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”
Now I don’t know about you, but I find the fact that for all we know and admire about the apostle Peter, very little is said in the Scriptures about his brother Andrew, especially considering that Andrew brought him to Jesus. When Peter met Jesus, keep in mind that he had already been saved and baptized. In the first chapter of Acts, two of the requirements listed as being an apostle were that the men had to have John’s baptism and they were men who walked with Jesus throughout His entire ministry. Remember that John the Baptist had come to prepare a people for the Lord, and while that means several things, I believe it means that he had already prepared Andrew and Peter and others to take up their walk with Christ. When Andrew went to Peter and said, “We have found the Messiah,” there is a suggestion there that they had both been awaiting His coming, something they would only have been doing if they were prepared.