Summary: This is about Jesus’ call to His first disciples - Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael. It’s about Jesus calling us to come and see what He sees.
John 1:35-51 – Come and See
Let’s read our passage tonight.
I’ve been told about a grand convention of lawyers, held in a huge stadium. The host of the show in the stadium says "We are all here today to prove to the world that lawyers are not stupid. Can I have a volunteer?" One lawyer steps up. The host says to him "What is 15 plus 15?" After 15 or 20 seconds he says "Eighteen."
Obviously everyone is a little disappointed. Then 80,000 lawyers start cheering "Give him another chance, give him another chance." The host says "Well since we’ve gone to the trouble of getting 80,000 of you here and the world wide press, I guess we can give him another chance."
So he says, "What is 5 plus 5?" After nearly 30 seconds he eventually says "Ninety?" The host sighs - everyone is crestfallen and the lawyers starts crying and 80,000 accountants start yelling, "Give him another chance, give him another chance."
The host, unsure whether or not he is doing more harm than damage, eventually says "OK! One more chance. What is 2 plus 2?"
The lawyer closes his eyes and after a whole minute eventually says "Four."
Around the stadium 80,000 lawyers start yelling, "Give him another chance, give him another chance."
Tonight we are looking at Jesus’ first disciples – Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. We’re going to look at what He said to them, and hopefully that will give us a glimpse into what He may say to us. They were a pretty rag-tag bunch, but Jesus obviously saw something in them worth working on. Like the lawyers, Jesus kept fighting for them to have another chance.
Right there in v39, Jesus said, “Come, and you will see.” They asked the question, ‘Where are you going?” They were following Jesus, and Jesus asked them what they wanted. What they said was, “Where are you going?” What they were really asking was, “Where are you taking us? Where are you leading us? If we follow you, where are we going to end up?” And Jesus simply said, “Come and you will see.”
He wasn’t really answering their question in the way they wanted. He wasn’t really giving them directions. He wasn’t telling them everything they would do and everywhere they would go. He just said, “Just follow me, and you will find out.”
You see, Jesus knew what they did not. He knew where He was going. He knew what he would be doing for the next 3 years. And He knew how they would. He knew exactly what was going on. He could see what they could not yet see, and He invited them along to see it too.
The disciples’ whole journey was one eye-opening after another. Jesus continually amazed them at what He knew, what He did, and what He said. The disciples would eventually see what He was doing and where He was going. All they had to do was follow Him.
Now, Andrew was one of those 1st followers. The 1st thing Andrew did was run and tell his brother, a guy you have heard of, Simon Peter, about this Jesus fellow. And these were Jesus’ words to Peter: "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas.” Cephas is the Aramaic word for Rock. Peter is the Greek word for Rock. Now, there is some debate as to what the name Simon means. I have heard it means Reed. I cannot verify that.
Now, what is significant is that Simon was a common name, whereas Cephas was not a name at all. It was more of a title, a description, than an actual name. Jesus was saying, perhaps, you are destined to become more than you are now. I see what you are, I see who you are, but I see what you will be. I see the person you will be as you follow me. And perhaps, Jesus was saying, Come and follow me, and you will see it too.
Jesus saw the potential in Simon that perhaps Simon himself did not see. Jesus was speaking prophetically about the man Simon would someday be. And I’ll tell you, Jesus knows who you will be, too. Jesus knows what is inside you. Jesus knows who you can be, and who you will be. Jesus sees more potential in you than you see in yourself.
A.W. Tozer, a wonderful devotional writer said this: “The widest thing in the universe is not space; it is the potential capacity of the human heart. Being made in the image of God, it is capable of almost unlimited extension in all directions. And one of the world’s greatest tragedies is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little besides ourselves.”