Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: It pays to remind ourselves that Jesus knows us better than anyone.

Changed by a Christ who knows

John 1:40-51

Different people follow Jesus for different reasons. Sometimes they find Him and sometimes He finds them. Andrew and John spent a day with Him and became convinced of His importance. It seems that they followed Jesus because they got to know Him. Others followed Jesus not because they knew Him but because of what He knew about them. Let’s follow a few disciples’ introductions.

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

Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).

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

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 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."

"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.

"Come and see," said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.

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

Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." John 1:40-51 (NIV)

Jesus knows your potential and your future: Simon, brought by Andrew

The relationship between Jesus and Simon had several beginnings. That means that Simon took some time to decide to what degree he was going to allow this relationship to dominate his life. It did not happen all at once. I clearly remember a man telling me, "I want church to be a part of my life, I just don’t want it to be my whole life." Simon was still deciding.

At this first meeting, there are two dynamics at work that are extremely important.

Andrew brought Simon

Andrew was Simon’s brother and he was spreading his newfound faith in his most immediate circle. How many Christians must admit that they knew about Jesus, not just in the framework of their belief and salvation, but in the framework of their family.

I have to say that if it was not for my father’s salvation, I’m not sure when I would have been saved. I actually attended church before he did. My mother followed and soon became a believer, but it was only after my dad’s salvation and his attendance at church that I accepted Christ.

Oddly enough, he would say some similar things. He had been an unbeliever, indulging in sin and doing things that now give him shame. But it was his father’s witness on his death bed that made a huge difference. Also, Dad testifies that as a child his mother took him to a Nazarene church. He would say clearly that Roman Alvarez led him to Christ, but he would not discount the influence of his family.

More personally, Jesus demonstrated a knowledge and purpose for Simon’s future

Again, Simon did not follow Jesus immediately. Jesus did not ask him to. We hear of other calls on Simon at other times. He needed time to process what he heard and I believe Jesus honored that need.

What Jesus did do was to speak to Simon’s future and his identity, something Simon had probably not done.

Simon was named after a national hero. Some of you are too, at least indirectly. Thomas, Daniel, Christopher, James, Martha. Admittedly, these names have family and biblical significance too, but they are identified with people of prominence in our nation’s history and a child is likely to be given these names for that reason too. In Israel’s history, Simon was a freedom fighter from a few centuries earlier when Judah had been occupied by Greeks who had desecrated the Temple. I don’t think that means that Simon’s dad wanted him to be a soldier, it just means that they may have had strong national pride.

But Jesus prophesied over Simon. He told him that his name was going to change. People do not change their names for no reason.

• I have a cousin named Kitty who as soon as she was old enough had her name legally changed because she was tired of the jokes

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