Summary: In the third sermon of the John series, Jesus performs his first miracle, connects with his first apostles, and has his first confrontation with the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
John’s Gospel #3 Jesus’ Firsts
CHCC: January 20, 2008
Today we’re going to look at Jesus’ Firsts in the Gospel of John. In chapters 1 and 2 John tells about Jesus’ 1st Apostles, his 1st Miracle, and his 1st Confrontation with the Religious Leaders. MY 1st thought was that this was too much to put in one sermon … at least if we’re still going to “beat the Baptists” to lunch. But then I got to thinking that these 3 Firsts of Jesus represent the First things Jesus does in OUR lives when we follow Him. So I’m hoping you’ll read John 1 and 2 for the details … and for the next few minutes, we’re going to do a “fly-by” over these 3 Firsts.
Let me start with a question: Who is the FIRST person that told you about Jesus? In my case it was my parents. For some of you it may have been a friend or neighbor or Sunday School teacher. But for ALL of us, there was SOMEONE who introduced us to Jesus Christ. That is God’s plan for how the Good News can be spread. It’s plan A. There is no plan B.
Jesus’ first followers were introduced to Jesus through the testimony of John the Baptist. When John and Andrew asked Jesus where he was staying, Jesus said, Come and see. As soon as he could, Andrew ran to get his brother Simon.
The next day, Jesus invited Philip to join them and he immediately went to get Nathaniel. Nathaniel was skeptical. He said, “The Messiah is from Nazareth? Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip gave him the simple answer Jesus gave: Come and see.
That is how the first 5 Apostles started a journey that would transform their lives and … in fact … that would eventually transform the whole world. In John 1, we see that at the very beginning of this journey, they found out that God had a PERSONAL PURPOSE for each of their lives.
1. Personal Purpose John 1:35-51
You might expect the first thing Jesus would do with these first Apostles is tell them all about himself and what his ministry was going to be like. We’d probably expect a clever mission statement along with some specific short-term and long-term goals. But that’s not what Jesus did. When he met Andrew’s brother, here’s the first thing Jesus said: People call you Simon, but as my follower, people will call you Rocky. (Peter means “the Rock”) John 1:42
The same kind of thing happened when Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus. Jesus told Nathaniel: As my follower, you’re going to see amazing things. In fact, you will actually see the heavens open and Angels surrounding me. John 1:51
What stands out to me is that the first thing Jesus gave these men wasn’t a bunch of details about who HE was. The first thing Jesus gave them was a fuller understanding about who THEY were.
The same thing happens to you and me. When you begin to follow Jesus you don’t immediately understand everything about Him. But from the very beginning, you realize that Jesus already knows who YOU are. In fact, it’s ONLY when you receive Christ that you begin to understand who you really are. It’s ONLY when you follow Jesus that you receive your life’s true purpose.
The fact is, until we know God, we don’t really know ourselves. Without God, life often feels arbitrary and meaningless. We might be successful for a while at achieving some temporary goals. But achieving a goal just reveals how inadequate that success really is. We might be able to entertain ourselves enough that we don’t think about it. But without a relationship to our Father in Heaven, what meaning can there be to the short span of human life?
As a follower of Jesus, we find out that WE matter to God. Just to understand that God takes a personal interest in ME … is a life-changing revelation. It’s enough to give me new confidence and motivation. We start to see that our attitudes and actions can make an eternal difference.
Jesus changed Simon Peter from a loud-mouthed fisherman to a powerful preacher of the Gospel. Jesus gave the skeptical Nathaniel the kind of faith that could open the heavens. And Jesus can give YOU new abilities, new potential, and purpose for your life.
2. Personal Miracles John 2:1-11
The next event in John’s Gospel is often called, “Jesus’ first public miracle.” But this was actually a very personal miracle. About 3 days after John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel started following Jesus, they were invited to a Wedding. Now, weddings in the Jewish tradition could last as long as seven days. The host was expected to provide enough food and drink for that entire time. Evidently the turnout was big for this wedding, because Jesus’ mother came to him and told him, “They’ve run out of wine!”