Summary: Likens the Church to a team and gives three goals for the coming year.

“The Team”

February 3, 2008

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" "Come," he replied, "and you will see."

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 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 1:35-51 (NIV)

I like this entry in John’s book. It shows the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry and it reveals the end results. In the beginning, He is selecting His board of directors for His ministry. Some might call them the first church board of the First Church of the Nazarene. Some good ol’ Baptist’s came over to help, too. One was Andrew, and like all good Baptist, he was evangelistic. He went and got his brother to join up. But it is interesting to me who Jesus surrounded Himself with. There were those who were already committed – like John and Simon, who they called the Zealot. There were Philip and Nathanael, who Jesus went out of His way and hunted down. Jesus sought Philip out to be on His team – and then Philip went hunting for his friend Nathanael. When he found him he declared that they had found the Messiah – the one Moses wrote about. Apparently Nate was a seeker, as Philip was. Nate’s question revealed that he was familiar with the Scripture. He asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He knew the prophecies well enough to know that the Messiah was to come out of Bethlehem – not Nazareth.

Later Jesus selected Peter, who became such a pillar in the church. He selected Matthew, who was a despised and not respected tax collector. There was Judas, who apparently was still pretty shallow. But Jesus didn’t just say, “eenie mennie, minie, moe”. Jesus prayed about it first. Check this Scripture out.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” Luke 6:12-16 (NIV)

Jesus prayed about who He wanted to be leaders in the Kingdom. These men were very different from each other – as evidenced by their bickering and arguing at first. Some were scholars. Some were religious. Some were fishermen. Some were spiritually mature and some very immature. One was just a kid. I guess he was to represent the youth and see things from a youthful perspective. But they had two things in common. They were devoted to God and they were willing to follow Jesus. Later they formed such a belief in the deity of Jesus, that He was the Messiah, that they all died for Him (with one exception).

These were the twelve who represented many others who followed Jesus. Multitudes followed Jesus everywhere He went. Almost every time He preached, He had thousands of listeners. Most of them came for selfish reasons. They came for what they could get out of it. But they came. The sick; the lame; the helpless; the lost; and all who came to Jesus were healed in some way.

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