Jesus Study 5 – Following Jesus

THIS BLOG SERIES STUDIES THE WORDS AND ACTIONS OF JESUS THROUGHOUT THE FOUR GOSPELS AND APPLIES THEM TO US TODAY. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO START AT THE BEGINNING, GO HERE.
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John 1:43-51 – “One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said,“You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).”

Jesus is initially followed only because of John’s testimony (“Behold, the Lamb of God!”). How often do you think these disciples would think back and thank John that he pointed them to Jesus? Do you remember how you were saved? Just as John the Baptist, we are called to be witnesses of Jesus, and being a witness involves giving testimony about Jesus, meaning I am to tell others what I see. He invites these men to follow Him and watch Him. And He invites me to do the same, and if I find what I am looking for, I can give Him my life and then share His truth with others.

When they spent time with Him, they recognized Him as the Messiah. Jesus proved Himself true. Those who commune with Jesus cannot but desire further communion with Him. It is not enough to visit with Christ now and again – we must lodge with Him, stay with Him, fellowship with Him, give up everything just to be with Him. He invites us into relationship. You cannot be lukewarm about Jesus, because you cannot be lukewarm about heaven and hell, sin and death, life or death, freedom or slavery. These are polarizing issues, and so is the Gospel. Are you lukewarm about Jesus, about your faith, about the Gospel? If so, why? If so, what are you willing to do or give up in order to commune with your Savior? What is holding you back from freedom and fellowship with Christ? 

“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”

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Philip, Andrew and Peter were all from Bethsaida, which, according to Matthew 11:41 is a “wicked” place. This shows us that it doesn’t matter WHERE you are from or what you have done in your past. What matters is where you are going and Who you trust to get you there. If these guys let their past and their history define them, they would never have become disciples of the Messiah. What about you? Are you letting past guilt and shame define you, hold you back, create boundaries for you? If you know and love Jesus, your past is forgiven and guilt is wiped clean. 

Look at Philip – he goes to his friend Nathanael and tells him that they have found the long-awaited Messiah, the King, the Savior. How does Philip know this? Philip was so acquainted with the Scriptures that they prepared his mind to see the truth that Jesus is the Messiah! Philip knew the prophecies about the Messiah, and so when He spent time with Jesus, he saw Him doing what He knew the Messiah would do. This teaches us to KNOW God’s Word so that we can know truth from lies, and also so that we will not miss God’s blessings when they come. 

And just like Philip, we should invite those around us to not just take our word for it, but to come with us to have an experience with the Living God. We don’t just tell people to believe in Jesus, but also to come and encounter Christ through worship, fellowship, prayer, God’s Word and Christian community. Are there people in your life who you want to get saved and know Jesus, but haven’t prayed with and for them, haven’t shared the Gospel with them, haven’t taken them to church or small group? Begin praying about who those people are and how you can minister to them.4-25-11

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him,“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Jesus knew Nathanael to be an honest, modest, genuine man, and He uses His knowledge to call and save Nathanael. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, knows our thoughts, character. Who knows what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree? Not us – only Jesus and Nathanael, but it was so intimate and so powerful that when Jesus mentions it, Nathanael immediately believes that Jesus is the Messiah. It broke through all of Nathanael’s barriers and guards and got to his heart. It is true – Jesus is the great “hound” and hunter of Heaven, and He saves those whom He will.

Jesus promises him that He will see and experience greater miracles than the one he just saw. He will see “heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” This is a prophecy of Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13. “The Son of Man” is a statement only used by Jesus to display His humanity. In essence, Jesus is saying, “You think that was something? Wait until you see the blind given sight, the deaf given hearing, the crippled walking again. Wait until you see God glorified on a mass scale.” 

And that is what we want, too, isn’t it? We desire to see God move in and through us. We desire to see a hurting world given hope and healing through the power of the Gospel. How is this done? Become a disciple of Jesus. Follow Him and watch Him. Learn from Him. Know His Word. And He will fill you up with so much of Himself that you cannot but spill Him onto everyone you encounter. 

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