John 1:35-42 THE FIRST DISCIPLES OF JESUS
Have you ever wondered who the first members of the church
which Jesus organized during His personal ministry? This text
gives the record of the first disciples of Jesus and, therefore,
tells us who the first members were.
I. The influence of John the Baptist upon the first disciples of
John the Baptist is the man who influenced these men to
follow Jesus. You will recall that John the Baptist had told the
delegation from the Sanhedrin that his mission was to prepare the
way for the ministry of the Christ. That delegation had thought
that John just might claim to be the Christ, but John was quick
to inform them that he is not the Christ. They asked if he is
Elijah come back to life again and John told them, "No." They
asked if he is one of the other Old Testament prophets come back
to life and again John said, "No."
So the delegation asked, "Who art thou then, if you are not
the Christ nor Elijah nor one of the other Old Testament
prophets?" John said, "I am the voice of one crying in the
wilderness, Make strait the way of the Lord." John the Baptist
was a voice, a herald, sent ahead to urge the people to get ready
for the coming Christ.
John did that very thing. John announced that the Christ
would soon come on the scene and appear among the people. John
preached that the people were to repent of their sin and get
ready for the coming Christ. They were to put their faith in the
coming Christ. Those who showed evidence that they had repented
and trusted in the coming Christ were baptized by John in the
Many people were saved under the preaching of John the
Baptist and were baptized by him. These would be ready for the
Christ to come and were potential candidates for membership in
the church which the Lord would organize. Not all who were saved
and baptized under John's ministry would hold membership in the
church, but some would. According to Acts chapter one, all
twelve of the men who would be apostles had been baptized by John
The men involved in our text were such men. They had already
made claims of repentance. They had already made professions of
faith in the coming Christ. They had already been baptized by
John the Baptist. They were ready to be used by the Lord in
establishing His church.
On the day prior to our text John had pointed Jesus out to a
crowd of onlookers and identified Him as the Christ. He declared
that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the
world. He bare record to them that Jesus is the very Son of God.
II. The influence of John the Baptist on two of his own
V. 35, "Again the next day after John stood, and two of his
disciples..." Apparently John is not in a crowd at this time.
He and two of his disciples were all alone.
Note that the two men with him were not said to be disciples
of Jesus. Rather, they were disciples of John the Baptist. They
had professed to repent of their sins under John's ministry.
They had professed to John that they believed in the Christ which
he preached. They had already been baptized by John. They had
returned frequently to hear John preach. They had been under his
teaching. They were John's disciples.
There is a possibility that these two men had been present on
the previous day when John identified Jesus as the Christ. Even
if they were not been present at that time, they had surely heard
by now about the announcement that John had made. In all
likelihood, that is just exactly what John was talking to them at
this very time. They, perhaps, needed and wanted some kind of
personal reassurance from John that Jesus
the Christ. John they knew, but Jesus they did not know. They
had trusted in the Christ, but they had not heard until now that
Jesus is the Christ. They wanted to be sure they understood John
correctly and that Jesus of
As they talked with John, they looked up and saw Jesus
walking toward them. Once again John identified Jesus as the
Christ. V. 36, "...And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he
saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"
This was just what these two disciples of John needed. They
needed this additional word from John addressed personally to
them assuring them that this man, this man
the very Christ of God, the Son of God dwelling in human flesh.
III. The experience which John's disciples had with Jesus on
V. 37, "And the two disciples heard him speak, and they
followed Jesus." Immediately the two disciples turned away from
John and started following after Jesus. We should not think that
they were breaking away from John in any way. They were not
angry at him. They were not let down in him. They were not
expressing displeasure in John the Baptist in any way. It is
just that they were accepting what he said about Jesus that Jesus
is the Christ and they were turning now to follow Jesus. They
would now listen to what Jesus has to say as earlier they had
listened to John. They wanted to find out all they could about
Jesus the Christ.
Neither was John angry at them for following Jesus. John was
not jealous of Jesus in any way because of the attention they
were showing to Jesus. This was the purpose of John's ministry.
This was what his ministry was all about. He had come to
persuade men to believe in the Christ and to follow Christ.
Since Jesus is the Christ, then he had come to persuade men to
V. 38, "Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith
unto them, What seek ye?..." I strongly suspect that those two
disciples were caught by surprise when Jesus suddenly whirled
around and asked, "What seek ye?" It was as if to say, "What do
you want? Why are you following me?"
(V. 38), "...They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say,
being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?" Now they knew
that He was from
they were not asking about His home or permanent dwelling.
Rather they were asking, "Where are you staying? We just want to
see where you are staying."
In am sure that Jesus knew that there was more to it than
just idle curiosity. He knew that they had this special interest
in Him because they were convinced that John was telling them the
truth. They were convinced that He is the Christ and they wanted
to learn as much about Him as they could. They wanted to learn
from Him whatever He might teach them about God and God's will.
V. 39, "He saith unto them, Come and see..." Jesus welcomed the
opportunity to have these men become His disciples. It was a
part of His mission here on earth to gain a following of saved
people and to organize a New Testament church. So He invited
them to come to the place where He was staying to spend some time
with Him and get acquainted with Him.
Never-the-less, the simple words which the Lord uses here can
be beneficial to us today in dealing with people who might be
interested in knowing more about Jesus. We can bid them, "Come
and see! Come and hear! Come and learn! Come and investigate
for yourselves and get personally acquainted with Jesus Christ of
Son of God! Come and see!"
(V. 39), "...They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with
him that day: for it was about the tenth hour." So the two
disciples of John the Baptist follow Jesus to the place where He
was staying there in Betharbara. The Scripture does not tell us
who it was that opened up their home to Him, but somebody had.
The two disciples of John were welcomed in and they spent the day
visiting with Jesus in that home.
V. 40, "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed
him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother." For the first time, our
writer gives us the name of one of those two men. One of them
was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Simon Peter is the
better known of the two brothers. There were other men by the
name of Andrew, but this particular Andrew was the brother of
IV. Simon Peter brought to Jesus
V. 41, "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith
unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted,
the Christ." Simon Peter was another disciple of John the
Baptist. According to his own statement in Acts chapter one he
had been baptized under the ministry of John the Baptist. No
doubt he was in Betharbara right now for the purpose of hearing
John preach. However, he had not been present when John
identified Jesus as the Christ.
But now Andrew come to Simon Peter all excited. I can only
imagine how excited Andrew must have been. "We have found Him!
We have found Him! We have found Him!" I can imagine Simon
Peter looking at Andrew and asking, "You have found who?" Andrew
says, "We have found the Messiah, the Christ!"
Andrew must have also borrowed an expression from Jesus right
here. Remember that when the disciples asked Jesus, "Where
dwellest thou?" Jesus answered, "Come and see." Now Andrew says
to his brother, Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah, the
Christ. He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Come and see! Come and
see!" V. 42, "And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld
him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be
called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."
V. The great honor and privilege of being the first disciples
There a lot of things of interest right here that I am not
going to take the time to get into. What I want you to see is
that from this time forward these men were followers of Jesus.
Both Andrew and Peter became followers of Jesus. The unnamed
disciple who had been with Andrew and heard John the Baptist call
Jesus the Lamb of God made a total of three disciples of Jesus
at this point of time.
These were the first disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They were the first members of the New Testament church which
Jesus established. There was Andrew and his brother, Simon
Peter. Then there was an unnamed disciple who had been with
Andrew talking with John the Baptist.
It is commonly believed that John, the writer of this book,
is that unnamed disciple. That may or may not be so, but I
strongly suspect that is that other unnamed man. Peter and
Andrew were brothers. James and John were brothers. All four
men were later called from their fishing industry to become
fishers of men.
What a privilege it was to be the first disciples of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ! What a privilege it was to be the
first members of our Lord's church! What a privilege to sit at
the feet of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and be taught by Him!
It was both a privilege and an honor to be the very first
disciples of the Lord!
VI. The privilege that we have today
It is, of course, much too late for us to have that privilege
and honor. It is too late for us to be counted in the number of
first disciples of Jesus. It is too late for us to be counted in
the number of charter members of the Lord's church which He
established in His personal ministry. It is too late for us to
have the privilege and honor of sitting at the feet of Jesus and
listening to Him preach and teach. It is too late for us to have
the privilege and honor of being among the very first workers in
the cause of Christ in this world.
But it is not too late for us to be saved! It is not too
late for us to stay out of hell-fire! It is not too late for us
to repent of our sins and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ and
place our faith in Him for the salvation of the soul! If there
is any man, woman, boy or girl here this morning who is lost and
headed for the fires of hell, it is not too late for you to be
saved. What a privilege it is to be saved! What an honor it is
to have the Lord God of heaven to love you so much that He is
willing to cleanse you from every sin and save your soul!
Neither is it too late to be a member of one of the Lord's
New Testament churches. After you are saved, you will have an
opportunity to follow Jesus in baptism and become a member of one
of His New Testament churches. Let me say to you, "What a
privilege this is! What a privilege to be a member of one of the
Lord's churches! What an honor to hold membership in a church
that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ! What a privilege and
honor it is to be counted among the present day workers for the
Lord Jesus Christ! I personally count it a privilege and an
honor to be a member of the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist
Church which has been carrying on work for the Lord in this
community for 150 years.
I thank God for those first disciples who followed Jesus and
served Him back in the early days of Christianity. I thank God
also for the first members of the Pleasant Hill Missionary
Baptist Church of Jesus Christ. But I also thank God for the
present members who are saved by God's grace and who are still
carrying on the work of the Lord. I count it a privilege and an
honor to be counted in the group.
If you have never been saved and you want to be saved, I am
going to call on you to come during this invitation hymn and
place your faith in Jesus Christ to save your soul. I want to
assure you that just as surely as you trust Jesus to be your
Savior, just that surely Jesus will save you. If you will trust
Him to do so, Jesus will save you and keep you out of hell and
make sure that you make it to heaven. Will you trust Him to be
your Savior? Will you trust Him now?
If you are already saved, will you come forward in this
invitation and place your membership in this church for the
purpose of serving the Lord?