Following Jesus • 35 / Followers are contagious

Read This: John 1:35-51

When something matters to me — a book I’m reading or a meaningful experience — I usually tell a friend about it. That’s how we influence each other. We share what’s important to us.

In today’s passage, two young men* are following John the Baptist, who is teaching them about the Messiah. Then, Jesus arrives, and John identifies Him as the Messiah. Immediately, the two men leave John to follow Jesus.

After one day with Jesus, Andrew finds Simon, his brother. “We’ve found the Messiah,” he tells him, and brings him to Jesus. That encounter changed Simon’s life. Jesus even gave him a new name — Peter.

The next day Jesus invites Philip to follow Him, and the first thing Philip does is he tells his friend, Nathanael. “We’ve found Him of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote.” These young men grew up learning the Old Testament, so they know about the Messiah. They may even have heard about Jesus, since Philip references Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Nathanael scoffs at this, skeptical that the Messiah would come from Nazareth. Philip doesn’t argue with him. He invites him to come and see.

When Nathanael arrives, Jesus greets him with, “A man in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know this about me?” Nathanael asks.

Jesus reveals that He saw Nathanael prior to his coming, just as God sees all things. Nathanael connects Jesus’ supernatural knowledge with what Moses and the Prophets say about the Messiah — and declares that Jesus is God.

In response, Jesus reveals more things about Nathanael — things that haven’t happened yet. What were Philip, Andrew, and Peter thinking as they listened to Jesus talk to Nathanael?

This is how followers multiply. As you follow Jesus, I learn from you. As I follow, someone learns from me. It’s personal, genuine, and organic. It’s how we grow. Together.


*Andrew, who is named in verse 40, and the Apostle John, the author of this Gospel, who doesn’t name himself.