Thursday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

John 1:35-51

Jesus Begins to Form His Band of Disciples

John the Baptist had spent his ministry, we don’t know how long, preparing the way for the One who was to come.  There was for John no other purpose in his life.  It was the very reason why he was born.  As his father had prophesied, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.”  And as the angel, Gabriel, said referring to John’s purpose before he was born, “to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:17, 76).  John would soon be imprisoned and thereafter beheaded.  But he still had time to tell two of his disciples as Jesus walked by, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” just as he had said the day before.  It was as if John were saying, “He is the One you must follow now.”  And so Andrew and the other man left John standing there and ran after Jesus – which was exactly how John wanted it.

So what do these men do?  Well, the first thing we read is that Andrew went and found his brother, Simon.  Andrew tells him, “We have found the Messiah!” which for you non-Hebrew speakers means “Christ,” which for you non-Greek speakers means, “the anointed one” – the One whom God would send to save His people.  It would have been wonderful to see Simon’s reaction.  But he goes with his brother to meet this “Messiah.”  Jesus immediately changes Simon’s name to “Cephas,” which for you non-Aramaic speakers means “Peter,” which for you non-Greek speakers means, “Rock.”  It is common throughout the Bible for names to be changed (often by God) to reflect a character trait of that person, or a character trait that was hoped that person would acquire.  Jesus renames Simon, “Rock,” which is interesting given that Simon was anything but, and a chronic sufferer of foot-in-mouth disease who later denied the Lord under threat.  However, he later became a rock and even a martyr at the end of his life, choosing to be crucified upside-down, as he considered himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Master.

Well the next day, Jesus calls a man named Philip to follow him, and Philip then finds Nathaniel.  Nathaniel couldn’t believe anything good could come out of Nazareth, but when Jesus displayed some supernatural knowledge of Nathaniel’s recent stint under a fig tree, he then changes his mind: “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  How fast our thoughts travel!  Then Jesus refers to the account of Jacob’s dream (Gen. 28:10-17) when Jacob saw angels ascending and descending a ladder from earth to heaven; only this time, the angels are moving from heaven to Christ and back again, a far greater way to the Father than any ordinary ladder ever could be.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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