John 1:35

Although our Lord had not, during any period of his ministry, a settled abode, a temporary home was provided for him, now in one place and anon in other, where he could rest and meditate, and where he could receive his friends. For Jesus was neither an ascetic nor a recluse; he did not disdain the tranquil pleasures of domestic retirement, nor did he withdraw himself from the fellowship of those whose nature he deigned to share. Of our Lord's social disposition this passage furnishes an illustration.


1. The educational and spiritual preparation of these guests. Andrew and John were disciples of the forerunner, the Baptist. Like many of the susceptible and ardent spirits of the period, they had been attracted by John's remarkable and impressive personality, and by his stern and authoritative ministry. In the school of the herald they were prepared for the service of the King.

2. The emphatic testimony borne by the forerunner to the Lord. This testimony was undoubtedly intended to draw the attention of the two young men to him "who was to come;" and it is a proof of John's humility and disinterestedness that he should be content to hand over his disciples to One greater than himself.

3. The sacred wonder of the two, and their laudable desire for advanced teaching. It was a proof that they had profited by the lessons of their master John, when they evinced a yearning for the still higher society of Christ.


1. On the part of the disciples, we observe modesty of demeanour in their silently following Jesus, and reverence of spirit and language in their inquiry, "Rabbi, where dwellest thou?" All who repair to Christ in this temper and attitude may be assured of a kind reception.

2. For we remark on the part of Jesus the response of encouragement and invitation. Observing that the two disciples were too timid to address him first, he opened up the way for conversation; and, when they expressed, though indirectly, a desire to visit him, he gave a cordial invitation.

3. Part of a day was devoted to hallowed intercourse. The grace and condescension of the Lord are thus apparent from the very commencement of his ministry. We cannot doubt that he was already resolving upon methods of Messianic ministry, and was planning the means of evangelization afterwards adopted. And he foresaw that these two ardent young disciples were to become able ministers of his gospel to their fellow men. This anticipation doubtless gave a colour to the conversation that took place during those memorable hours.

III. THE RESULTS WHICH FOLLOWED THIS INTERVIEW. Such a visit could not but be fruitful of much good. When natures so prepared by the Spirit of God came into contact with the Son of God, no wonder that the consequences were signal and precious.

1. The conviction was formed in the minds of the two guests that their Host was none other than the Christ foretold in Hebrew prophecy, and desired by devout and waiting expectant spirits.

2. The conviction which they formed they hastened to communicate to their kindred and companions. They had learned good news, and could not keep it to themselves. At once they became preachers of Christ, and. their conduct was an earnest of their subsequent apostleship.

3. They seem to have lost no time in transferring themselves from the school and following of John, whose ministry was now drawing to a close, to the school and following of Jesus, whose official ministerial work was now beginning. What they saw and heard on this memorable day led them to wish to see and to hear yet more. And in following Christ they had the opportunity of satisfying their heart's desire.


1. The society of the Lord Jesus is still to be sought as the means of spiritual good. His direction is "Abide in me, and I in you." This is feasible even to us who see, him not with the bodily eye.

2. Jesus ever welcomes to his society all who truly desire it, and especially the young and those with spiritual aspirations. None are rejected who approach him in a spirit of humility, of reverence, of faith.

3. To be much with Jesus is the best preparation for serving him. Those who would publish his love and grace must first make acquaintance with him, and allow his character, his ministry, his sacrifice, to produce their own impression upon the heart. As at the first, so now, his dearest friends become his most efficient servants. - T.

The next day.
1. A searching question.

2. A gracious invitation.

3. An encouraging promise.

4. A Divine command.

5. A heart revelation.

6. An assurance of a present and an everlasting heaven.

(J. W. Burn.)

There is only one way to heaven, "I am the way;" but there are many ways to Christ. One soul is led earlier, another later; one gradually, another by storm; one by sorrow, another through joy; one by inner impulse, another by external influence. Here we learn —

1. To adore the wisdom of God. Like a prudent gardener He deals with each of His plants according to its kind. One needs the sun, another the shade; one must be kept moist, another dry; one requires rich soil, another poor; one must be pruned, another supported; one needs tender handling, another will grow in any wind or weather.

2. To regard God's world with such big-hearted, patient love, that we no longer measure our neighbour by our own standard.

3. To learn to know ourselves. The lives of other children of God ought to be a mirror to us, and from them we can choose to suit our own particular aspiration, some favourite character by whose example we may be strengthened and edified. Here we have three ways to God.


1. "Behold the Lamb," etc., is the heart of the Christian sermon. That is the aim of the whole Bible: Moses, the prophets, John, and the apostles. No matter the particular subject, this is the true end.(1) If we preach on the holiness and love of God, behold them here.(2) If about your duty, behold here meekness, gentleness, innocence, and obedience.(3) If reproof for sin, behold here the effect of sin and what is necessary for its removal.(4) If consolation, behold here its source.(5) If heaven, behold here its central glory.

2. The two disciples heard.(1) We often come short in the listening — work, and pleasure are preferred.(2) Those who listen, do they really hear?(3) Those who hear, do they "follow?" Following Jesus is the true end of hearing. For this purpose the Baptist willingly let them depart. You are to become converts, not to any human preacher, but to Christ.

II. THE WAY THROUGH EXAMPLE which Peter took. Andrew cannot keep the blessed discovery to himself, and he could not have performed for his brother a nobler service, nor presented to Christ a nobler tribute of his love. What a lesson for —

1. Preachers.

2. Parents.

3. Brothers.

III. THE WAY OF EXPERIENCE. They all took this way, but it was in a special sense the way Nathanael took.

1. It is necessary that you come to the Lord personally and become acquainted with Him through your own experience to put to the proof what you have heard or read. Practice makes perfect; experience makes the Christian.

2. Whom will you find? A soul friend rich in love, who looks on your soul as a thing of value; one who has a profound insight into your heart; one who can supply all your need.

3. Receive Him —(1) for His own sake.(2) For the sake of the revelations He makes and for the rewards He bestows.

(K. Gerok, D. D.)

I. JOHN STOOD, AND TWO OF HIS DISCIPLES LOOKED ON JESUS AS HE WALKED. Was it by accident that Christ was walking there? No; He was walking to find them. They had not brought Him, persuaded Him, or arranged for His arrival. No needy heart has to furnish its Christ. Before it begins to seek He is near and waiting. Immanuel may be unseen, as our best possessions always are, but heaven has brought Him near.

II. HOW DO MEN TREAT HIM? "They followed Jesus." Now begins man's part in the great reconciliation. Not every one, like Andrew, is called to be an apostle, but all are called to be disciples, But both must "follow." Will you look on a little while from curiosity, or momentary impulse, or will you thankfully and steadily take up His cross and go after Him?

III. IT IS NOT CERTAIN WHETHER THE FIRST IMPULSE TO FOLLOW WILL PROVE A CONSTANT RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE. "What seek ye?" Rather a chilling question as it stands. He saw that the motives of these ardent disciples must be laid bare to themselves. What do you really seek? Is it for His sake or your own? God applies many touchstones. Time, spiritual disappointment, etc. Christ wants loyal, disinterested love, and there is therefore no lack of tenderness in His question.

IV. NOW, THEN, COMES THE PLACE FOR A DEEPER EXERCISE OF FAITH, AND THE RISING BY IT INTO A HIGHER LIFE. Will the disciple bear the proof? Will he evade the question and simply follow along on the level of the old decency, saying all the old prayers, etc.? Notice the spiritual beauty of the answer. "Master (with a new and tenderer meaning), where dwellest Thou?" This is the least ostentatious, yet directest confession of a desire for closer communion. It is a confession of ignorance, a prayer for a hiding place.

V. WOULD IT BE GRANTED ONLY FOR THE ASKING? "He saith unto them, come and see." Let that stand for the dispelling of all your doubt. There is no description of the house beforehand to excite wrong anticipation. Find out what the Christian life is by living it. "Eye hath not seen," etc.

VI. "THEY CAME AND ABODE WITH HIM." If they had been like some they would have stumbled at their own unworthiness, as if God's favours were ever granted to merit. Faith takes God at His word.

VII. AND NOW SEE PLAYING OUTWARD THE POWER WHICH HAS BEEN WORKING INWARDLY. It begins to testify for Christ. No sooner is the heart in actual fellowship with Christ than it begins to ask what it can do for Him. There are two sorts of people: those that go and do the thing, and those that stand and wonder why it was not done after some other fashion. Andrew begins at the nearest point. "His own brother." There is no postponement for a complete plan, for times, for becoming "good enough." His heart is full, and he does what he can. How soon this spirit in the followers of Christ would bring the world to His feet. Conclusion:

1. What the one brother says to the other is a joyful recognition of the fulfilment of prophecy.

2. The message relating to "the Lamb of God" is the message that brings sinners to the Saviour.

(Bp. Huntington.)

I. WE HAVE HERE THE FIRST BEGINNINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. The beginning of anything great and good always wins for us a special regard. The tree grown from an acorn; the Amazon from the spring in the Andes. The interest is heightened in the case of moral movements. The Mayflower; the lonely monk who afterwards wrought the Reformation. Still deeper is our interest in the beginning of the kingdom of Christ. And it begins here with the Divine quietness which is characteristic of God's mightiest works.

II. THE BEGINNING AND FIRST MOVEMENTS OF PERSONAL RELIGION. That begins when a person comes to Christ.

1. This does not imply that there is no value in what precedes. These men had heard the Baptist, were penitent, prepared, expectant. But as soon as opportunity was given they came, and so showed the sincerity of their repentance.

2. The first coming may be real and true, and yet not at once entire and decisive. They went back to Bethsaida, but; an invisible Presence went back with them, and in a little while it became visible, and said, "Follow Me." So some time may elapse before the full surrender. But a faith in Jesus held long in secrecy is a perilous thing.

III. THE DIVINE METHOD OF EXTENDING RELIGION AND OF MULTIPLYING THE NUMBER OF DISCIPLES, There is a beautiful exemplification here of the law of personal influence. The great preacher points to Jesus, and it takes effect. But how small that effect would be if it reached the hearers only. It led to Jesus first, and then the power of per. sonal influence makes itself felt. In this way, in little more than a day, Jesus has five disciples. Surely this shows us what a sphere opens at once to every believer. He has found the pearl of great price, and without losing it himself he can offer it to his friend. This privilege is neglected or timorously used. There never was so much preaching, and for this reason we abate quieter and more personal efforts. But whatever one attains in spiritual things he is bound by the very law of the life he has received to try to communicate it to others. Because unwise speaking is worse than silence it does not follow that we are to keep silent always. There are some whom plain dealing suits; or you may have to watch, use gentle suggestion, etc. Conclusion:

1. If you have borne witness conscientiously, but without success, try silence, watch, pray, put books in the way.

2. If you have been long silent, afraid of wounding susceptibilities, of making religion repellant, and trying to reach in quiet ways without success, break silence for once.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Order is heaven's first law, but variety is the second. We see this —

1. In creation.

2. In providence.

3. In the work of grace. The operation is ever the same in kind, but different in manner. Here are four different methods of conversion.


1. The preacher —(1) Was divinely illuminated, as all gospel preachers must be.(2) Was unsuccessful at first, but tried the same message again and succeeded.(3) His subject was the only effective one — Christ the sin-bearer.

2. The process of conversion.(1) A spirit of inquiry was stirred up. They followed Christ as searchers, at His back. Christ turns round and faces them. He looks upon them, and then puts the modest question, the first words He spoke. It was a comprehensive question, too: "What seek ye?" Pardon, peace, purity, truth? "Come and see," and you shall have them all. The best way to be convinced of the power of the gospel is to try it.


1. The agent, Andrew.(1) As soon as a man is found by Christ, he begins to find others.(2) "First" implies that he did not give it up afterwards.(3) Relationship has a stern demand on our individual effort. Our first business is at home.(4) Simon was worth ten Andrews. We may be very deficient in talent, and yet be the means of bringing a great man to Christ.(5) Andrew's testimony was modest. "We." He gives the other disciple his share of the discovery. But it was positive also. Not "I think," or "trust," but "we have."

2. The process.(1) Christ describes Simon's present state — "the son of the timid dove" — explaining what he was.(2) He gave him a new name, indicative of the nature His grace would give. This is the general plan of conversion. Nature is discovered and grace imparted; the old name supplanted by the new.

III. THE FOURTH DISCIPLE WAS CALLED DIRECTLY BY THE VOICE OF JESUS. So are all men, for the voice of John or the voice of Andrew is the voice of Christ speaking through them; but in some cases there is no apparent instrumentality. Colonel Gardner was about to perpetrate a crime but was stopped on the brink of it by sovereign grace without any apparent instrumentality.

1. Christ spoke but two words.

2. To follow Christ is the picture of Christian discipleship in every form. Follow Christ —

(1)In doctrine.

(2)In faith.

(3)In action.

(4)In ordinances.


1. Preparation of heart "under the fig tree."

2. Philip's instrumentality.

3. Christ's Divine word which convinced Nathanael and led him to put his trust in the Messiah.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. A LITTLE REAL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST PRODUCES THE DESIRE FOR MORE. They had heard the testimony of John. They prized his ministry, for it had done them good, but they now felt that Jesus could do more for them than John.

II. THE TRUE WAY OF INCREASING OUR KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS TO FOLLOW HIMSELF. They might have stayed with John and asked for further information. How much there is to be known of Christ which human teachers cannot impart. What is it to follow Christ?

1. Attraction from Christ.

2. Faith in Christ.

3. Submission to Christ.


1. He awakens consciousness. He does not teach in the first instance.

2. He invites confidence. "What can I do for you?"

3. He offers a welcome.

IV. IN FOLLOWING CHRIST THE BELIEVER FINDS MORE THAN HE EXPECTED OR IMAGINED. They remained with Christ and had fellowship with Him. The world often disappoints, but Christ gives more than we can ask or think.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

I. ANDREW AND JOHN, attracted towards the Light.

II. SIMON AND JAMES, conducted to the Light.

III. PHILIP AND NATHANAEL, invited by the Light. Lessons:

1. The greatest discovery a soul can make — the Christ

2. The purest felicity a soul can enjoy — fellowship with Christ.

3. The noblest life a soul can lead — following Christ.

4. The loftiest calling a soul can pursue — commending Christ.

5. The grandest philanthropy a soul can practice — bringing men to Christ.

6. The sweetest commendation a soul can receive — to be an Israelite indeed.

7. The sublimest spectacle a soul can see — the Son of Man enthroned in an open heaven.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Sermons by the Monday Club.
I. THE HERALDING OF CHRIST. The Baptist's ministry was —

1. Brief. Only six months.

2. Popular.

3. Misunderstood.

4. Expectant.

5. Self-abnegating.


1. John says, Behold —

(1)Not the great teacher.

(2)Not the spotless example.

(3)Not the triumphant king.

(4)But the Lamb of God.

2. Jesus says —

(1)"What seek ye?" An affectionate inquiry opening the way to conversation.

(2)Come and see — an encouraging invitation.


1. By friendly service.

2. Brotherly affection.

3. Neighbourly zeal.

4. Conquest of prejudice.

IV. THE RESULT OF PERSONAL EFFORT. Andrew helped to make the Pentecostal preacher. How little we know what hangs on our individual endeavours. The preacher may not be known beyond his flock, but one soul through his appeals may be the means of converting thousands. The Sabbath school teacher may toil on with half a dozen children, but amongst the number may be a Wilberforce. Let none then be discouraged.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

The leading characteristics of the gospel were to be exhibited in the disciples; their selection, therefore, was a matter of vast importance.

I. THE REDEEMER CHOOSES DISCIPLES OF MEN OF ENTIRELY OPPOSITE CULTURE AND DISPOSITION. In John dwells paramount the meek, the restful, and the happy. The indicating words of the Baptist were appropriate to this disciple — "Behold the Lamb!" Simon is quite another man, rock-like, rough, pressing through all hindrances, and recoiling from nothing.

1. If diverse temperaments were necessary at the beginning, they are necessary now.

2. Each is good when it is animated by the Spirit of God. Excess and onesidedness, however, are to be deplored.

3. There are many gifts but one Spirit. Sternness and gentleness, fiery strength and patient meekness, can, and ought, in like measure to glorify Christ. Let them not be polished down into similarity. Let each be content with his gift and do what he can without envying another's. Common love and zeal should bind all together and beget mutual toleration.


1. These silent and unknown workers are not to be despised.

2. Then among Christians such distinctions as famous and non-famous should have no place. The brilliancy of the one and the obscurity of the other does not lie in the difference of inner work, but in —

(1)Outward circumstances.

(2)Inclination.One mind is called to appear in the front; the other would rather conceal itself. The one works with quick and firm decision; the other is slow, silent, and sure. The one must have a wide field; the other keeps at home. Both are needful.

III. THE REDEEMER'S CHOICE SHOWS US THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS OFTEN BEGIN IN AN UNLIKELY WAY. It is a mistake to desire the important to proclaim itself so at first, and when this is not the case to yield to disappointment and discontent. Present effectiveness depends on the unbiassed prospect of the future. Out of the most modest part in Christ's work something glorious will unfold itself.


Vast as the Church is now, there was a time when it consisted of only two members.


1. The first time the Baptist cried "Behold the Lamb of God," no result seems to have followed.

2. When John repeated these words two followed Jesus.

3. This simple story is a pattern of the way in which good has been done to souls in every age.

(1)By testimony.

(2)By exalting Christ and not the Church, sacraments, or ministry.

(3)By patient continuance in preaching the truth.


1. Andrew spoke promptly to Peter. Who can tell what would have happened had he been silent and reserved, like many Christians now!

2. Of the first three converts, one at least was brought to Jesus by the quiet word of a relative.

3. The work of testimony must not be left to ministers alone.

4. Those who follow Christ must abide with him.

(Bishop Ryle.)

— A native of Bethsaida and brother of Peter. Very little known of him. Left the ministry of John for that of Christ. No sooner attached himself to Christ, than he sought a close intimacy with Him. He next brought his brother to Christ. Was formally called, together with Peter, to the apostleship (Mark 1:16, 17). Was present, and took a prominent part in, the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:5, 9). Introduced the Greeks to Jesus (John 12:21-22). Inquired with the three about the destruction of the Temple (Mark 13:4).


1. His old master effected it. Religious teachers who have little souls are anxious to keep their disciples entirely under their own influence, and are jealous of greater teachers.

2. His old master effected it through the proclamation of a great truth. The cross is the converting power.


1. Expressed in the question addressed to Christ. "We want to know more of Thee." A desire which is ever the effect and evidence of true conversion.

2. Heightened by the reply Christ makes to them. "Come and see." Christ has nothing to conceal. He wishes the world to know all about Him. Do not judge from hearsay, but search for yourselves.

III. HIS SERVICE FOR CHRIST. This and John 12:23 indicates his desire to bring his fellow-men to Christ.

1. This can only be done by those who are themselves true disciples. They only have the spirit necessary to give emphasis to the invitation and the character which reflects Christ.

2. The true disciple will do it not as a dry duty, but as a delightful privilege. This is the highest Christian gratification.

3. This work is not bringing men to our systems and sects, but to Christ.

4. Unless men are brought to Christ, we do them no lasting service.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. DISCERNING THE LIGHT. Galilean fishermen, of deep religious susceptibilities, perhaps belonging to those who were waiting for the consolation of Israel. Leaving their boats, they repaired to the national rendezvous, where they received the rite of baptism at John's hands. When Christ was pointed out, they felt themselves, by personal consistency, intellectual conviction, and spiritual aspiration, shut up to seek his further acquaintance. So will the light still be discerned by all who prepare for it by penitence and faith (Isaiah 66:2; Zechariah 1:3; Malachi 3:7; Matthew 4:17; Acts 20:21; 1 John 5:9-12). Faith is the organ by which Christ's glory is discerned; Repentance the tear-drop that keeps the soul's eye pure and clean.

II. FOLLOWING THE LIGHT. Many discern the Light who neither rejoice in it (John 3:19) nor walk after it (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Not so these, who no sooner beheld than they followed.

1. Promptly, as men who —

(1)Realized their need (2 Kings 7:3).

(2)Knew the value of their discovery (Matthew 13:44-46).

(3)Recognized the danger of delay (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 4:7).

2. Humbly: walking respectfully at a distance behind (Psalm 31:1).

3. Sincerely: their reply to Christ's question teaching that openness and frankness which is indispensable in true religion.

4. Earnestly: embracing Christ's invitation at once, since the King's business requires haste, and Christ's kingdom brooks no delay, and becoming so absorbed that they heeded not the lapse of time.

III. FINDING THE LIGHT. Their judgments were convinced that Christ was the Messiah, and so will all those who turn towards the Light (John 8:12; of. Hosea 6:3). In the order of nature, seeing goes before believing; in the realm of grace, a soul believes to see (John 11:40; Psalm 27:13).

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

The most elementary mathematics treats of two laws of progression, which are distinguished by the terms "arithmetical" and "geometrical." The one grows by the successive addition of a fixed quantity; in the other, each successive term is increased by a fixed proportion of itself. Now, let the quantity added in a progression of the first sort be never so large, and the proportion in a progression of the second kind never so small, the last will eventually outstrip the first. But what is more important to notice is, that the arithmetical progression is the law of mechanical growth, while the other is the law of the growth of lifo. A tree does not grow by the addition of a certain number of twigs and leaves every year; but where a leaf was one year, there we find a twig with several leaves the next year. The human race itself follows the law of a living organism, and grows not by the addition of a certain number each year, but by a certain proportion of the population of the previous year. If, then, the Church is ever to overtake the world, it must grow, not by the arithmetical, but by the geometrical law; and as the world had the start, its rate of growth must be greater. The Church must be a living organism, and an organism of greater vitality than the human race. Its growth must be something out of itself, something proportionate to itself. The work of the individual is the true law of the Church's growth, stamped upon it from the very beginning. How easy it was for the three disciples to become six l Each man brings in one; that is all. And these men are not now apostles or ministers; they are private Christians — mere babes in Christ. What they did all can do.

(P. H. Hoge.)

Jesus gained one follower at His baptism — His baptizer; but this one was soon multiplied. John bears further witness to Jesus. Two of John's disciples hear his testimony, and at once leave their old master and follow the new. So now Jesus has three disciples. One of them, Andrew, was so glad that he had found the Messiah, that he started off and found Peter, his brother, and brought him to Jesus. So another follower was secured, making four in all. The next day Jesus calls Philip, and he obeys the call; so now there are five. Five are not very many; but still five are five times as many as one. Philip felt just as Andrew had done before him, and sought his friend Nathanael. Nathanael was rather hard to convince; so Philip said, Come and see for yourself. Nathanael came, and was convinced. So now there were six. This was only a small beginning, it is true; but most large things begin small. The locomotive that rushes along sixty miles an hour began its motion by inches. The giant tree of California was once only half an inch high. The Amazon at its source is narrow enough to allow a child to jump over it. The question is not so much, Was the beginning small? as, Is the growth rapid and enduring? How many disciples Jesus has to-day. Millions on millions. How have these millions of disciples been won? Mohammed won millions by the power of the sword. But Jesus never authorized the use of physical power to subdue men to His rule. Jesus' true disciples have all been won, just as those first six were won, by gentle means. One has persuaded one more, or eventually, as Peter, thousands.

(A. F. Schauffler.)

Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom, came to join to Himself the Church. He said nothing, but merely came. It was His friend, the Baptist, who put into His the bride's right hand.

( Chrysostom.)

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