John 1:35-37 "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus."
My grandfather, in all of his 83 years of life, was faithful. He was faithful to the Gospel. Faithful to the church of Jesus Christ that he pastored, no matter the locale. My grandfather was faithful to his first wife of over thirty years, Louise, that died in 1967. He was then faithful to his second wife, Jennie, of 16 years. He loved Jesus. He loved his children. He adored his grandchildren. He lived his faith. Boaz Obed Smith, my grandfather, was faithful to the end.
Several men are known by this simple name: "John". In the opening text of today's post, we see the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah - "John the Baptist" - performing baptisms and announcing the coming of the one whom he would baptize. John the Baptist had students, learners or "disciples". One of those disciples carried the same name as he.
The disciple "John" would eventually leave his "rabbi" or "master" and follow this new Rabbi, deemed: "The Lamb of God". The disciple John would, along with eleven other men, follow Jesus for over three years through Galilee, Samaria, Judea and ultimately to Jerusalem. This "disciple John" would learn what it meant to follow Jesus and would eventually become known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (compare John 13:23).
To follow Jesus means you forsake reliance upon any former allegiances. To follow Jesus centers around decentering yourself and focusing on Jesus (compare Luke 9:23-24). John's first encounter with Jesus led him to analyze Jesus as a subject of curiosity. This latter encounter, recorded by Matthew and Mark, turned the tables on John. John became the object of Jesus' scrutiny. Jesus was not on a fact find mission with John (He already knew everything He needed to know about John). Instead, Jesus was on a "faith-finding" mission in John's heart. Per Galatians 3:23, "faith came" that day into John's heart and life. The nets were dropped. The bridges burnt. John forsook everything to follow Jesus.
The decision to follow Jesus was not half-hearted. John didn't hedge bets and say to himself: "well, if this don't work out, I can always return home to dad and go back to fishing, become partner and hopefully make a decent living. No. This was a radical break. John the disciple's heart was captured by the voice of the one calling him from the shoreline. His journey of loving Jesus began by following him in faith. Not just any faith, but the saving-kind of faith that radically concludes that when I give up everything, and Jesus is all I have, I have everything. May you and I follow Jesus. Only by following him can we too become characterized as those that, due to first loving of us, also respond in ever-growing love to Him.
More next time.....