Everyday Discipleship, 3 November 2019

Everyday Discipleship
Series—Links in the Chain (Discipleship)
Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Luke 9:23

Series Big Idea:
The Great Commission is all about becoming like Jesus…and helping others become like Christ.

Big Idea:
Discipleship begins in the home…but doesn’t stay there.

Kingdom over everything.
Living in light of eternity.

What do you do every day?

Wake up.
Get dressed.
Brush your teeth.
Go online.

Today we begin a new series,
Links in the Chain. Our topic is discipleship. Discipleship is one of those words commonly found in the church, yet rarely used in our culture. What is discipleship? How do I become a disciple? How do I make disciples? We’re going to answer these and other questions throughout this series.


As Jesus was preparing to ascend into heaven, he gathered his friends together and said,

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

This is one of the most famous passages in the entire Bible. It’s often called the Great Commission. Jesus gave marching orders to his followers, and they remain relevant and mandatory for us, too.

Make disciples. What’s a disciple? How do we make one?

A disciple is simply a student, a protégé. Jesus is saying become like him. A student often becomes like their teacher. That’s usually the goal.

We’ve come a long way since Jesus called the Twelve to follow him, and that’s not necessarily a good thing! The culture two thousand years ago in the Middle East was certainly different than it is today here in Toledo.

Discipleship was a common practice among the Jews. A young man would pursue a rabbi and essentially watch and follow their every move for several years, shadowing him in hopes of becoming like him. Listen to this description from John Daugherty:

In the days of Jesus, all young boys were taught the Torah and the Prophets beginning at age 5; meaning that at age 5, they began to memorize the Torah and the Prophets! Every day they would rehearse the Scriptures until it came to them by rote. At the age of 12, after 7 years of memorizing the Bible, boys were apprenticed to craftsmen. Some became carpenters, some stone masons and others farmers; but those that were exceptional in their studies of the Scripture were apprenticed to a Sage. His trade was to become a Rabbi. He would leave his home and move in with the Sage. He studied everything about him! Not just his thoughts on the Scripture, but He studied the Sage’s marriage, his business affairs, the way he judged certain cases—everything! It’s the belief of the Sage that the Torah affects every aspect of life, so the disciple is learning to imitate his Master’s disciplined life in order to mimic it in every regard! This is Biblical discipleship.

To a disciple, his Master is more than just a teacher. In fact, a disciple’s Master was regarded more highly than his own father. This is because an earthly father brought you into this world in which we live, but the Sage was able to usher you into the World-to-Come, or Paradise. The Sage became the new Father of the disciple, hence we find in the rabbinic writings references to the “House of Hillel”, or the “House of Shammai”. The Sage was seen as Father, and his a disciples were his well-trained sons. It’s not that the disciple’s family was abandoned, but his family loyalties took second place to his Master. This sentiment is echoed in the words of our Master, Jesus:
“If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Lk. 14:26)

The language of “hate” employed in this verse is not hatred like we generally think of it. Jesus is using a Hebraic idiom that demonstrates comparative language. In other words, the love for the Master must be so great, that all familial love (usually our strongest love) must look like hatred in comparison. Each and every one of us is called to this radical practice of discipleship! We can’t be disciples of Jesus because our family has a strong Christian tradition. And we can’t be disciples of Jesus because of cultural pressures. We can only be a disciple of Jesus if we’re willing to abandon all other affections to second place, setting Jesus the Messiah squarely in the preeminent role of our lives!

Wow! Jesus’ Great Commission to go and make disciples is a far cry from what one person has called “The functional Great Commission”

“Go into all the world and make more worship attenders, baptizing them in the name of small groups and teaching them to volunteer a few hours a month.”

Doing church stuff is not the same as following Jesus. Yes, I’m thrilled you’re here on Sunday morning. Yes, small groups are a primary tool of discipleship and community, doing life together. Yes, we need volunteers to accomplish our mission of restoring God’s masterpieces.

But discipleship should never be relegated to a class or program. It’s not ultimately about acquiring information, but about experiencing transformation. Discipleship is becoming like Jesus, imitating Jesus…and helping others become like Jesus.


Some of you know we have been using a curriculum for our student ministries and some of our small groups called D6. I have often used the scriptures in my sermons to synchronize the content across all ages so children, youth, and adults have a common topic to discuss on Sunday afternoon and throughout the week. The name “D6” comes from the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch, a collection of books written by Moses. Deuteronomy chapter six begins…

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (Deuteronomy 6:1-3)

Moses is speaking to the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. These are critical instructions for God’s people. He wants everyone to know them—men, women, and children. God wants them to obey, and in order to obey, you must know the instructions. Discipleship is both learning and teaching. It’s more than a Bible study; it’s a way of life. What follows is arguably the most important passage in the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible. It is known as the Shema, which means “hear” or “listen.” It’s a Jewish prayer said in the morning and evening:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
(Deuteronomy 6:4)

Throughout history, civilizations have worshipped multiple gods, also known as polytheism. Israel’s neighbors worshipped the sun god, the moon god, the god of fertility, and countless others. God wanted the Jews to know there is only one God, the LORD. He exists in three Person—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This reality called the Trinity can be confusing—one God in three Persons—but they are one, “echad” in the original Hebrew.”

The rest of the prayer—including a passage quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:28-30—says,

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Moses continues,

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Today if you go to Israel, you will see multiple expressions of these commands. Homes and even hotel rooms have small scrolls—called a mezuzah—in the doorframes with these instructions.

Some Jewish men wear scriptures in little leather boxes called phylacteries on their left arms close to their heart and on their heads, close to their minds.

The point is God’s commandments must never be forgotten. The faith is always one generation from extinction, and each parent and grandparent and great grandparent who follows God must pass along their faith, in word and deed, teaching and example. This is discipleship. Moses, who wrote these words in Deuteronomy, would transmit his faith and leadership to Joshua to passed it onto the elders to passed it to the prophets and so on.

The sages and rabbis of Israel had disciples they taught and mentored. One of the most famous, Hillel, was said to have had 70 disciples. Rabbi Yeshua HaNatzerim (Jesus of Nazareth) had twelve main disciples and many more who followed him to hear his teachings. He said,

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. (Luke 6:40)

Discipleship is the art of imitation. It often occurs within a biological family, but practically occurs when any person follows Jesus and helps others follow Jesus.

Discipleship is about following Jesus, but it’s also about helping others follow Jesus. My favorite discipleship verse is spoken by Paul to his protégé Timothy:

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

How many generations are in this verse? Four: Paul, Timothy, reliable people, others. Who disciples you? Who are you discipling?

I must confess I usually stop at verse two, but the next verse sounds a lot like Jesus.

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)

Join me in suffering? What kind of invitation is that? It’s the path of Jesus. That’s what it means to deny yourself, to pick up your cross, to be a disciple.

One of the core verses of the Christian & Missionary Alliance is another message from Jesus to his friends:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The word “witnesses” in Greek means martyr.

If you want to be a disciple, you must count the cost. Jesus doesn’t want fans. He’s not looking for likes. He’s seeking disciples who will call him LORD. Jesus said,

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Jesus offers two challenges to disciples. First, they need to deny themselves, take up their cross, be willing to surrender everything, and follow Jesus. That’s a huge commitment. That’s discipline. That means Jesus is not just Savior but LORD. King. Master. He’s the boss! Second, this is something we must do daily. The original Greek word means…daily, a 24-hour period. Discipleship is not a Sunday thing but a way of life. Everyday discipleship. There’s no other kind.

Following Jesus for many is something they did years ago. Maybe they are disciples on Sunday mornings or whenever they feel like it. But that’s not discipleship. Disciples follow Jesus every day. They deny themselves and set aside their preferences and pleasures daily.

Die daily. That won’t sell many books or attract many crowds, but that’s what Jesus said. That’s what Jesus requires. That’s everyday discipleship.

I am not a perfect example, but I’m a living example. I have had several people in my life who have discipled me. They have mentored me. They have helped me know Jesus. It’s my desire to disciple others, training them and modeling for them what it means to imitate Jesus.

I’ve been very influenced by a book by Mike Breen called
Building a Discipling Culture. It has helped me focus on the way of Jesus who chose his disciples, met with them as a group, prepared them for ministry, and then sent them out to do what he did.

So What?

Are you a disciple? Absolutely! We all imitate others, be it our parents, friends, celebrities,…or Jesus. The question is, whose disciple are you?

Are you a disciple-maker? Who is imitating you?

Paul said,

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

That’s discipleship.

Throughout this month, we’re going to talk about Links in the Chain, tools for discipleship. I want to equip you to equip others to become like Jesus. It doesn’t happen overnight. It literally takes a lifetime…one day at a time. Everyday discipleship. Not just Sunday. Not just an hour or two a week. Discipleship is following Jesus 24/7/365.

I want to conclude with two questions:

Who is discipling you? Who are you imitating? Perhaps it would be worth the risk to ask someone to be your mentor, to teach you, to disciple you.

Who are you discipling? If you’re new to the faith, it may seem premature to consider such a question, but each day that you follow Jesus is one day in which you are growing to love and serve him. Many Christians have kept their faith private rather than sharing it with others, investing in younger believers, inviting others into their life. Some of you have so much to offer, especially those of you who are empty-nesters. Jesus said, “Follow me.” Paul said, “Follow my example.” We don’t have to be perfect examples, but we can offer ourselves to the next generation as we follow the example of Jesus.

  • You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.
  • Make Disciples, Family Rules, 22 February 2015

    Big Idea: A healthy church family reproduces by making disciples.


    I’m not a big fan of hospitals. For years it was because I would routinely pass out in them, even if it was in the gift shop! It’s some psychological thing inherited from my mom! The worst experience occurred on our first Christmas Eve as husband and wife. Heather made hot cider for our family party in our home, poured it into a crystal bowl until it shattered, leaving her screaming with second and third degree burns on her legs. In the ER as I faithfully stood beside my new bride, offering my steady support and encouragement one of the workers yelled, “Get another gurney…for the husband!”

    Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of experience in hospitals during our marriage…too much! I feel as if I know every square inch of U-M, St Joe’s, and Cleveland Clinic. Despite my issues with hospitals there’s one place that’s wonderful—the maternity ward!

    There are few celebrations like that of a new baby. It’s such a big deal, in fact, that we celebrate the anniversary of their birth each year they are alive—and sometimes even longer! This past week, in fact, I celebrated my birth-day (though the hospital where I was born no longer exists!)!

    Imagine a world without maternity wards; a world without babies. It would be quieter, but it would only be a matter of time until the world would experience true and total silence. The survival of our species requires new births…and the maturation of those babies into reproducing adults who co-create more babies.

    Believe it or not, this is an alarming issue for some cultures today. We’re all familiar with endangered species in the animal kingdom, often the result of uncontrolled hunting.

    In Japan, for instance, there are only 8.07 births per 1000 persons*, a number that is not sustainable, according to the experts. If there are more deaths than births, eventually a culture will cease to exist.

    *Note: as a basis of comparision,

    Monaco, 6.72 (lowest)
    Niger, 46.12 (highest)
    USA, 13.42

    Couples in the world’s five biggest developed economies — the United States, Japan, Germany, France and Britain — had 350,000 fewer babies in 2012 than in 2008, a drop of nearly 5 percent. The United Nations forecasts that women in those countries will have an average of 1.7 children in their lifetimes. Demographers say the fertility rate needs to reach 2.1 just to keep populations constant.

    In Japan, sales of adult diapers will exceed sales of baby diapers this year, according to Euromonitor International, a marketing research firm. In South Korea, where births have fallen 11 percent in a decade, 121 primary schools had no new students last year.
    And in China, where the working-age population is set to shrink next year, the government is relaxing a policy that had limited many families to one child. It might not help much. Chinese are choosing to stick to one on their own.

    It has been said that the church is one generation away from extinction. What is Scio’s future? What is the future of the Church of Jesus Christ on our planet?

    We’re nearing the end of our series
    Family Rules, a double entendre. We’ve said

    • know thyself
    • be real
    • welcome strangers
    • resolve conflict
    • serve together
    • celebrate diversity

    Today’s rule is make disciples.

    Before we look to the future, I want to ask a common question about the present: why are you here?

    Why are you here? These were my first words spoken here as your pastor. We need to return to this question from time to time to remember why we do the things we do. What is our mission? What is our purpose?

    Does your family have a mission statement? Here’s an example:

    Our mission is to be a contagious family of faith, hope, and love.

    I recently found a list of “honest” church mission statements. They’re not written anywhere, but they describe why some churches exist.

    Our mission is to grow worship service attendance by attracting the “have-it-together”  people in our community who will then invite other “have-it-together” people in our community.

    Our mission is to be ready for 1950 in case that decade rolls around again.

    Our mission is never-ending, double-digit, transfer growth in our relevant worship services by franchising our church across our region.

    Our mission is to be the only genuine church in our city because we don’t need church buildings and refuse to let our children be influenced by the public
    school system.

    Our mission is to feel good that we are Spirit-filled and to help others feel good through our Spirit-filled worship services where God’s presence feels good.

    Our mission is to keep the elders happy, bills paid and staff employed.

    Our mission is to have a gospel-centered mission statement that will help a gospel-centered people do anything we want as long as it is gospel-centered.

    At Scio, our mission looks a bit different. Quite a bit different!

    We exist to fulfill the Great Commission and follow the Great Commandment by 
    • serving our communities
    • sharing our story
    • sending disciples to bless the nations

    so that God is glorified.
    This is our family’s mission. It’s why we exist. In many ways it parallels the Christian & Missionary Alliance commitment to be a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family.
    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

    Jesus said to love God and love others, the Great Commandment, and arguably the best way to do both is to obey what we call the Great Commission:

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

    That’s it: love God, love others, go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them.

    Jesus said nothing about building buildings, having potlucks, style of music, wearing robes, reading from the King James Version, or creating a website. Those may be part of the process, but we must never mistaken the process for the purpose.

    Love God, love others, go and make disciples. These are commands, not suggestions!

    What’s a disciple? Simply, it’s a follower or student of a teacher. It’s an apprentice. A protege.

    Parents, this is what you do every day, whether you realize it or not. Children model the behavior of their parents. Decades ago Harry Chapin’s song
    Cat’s in the Cradle described this natural process beautifully. The final two lines reflect the father’s observation:

    And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, he'd grown up just like me.
    My boy was just like me.

    I believe the vision Jesus had for His followers as He stood on the Mount of Olives outside the gates of Jerusalem was they they would be just like Him…and they would reproduce their lives into others who would become just like them…and the next generation would pass the baton to the next and the next.

    One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is 2 Timothy 2:2 (it’s also a fun address!). Paul writes to His disciple, Timothy, and says

    And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

    Notice there are four generations in this one verse:

    • Paul
    • Timothy
    • reliable people
    • others

    I stand before you as Mr. Schneemann because of my dad, Mr. Schneemann, and his dad, Mr. Schneemann, and his dad, Mr. Schneemann who came to the USA on a boat from Europe.

    I stand before you as a disciple of my dad who was a disciple of his dad who was a disciple of his dad (all men of faith) who encountered a disciple of Jesus as a bouncer in a bar.

    Do you see how it works? Here’s the thing: we can be passive or intentional. We can live like everyone else and train future generations to live like everyone else or we can buck the status quo, live radical lives like Jesus—not without great cost and possibly our very lives—and watch His mission continue far beyond us.

    I don’t know about you, but that’s the legacy I want to leave. I want my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren—both biologically and spiritually—to be known as men and women of faith, hope and love; men and women filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I want people to confuse my offspring with Jesus!

    “Great,” you say, “but how?”

    I’m so glad you asked!

    First and foremost, before we can make disciples we must become disciples ourselves. We can teach what we know but we reproduce who we are.

    All of us have mentors. There are people who have influenced us. This includes family, obviously, but authors, teachers, and friends. Some may have been carefully chosen while others may have somewhat randomly entered our lives.

    I remember my dad asking me, once, who was mentoring me. Who’s disciple are you?

    Since they were little, I’ve told my kids, “You are your friends.” Choose wisely.

    Last summer I was working with our son and he said, “Dad, I love tattoos…but I don’t know why.” I asked if any of his friends had any tattoos. He said, “All of them.” Boom!

    Again, you have subconscious mentors like friends or family members. You also have the opportunity to consciously choose mentors or teachers or disciplers to follow. They may be distant mentors like A.W. Tozer or A.B. Simpson, dead men who were prolific in their writing, speaking, and influence. You might approach someone and say, “I admire you and your life. Would you be willing to invest in mine?”

    Perhaps the greatest discipler among our Scio family has been Mary Aleksoff. Her life has influenced so many, particularly women. In some instances she may have approached younger women and in others perhaps younger women sought her out. Regardless, she has been reproducing her Jesus-like self in so many.

    Keep in mind she is not a perfect example but a living example.

    Paul said to the people of Corinth simply:

    Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

    Who is discipling you? Who would you like to disciple you? Ask them! Many of you are discipled each week by your Life Group leader. Our Life Group leaders are some of the most important people at Scio as we seek to not only make disciples but then send them to bless the nations.

    Who are you discipling? “I can’t disciple!” you might say. Yes you can…and you do. People are watching you, whether you realize it or not. College students, there are high schools who look up to you. High schoolers, there are middle school students who model your behavior, faith, and attitudes.

    You don’t have to be a perfect example, just a living example.

    In fact, mentoring is about what you offer someone through your wisdom and experience. Discipleship is about what Jesus can offer someone through His wisdom and presence. We are not called to produce living water so much as be conduits through which the power of God can flow to others. We are not the baton, but rather we carry the baton of faith, so to speak, and pass it on to others.

    For the past several years I have invited young men into a discipleship relationship. Like Jesus, I chose them after seeing potential for them to become reproducing disciples. I have given them access to my life, we meet together as a group for a Huddle, and seek ways we can live out the mission of Scio…the mission of Jesus. They are all challenged to prepare to launch their own Huddle soon. Mike Breen and 3D Movements have created some of the best discipleship tools I’ve ever seen. Mike’s book
    Building A Discipling Culture is recommended reading for anyone seeking to become and make disciples.

    This is not something I do as a pastor or professional Christian. It’s something we are all called to do as disciples—reproduce! Many of the most influential disciplers in my life were not pastors. They simply lived lives worth following. Again, some were formal and some I’ve never met because they’re distant or dead.

    Discipleship is not easy. It requires an investment of our very lives.

    Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:23-25)

    As disciples of Jesus, our lives do not belong to us. They belong to Him!

    Two More Things

    The command of Jesus is to make disciples of all nations. This follows last week’s theme of celebrate diversity. It beautifully fits our county where there are people living in our community from more than 100 nations. It also reinforces one of the purposes of The Santiago Experience. We are going to the Dominican Republic to make disciples of not only USAmericans but also Dominicans. Whether it’s befriending someone in your neighborhood, school or workplace or connecting with someone from another country online or getting your passport stamped we are called to make disciples of all nations.

    Ultimately we are not merely disciples of Paul or Tozer or Simpson or Mary Aleksoff…we are to be disciples of Jesus. It simply helps to see “Jesus with skin on” and see what it really looks like to follow Christ in our day. We must spend time with disciplers, but also with Jesus. If we are to love and follow King Jesus we must spend time with Him, we must study His teachings, we must follow His example, we must listen and learn through prayer and solitude.


    I have a dream. Yes, I have many, but I have a dream that Scio would be a family known for making disciples. That’s a huge part of why we exist.

    Our Scio nursery has been empty for quite some time. We’ve been praying that it would be filled and later this year there will be at least one or two babies, which is exciting! Babies are exciting! They can be loud and messy but very exciting! Of course the excitement of babies is not merely the present but the future potential they embody.

    In the same way I’m praying for the spiritual nursery of Scio to filled. I am praying that our baptistry is filled throughout this year as we join with the angels in rejoicing when souls are saved. Of course that’s not the end of the journey but merely an important step in the process of discipleship. If you’ve been baptized, you have a God-given responsibility and privilege to help others experience Jesus, surrender to Him, and make their faith public…and then grow and help others to do the same.

    Who is discipling you?
    Who are you discipling?

    It’s the circle of life! It’s why we exist. It’s God’s mission for every man, woman and child…and it’s a joy to play a small role in His mission.

    To God be the glory for the great things He has done!!!

    LORD, may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in Scio, in Ann Arbor, in southeastern Michigan, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

    You can listen to this message and others at the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.

    The First Recruits, John 1:35-51, 20 May 2012

    Big Idea: Jesus recruits four disciples: Andy, Pete, Phil and Nate

    John 1:35-51

    The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

    When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

    They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” (John 1:35-38)

    We talked about this last week. Jesus is again called the Lamb of God.

    Because of John’s witness, two of his own disciples leave him and start to follow Jesus. John realizes he is number two. What humility!

    Bestselling author Jim Collins who wrote
    Good To Great says that the highest form of leadership requires leadership. His formula is Humility + Will = Level 5 Leadership.

    As we said previously, John prepared the way. He humbled himself for the sake of helping people encounter Jesus. That’s our role today.

    This wasn’t a case of them getting a better offer, but John saying, “He’s the One I’ve been preparing you to meet.” They shift their allegiance from John the Baptist to Jesus...and it’s ok. It’s great. It’s supposed to happen.

    Jesus asks why they are following Him! “What do you want?”

    “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

    So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
    (John 1:39)

    Jesus says, “Come and see.” John includes a detail about it being 4:00. He was likely an eyewitness, and maybe one of the unnamed disciples in the previous verses.

    Jesus invites them to spend the day with Him.

    Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
    42 And he brought him to Jesus.

    Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
    (John 1:40-42)

    Was Andrew excited about finding the Messiah? Had he heard Jesus was in the neighborhood?

    “The first thing” Andrew did...

    Andrew is often seen bringing people to Jesus (6:8; 12:22). What about you?

    Cephas is also known as Simon and is renamed Peter which means “rock.” The Greek is petros. This is a nickname more than a common name, like we would call someone “Rocky” today.

    Jesus’ authority to change Simon’s name is significant. He is casting a vision for what Simon will become, a rock.

    The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 1:43)

    Galilee is about one hundred miles north.

    Jesus “finds” Philip and invites him to follow.

    Philip is a popular Greek name that means “horse lover.”

    It’s a simple invitation. He doesn’t beg, coerce, force, or yell. He just invites.

    Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote —Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
    (John 1:44-46)

    Philip recruits Nathanael, who might also be called Bartholomew.

    Andrew recruits his brother Peter.

    “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
    (John 1:46a)

    Nazareth obviously does not have a good reputation! Actually, it was probably not bad, just small. Nathanael was from Cana, a rival village. He had seen others claim to be the Messiah.

    Don’t judge a book by its cover!

    Philip replies...

    “Come and see,” said Philip.
    (John 1:46b)

    Do you see how Philip is already following Jesus. He says what Jesus said earlier: “Come and see.”

    When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

    “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

    Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
    (John 1:47-48)

    How do you know me?

    Jesus knew Nathanael before Nathanael knew Him.

    Jesus knows you, too, whether you are aware of it or not.

    Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:49)

    Nathanael gets it! He changes his tune about Jesus. He experiences a miracle and believes.

    In one sentence we see three names for Jesus:

    Rabbi, which we saw earlier literally means “teacher”
    Son of God (deity)
    King of Israel

    Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
    (John 1:50-51)

    The “you” is plural. He is no longer just speaking to Nathanael.

    There is another instance of angels ascending and descending in Genesis 28.

    Jesus is the stairway to heaven. He is greater than Jacob and greater than the ladder. He is the place where we meet God!

    John is telling us in the first chapter of his Gospel that the entire Scriptures point to Jesus. He sees history through the story of Christ.


    We have come to the conclusion of the first chapter of John. Only 20 more to go!

    We have seen John the Baptist prepare the way for Jesus.

    We have seen Jesus’ first recruits, though we know little about them. The focus is on Jesus.

    We see that contact with Jesus leads to self-denial. This is true for John the Baptist and the first disciples of Christ.

    Note that conversion is not about merely learning information; it is about personally taking action and following Jesus.

    This passage shows us that loving God must be connected to knowing God. Christian faith is both commitment and content.

    Who is Jesus? We have been introduced to Him in several ways...

  • Messiah (20, 41)
  • the Prophet (21)
  • Jesus (29)
  • Lamb of God (29, 36)
  • one who baptizes with the Spirit (33)
  • chosen [Son] of God (34)
  • rabbi/teacher (38, 49)
  • Christ/anointed one (41)
  • son of Joseph (45)
  • Nazarene (45)
  • Son of God (49)
  • King of Israel (49)
  • Son of Man (51)

  • In conclusion, we have been introduced throughout John’s first chapter to Jesus. He is God. He is human. He created everything. He came on mission. He invites others to follow Him, but doing so is not a casual thing. We must commit both our minds and our hearts.

    The great news is that when we fully surrender to Jesus, He remains faithful to us...always. We don’t risk devoting ourselves to someone who will betray, abandon, or harm us. When we draw near to Him, He promises to draw near to us and be with us always, to the very end of the age.

    You can listen to the podcast here.