Sacrificial God

John was 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?”

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

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

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). 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 1:35-42)

What do we want from Jesus? One of Jesus’ first two disciples was identified as Andrew. Who was the second, unnamed disciple? Most likely the disciple who remained unnamed throughout John’s gospel: John himself.

When Jesus asked Andrew and John what they wanted, there was more to his question than wondering about being followed. The word used for “following” indicates they had become his disciples. Jesus’ question, “what do you want?” was therefore his formal invitation for them to become disciples. They accepted his invitation by asking him where he was staying and by addressing him as “rabbi,” an Aramaic word which meant “my teacher.”

Andrew brought his brother Simon to meet Jesus. Jesus gave Simon a new name: “Cephas.” We see Aramaic words like “rabbi” and “Cephas” in the text because Aramaic was the language they were using. The New Testament was not written Aramaic, however, but in Greek because Greek was the dominant language in the eastern half of the Roman empire. The Good News of the Kingdom was not just for the people living in Palestine. It was for the world. “Cephas” means “rock” in English, as does the more familiar Greek form of the name, “Peter.”

When Jesus told them “you will see” it was not just to see where he stayed. It was an invitation to a life of wonder, a life as his disciples, where they would see more than they could ever imagine. He offers us the same vision.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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