Thursday

30 November 2017

John 1:35-42

“Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (v. 36)

Psalm: Psalm 27


Background

Today is widely observed in Christian churches as St Andrew's Day. He is counted as the first follower of Jesus and as the first missionary because he immediately recruits his brother Simon as a follower of Jesus.

The passage is full of highly-charged words that depend on the rest of John's Gospel for their meaning to unfold: 

  • Verse 36 looks back to verse 29, where Jesus is described as the lamb given by God to take away the world's sins, combining the functions in the Old Testament of the lamb offered in the temple in sacrifice for sin and the scapegoat carrying the sins of the people away into the wilderness. 
  • 'Staying' and 'remaining' (the same Greek word) in verses 38 and 39 anticipate passages later in the Gospel where the word takes on a much deeper meaning (especially chapter 15, amongst other references). 
  • As the footnote to verse 41 in the NRSV points out, 'anointed' is the meaning of 'Christ' which has become the universal name for Jesus.
  • Similarly, Simon is given a name which suggests a rock-like quality (see the footnote), sadly lacking at the time of the Crucifixion when he denies Jesus (John 18:15-18, 25-27), but demonstrated after the Resurrection in his leadership of the Church.

But these details are incidental to the main point of the passage: Andrew shares his discovery with his brother (as Philip does in verse 45). There is a mystery, however: who was the other person with Andrew in verse 35?


To Ponder

  • What might it involve to follow Andrew's example today in your own situation?
  • What might it mean to 'stay with Jesus' (verse 39)?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England..