Wednesday 30 November 2016

Bible Book:

] first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed).” (v. 41)

John 1:35-42 Wednesday 30 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 27


Writing this in Scotland, it feels particularly important toremember and celebrate St Andrew, the patron saint of this land whoin these verses, as in other places in John's Gospel (John6:8), is discovered bringing people to Jesus. Perhaps you arereading these notes in Russia, Greece, Barbados or one of the manyother lands which have Andrew as patron saint too? It is notsurprising to find that Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen andfishmongers, but maybe a little less obvious to discover that he isalso considered to watch over pregnant women and butchers and toprovide protection against sore throats and whooping cough!

In The Gospel according to St John, C K Barrettdescribes this passage as a bridge in which we see the firstdisciples moving over from John the Baptist and Judaism to Jesusand the new fulfilment he brings. In these early stages they arequestioning, wondering, pondering. Jesus responds to theirenquiring minds as he invites them to "Come and see" (v. 39)."Nothing is more important," says Barrett, "than to know whereJesus abides and may be found."

There are several uses in the passage of the Greek verb "menein"- meaning to stay, remain or, perhaps, abide (see verses 38 and39). This too is notable in Scotland, where the question "Where areyou staying?" (v. 38) would mean "Where do you live?" not "What isyour temporary abode?", so we wonder exactly what these twodisciples did want to know of Jesus. There is further wordplay onthe verb 'to follow'. On the surface this is used here to mean thesimple physical act of going behind someone else (verses 37-38);for the writer, however, there may have been a deeper meaningimplied, that of choosing the path of discipleship and becomingfollowers of Jesus.

In John's narrative, Andrew meets Jesus before Simon Peter does,yet he is described in relation to Peter. No doubt this reflectsthe fact that, by the time the Gospel was written and circulated,Simon Peter would be much better known than the brother who firstintroduced him to Jesus. But Andrew is given the first announcementof Jesus as Messiah and he rightly holds a significant place in thestory of discipleship. The identity of his companion is not given,but has traditionally been thought to be John, the 'beloveddisciple' who, in turn, is traditionally considered to be theauthor of the fourth Gospel. Although beyond the realms of proof,all this is plausible; we see that the writer clearly has detailedknowledge of this encounter, down to the time of day and the wordsspoken.

At the end of the story, the focus is on Simon as Jesus looks athim (one senses there is a deeper meaning to that verb as well -looking and seeing is always a theme in John) and then gives him anew name, Cephas, or Peter, the rock (verse 42). In this way Jesusdeclares what Simon Peter will later become.

To Ponder

  • Do you have any plans to mark St Andrew's Day today?Appropriately it is the day when the Methodist Church in Scotlandis prayed for in the MethodistPrayer Handbook, so that's a good place to start.
  • Ponder the words of C K Barrett today; "Nothing is moreimportant than to know where Jesus abides and may be found". Seehow this impacts on your day.
  • Here, and in almost every other scenario, Andrew iseclipsed by his brother Simon Peter. How do you react whenothers appear to receive more attention or glory? Today may be aday to rejoice in being an Andrew!

Previous Page Tuesday 29 November 2016
Next Page Thursday 01 December 2016