Monday, January 31, 2011

Lesson 4: Andrew and Philip

Read John 1:35-46

Video blog (by Mike)

Different Folks, Different Strokes (by Richard)

We saw in week one that Jesus called Peter with a sign -- a net bursting with fish following a night's labor that yielded none. Jesus calls Philip, a Jew from Bethsaida like Peter, without a sign. Why? At the very least, we can glean that Jesus approached different people in different ways that include direct intervention (Paul), signs (Peter) and this encounter with Philip (John 1:43-44). My personal experience confirms this:
  • Jesus called my wife as she listened to the Old Rugged Cross in a rustic church in the woods of New England that sported no electricity.

  • Jesus called me through a direct witnessing experience from a youth leader when I was 11. I prayed the "prayer" for forgiveness that so many of us did. However, after running from the Lord for many years, Jesus called me back with a much more dramatic experience.

  • Jesus called a friend of mine upon his third reading of the Bible in a row, a task he took on after his mom begged him to accompany her to a Christian concert. His testimony sounds cerebral unless you consider Paul's words (1 Corinthians 1:22):
  • Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
    We could read the Bible 100 times and still not get it. There is a New Testament professor at an Ivy League school who is an atheist. When God calls, what seems like foolishness to some becomes the "power ... and wisdom of God".
If we dive into the Greek grammar of this interaction with Philip we see three things obscured by the translation:
  1. When Jesus finds Philip (John 1:43) he literally "keeps on finding" him, that is, this didn't happen in just a moment. Time passed during this "finding" which hints that Jesus was looking specifically for Philip and was committed to finding him. He was/is committed to finding you as well.

  2. After searching for and "finding" Philip, Jesus "says" something to him using the same grammar, so it might be better translated "keeps on saying". This was a conversation with Philip, it's not the one sentence command it appears to be in most English translations. Jesus may seek you in a way that is not dramatic.

  3. The same holds for Jesus' statement: "Follow me." It sounds like a command that Philip would respond to or reject in an instant but that's not true. The Greek language has a clear way of indicating commands and that grammar is not used here. In fact, like our previous two verbs, this can be better translated "keep on following me". Jesus is inviting Philip to continue (keep on having) the conversation they have already begun. In so doing, he is using a decidedly low-key approach to offer to be Philip's Rabbi.
The story of Philip's call illustrates that Jesus sometimes calls us in a way that is less dramatic and is likely tailored to our need. In Mike's video on Andrew, he referred to the one-time beginning of the Christian journey at salvation that happens in a moment and the ongoing work of salvation in our lives. When viewed in the original language, Philip's story trumpets the latter, that we must "keep on choosing" Jesus.

Will you pass on the Rabbi who changed the course of history? He is seeking you in particular and He will meet you on your ground, in the midst of your need. You need only realize your need for His cleansing sacrifice on the cross and accept the forgiveness only He can truly offer and that He paid such a great price to secure.

Perhaps you have already experienced this one-time call when that which was foolish was turned into power and wisdom in your life and yet you're struggling. "Keep on" following Jesus, keep choosing to do so moment to moment and day to day. You will eventually see the shore, you will see that what temporarily looked foolish is instead wise.

Study Questions

Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comment section below for interaction with fellow participants~Thx

1. John the Baptist introduces Andrew to the Lord. (John 1:40) Who was it that introduced you to Jesus and how did it come about?

2. Jesus personally finds Philip and calls him to be His follower. (John 1:43) Do you think a person can come to Christ by himself with just the Lord calling him and no other person involved?

3. Do you find it easy or hard to share the Gospel (tell others about Jesus)?

4. Explain how to lead a person to faith in Christ.

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At February 5, 2011 at 11:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. When I started going back to church with my wife (she was always faithful in attending), there was a young minister that just happened to be appointed as the Pastor of this small church in the country of SC. My oldest daughter was about 2. Thru discipleship and God continually knocking on my door, I turned to Him in earnest. I remember falling to my knees weeping one Friday afternoon, all alone in our house. It was in the kitchen. I said to Him, "Here I am, I don't know if You want all of this that I've become, but here I am." At the time I didn't realize how valuable I was to Him. "Worth the blood of Christ" didn't quite help me to realize my infinite value to God. In answer to question 2, Yes I do think that God can call, and be answered without the initial help of another person.

3. I used to be very apprehensive about approaching someone with the gospel. I think in every Christians journey, they are faced with a question... "Will you do My will, or will you just lead your life as before?" If we choose to answer in the positive, and continue to grow past the milk, realizing it's the responsibility of the Spirit, and not us to SAVE, I think we can't HELP but share. Even if we use no words.

4. I use Romans as a loose model. Admit. Believe. Confess. It also helps to be a friend first, when possible, then present our faith as something concrete and tangible. It cannot stop there though. Salvation is an instant, the journey to follow Christ is a lifetime. Philippians 2:12 "continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"... It's a lifetime journey. I try to keep in touch, suggest discipleship programs, just be a friend to whomever I can. I lead worship for a fairly large church and have seen God move, living, breathing in the worship, and have so seen many come to Christ because of the Holy Spirit's calling just in worship, that I can't possibly befriend all. But it helps to be the friend when you can.

At February 6, 2011 at 7:19 PM , Blogger Marie said...

1. I started going to church via a bus that picked us up as we didn't have a way. I faithfully attended each week and when I was 15 - I asked the Lord into my heart.

2. Yes, God can and does call without the help of another person. Sometimes its a tract that is left, portions of the new testament etc.etc. It's a awesome thing - the Power of God

3. It can be difficult to approach people about their faith - especially if you are fearful of rejection, but remember - YOU are not being rejected and you never know when the seed you sow will be harvested. Give the gospel and no matter what happens...remember Gods word does not come back void.

4. and Like Chris - I use the what is called the Romans Road. - Many say It seems "easy" for us - but trust me... it was not easy. This gift of life is simply that - a gift. All we need to do is accept it.

like Chris -
ADMIT you are a sinner - all have sinned - Rom. 3:23

Believe there is a penalty for our sins - Rom 6:23 AND that Jesus died for our sins.... Rom 5:8

confess and believe in our hearts Rom 10:9 & 10

Eph. 2:8&9 says for by GRACE are you saved through FAITH...not of works, lest any man should boast.

Thank you LORD Jesus for paying the price for me.



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