He First Findeth His Brother
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus (Jn. 1:35-42).
Every church needs a motivation to grow, to be active teaching the word of God to the lost, converting men to Christ. That motivation must come from the gospel itself. Any unnatural stimulation will be only momentary and misguided. The gospel has the power to motivate men to teach the lost and bring them to Christ, as demonstrated by the book of Acts. The power of the gospel to motivate men in evangelism is seen in this brief scenario when Andrew brought his brother to Christ.
What Andrew Found: The Christ
Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist. John was the divinely appointed harbinger of the Lord; his work was to prepare men to receive the Messiah. His success in this work is indicated by the ready reception which Andrew, Peter, John and James gave Jesus. The day before the events of our recorded text, Andrew and John had heard John identify Jesus as the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29).
The picture of Jesus as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" aroused in the minds of John's disciples the picture of the sacrifice for sin offered at the Temple. A lamb without blemish was sacrificed as an atonement for sin. The identification of Jesus as the Lamb of God, not only emphasizes his meek and gentle character (cf. Isa. 53:7), but also that his blood would be the atonement for sin. The atonement would be offered for "the sin of the world," not merely the Jewish people.
The two disciples identified Jesus as the "one coming after" John who was so superior to him that the Baptist was not worthy to unloose his sandals (Jn. 1:27). When they saw Jesus coming toward them and heard John say again, "Behold the Lamb of God, "they left the Baptist and came to Jesus.
Jesus inquired, "What seek ye?" No doubt these disciples of John were full of contemporary expectations of the Messiah. They looked for an earthly king who would reign and rule over Israel, after overthrowing the Roman army which occupied their land. Perhaps Jesus is asking them, "Are you seeking me for earthly benefits, such as the material wealth, power and popularity which is generally given the friends of a ruling monarch?" The two disciples only requested an opportunity to speak privately with Jesus.
We do not know what was discussed in this lengthy conversation. We only know its outcome. The two disciples go away saying, "We have found the Messias" (1:41). They were elated at what they had found - the Messiah.
He Brought Others Because He Himself First Found Christ
The blind cannot lead the blind to Jesus. Those who do not know Christ cannot lead others to him. Hence, a person must first "know the truth" (Jn. 8:32) before he can teach it to someone else.
Again, the dead cannot impart life to the dead. Had Andrew been unconvinced that Jesus was the Messiah or unimpressed with finding the Messiah he would never have been successful in leading his brother to Jesus. He was successful in leading his brother to Christ because of how much finding the Messiah meant to him.
Have you noticed how this works in earthly affairs? A woman goes shopping and finds a sale on shoes - "Buy one pair at regular price and get the second pair for a penny. " Because of her enthusiasm, she tells her friends and sends them to the shoe store. If this same woman found a sale that said, "Buy one fishing lure at regular price and get the next 10 lures free" she probably would not send the first person to the store because fishing lures are of no interest to her.
Andrew was able to bring others to Christ because of what Christ meant to him. He had read the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. He waited in expectation of his coming. He heard the message of John the Baptist, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Since the kingdom of heaven was important to him, he repented of his sins and was baptized by John in anticipation of its coming. The announcement that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah stirred his heart and he had to tell others. He found the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:44-46).
One reason that we have been so unsuccessful in saving others around us is this: Christ does not mean that much to many of us. We are too distracted with the things we treat as more important - our jobs, our education, our recreation, etc. We are more apt to talk to our friends and neighbors about a ball game and TV program than about Christ because they mean more to us than Christ does. When our hearts are full of Jesus, when we are filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), no power on earth will stop us from telling others about God's saving grace, resulting in our leading others to Christ.
Who He Brought: His Brother
The Scripture says, "He first findeth his brother" (1:41). (The word "first" implies either that he later found others or that the other disciple [John] found his brother [James] afterwards.) How many of us would dare tell our brother, sister, or cousin that we had found the Christ? Cornelius did; he brought together his "kinsmen and near friends" to hear the words of salvation which Peter preached (Acts 10:24). If you are wishing to lead someone to Christ, start with your brother, sister, cousin, or other kinsmen.
Unfortunately, some of us cannot talk to our kinsmen about Christ because these kinsfolks know our lives too well to respect us when we speak. They would accurately judge us to be hypocrites when we spoke to them about Jesus.
The Scriptures point us to other people likely to respond to the word of God. Here are some of them:
(a) The Afflicted. The psalmist recognized that afflictions drove him back to God's word. "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. . . . It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes " (Psa. 119:67,7 1). When you are looking for someone to talk to about Christ, search out among your friends those who have recently experienced some tragedy in their lives - an illness, death, divorce, etc. The afflictions of life will make us more open to the word of God.
(b) The dissatisfied. The word of God teaches that the things of this world cannot satisfy men's deepest longings (Eccl. 1:1-3). We sometimes hear men express their feelings of emptiness. This is a perfect time to speak to them about the abundant life which is in Christ (Jn. 6:35; 10:10).
(c) Those accepting new responsibilities. I have found newly married couples and new parents are sometimes more receptive to Christ's invitation at that time than at other times in life. We always should be looking for opportunities to speak to others about Jesus.
Andrew found his brother to be receptive to Christ and brought him to Jesus. The apostle Peter may never have been a Christian, have preached the sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and have opened the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles had Andrew not brought him to Christ.
We never know what God is able to grow from our planted seed. It may produce thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or one hundredfold. Surely, Peter was one which produced an hundredfold. I think of several others, whom I have known.
A young woman was working at a General Motors plant in Ohio. She was quite attractive and, no doubt, had many opportunities to speak to the men in the plant. Rather than allowing her conversations to degenerate, this woman invited her friends to church with her. One young man came, because of her invitation, was taught the gospel and obeyed it. Later, he decided he wanted to preach and attended the classes in Danville, Kentucky. Today this man is preaching the gospel in Germany. He is Steve Wallace. He is there because a young, unmarried Christian woman brought him to Christ.
A man in Indiana was working as a tool and die maker at Chevrolet. He tried to teach the gospel to every worker with whom he had contact; he still is a diligent worker in God's kingdom. A new apprentice hired on and worked with him. He invited him to worship, taught him the gospel, and later watched him be baptized into Christ. This man also decided to preach. After having successful works in Noblesville and Kokomo, Indiana, he is now having a very successful work in Port Arthur, Texas. He is Max Dawson. He is preaching the gospel because his friend, Jerry Hall from Mooresville, Indiana, brought him to Jesus.
We never know how the Lord might use our talents in his service. Giant oaks grow from small acorns and great good is accomplished by our small efforts to teach the gospel. Lives are changed by the least effort to speak to others for Christ.
What a great lesson is taught in that little verse: "He first findeth his own brother Simon." Are you an Andrew?
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 11, pp. 322, 342-343