THE CALL OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES - JOHN 1:35-42
JESUS CALLS THE FIRST DISCIPLES
35The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
38Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So, they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
40One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
42He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
We know from the synoptics, that Lord Jesus was taken by the Holy Spirit to the desert immediately after his baptism (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12) for 40 days. This therefore must have happened after his return.
The synoptics also give us different narratives about the calling of Andrew and Peter.
Matthew and Mark give us a similar story in a brief encompassing manner (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18), while Luke gives us a more detailed account of ‘how’ it happened. John’s account is an event that occurred before Luke’s story, and it is intercalated.
By John’s account, we can gather that Andrew and possibly John himself, the author of the story, were followers of John the Baptist, and were expecting the soon appearance of the Messiah (Jn 1:37,40). These two of John’s disciples approached Lord Jesus by the Baptist’s recommendations, and Jesus invited them to follow Him.
The story jumps in verse 41 to the moment when Andrew tells Simon, his brother about Jesus being the Messiah, but this must have happened a few days later, most probably already in Galilee, where they used to work.
Simon the Galilean was chosen by God before he was born for the important role Lord Jesus had him ordained for. For this reason, he was foretold that first day by Lord Jesus Himself, that he will be called ‘Cephas’ or Peter in Greek, in premonition of his declaration in Matthew 16:18 that Jesus of Nazareth was the “Messiah and the Son of the Living God”.