Jesus’ First Followers

Week 18 | Section 28

Jesus' First FollowersIn today’s reading, Jesus is recognized again as the Lamb of God and gathers first five followers. We can learn quite bit of Evangelism 101 observing how Jesus begins his relational ministry and continued on to invite them to be his disciples.


John 1:35-51
35 Again, the next day,1 John was standing with two of his disciples,2 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”3¯4 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.5 38 Jesus turned and saw them following,6 and said to them, “What are you looking for?”7  They said to him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them,“Come, and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is by interpretation, Peter). 43 On the next day, he was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him,“Follow me.”8  44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”9 Philip said to him, “Come and see.”10 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him,“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”11 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!”12 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I told you, ‘I saw you underneath the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these!”13 51 He said to him,“Most certainly, I tell you all, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Group Dialog:

  1. Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus (or a church-goer)? Why?
  2. Who shared the Good News with you? To whom have you had the opportunity to share the Gospel, or your conversion story?
  3. What is the present spiritual need… in your life? …in the souls of those whom you know are still not Jesus disciple? What an you do to share the Good News with them?
  4. Of those ‘names of Jesus’ in this passage which comforts/encourages you most?

Learning Objectives:

evangelism, friendship evangelism, obstacles to faith, words of knowledge,

Study Notes:

  1. This is the second day after John was questioned by the Sanhedrin, probably fewer than 50 days after Jesus’ Baptism (John 1:29,35).
  2. One of these is Andrew (vs 40), the other is thought to be the Apostle John himself. Andrew is the one who finds the boy with the barley loaves and the fish. It may be that his vocational ministry was that of an evangelist.
  3. Remembering that John’s father was a priest, he no doubt had a good understanding of the Messiah (Isa 53:10) and the role of the Lamb of God in reference to the Passover and preservation of the Israelites (Ex 29). The destruction of the temple had happened almost one hundred years before, but they still sought to satisfy the law. Thankfully, within three years Jesus would be crucified and then once and for all satisfy the law.
  4. In the context of this story the Jewish people were active in worship (even without the temple in Jerusalem). In the western culture, particularly west of  the Rockies, people are still searching to find the source of life, and freedom from their troubles.
  5. See how with only John’s affirmation these two begin to follow Jesus. These two followers will later become disciples, and then Apostles. Many “church goers” are really followers, but they are not really disciples, not are they making disciples.
  6. It was a volitional act of Andrew and John, Jesus hadn’t even invited them to follow.
  7. This is a rabbinical approach to invoke growth in the disciple. Its a perfect question for the Sunday visitor.
  8. The night has passed and now Jesus goes to Philip and invite him to come follow him. In phase two of discipleship the primary discipline is one of incarnational ministry.
  9. This was an old cynical saying about the little town.
  10. Hold your judgement. Live with the question longer. These are good habits for the learner.
  11. Nothing wily about him, no guile, he is true-hearted, sincere inquirer.
  12. Jesus’ word of knowledge was enough to convince Nathanael.
  13. Indeed he Does. This site provides a wonderful biographical sketch of Nathanael and the earliest of Jesus disciples.

By Greg Troxell

Disciple, entrepreneur and catalytic leader. Advocate of the sharing economy. Ministering to youth, new Christians, and equipping the saints. Developing the Emotivational practice. Founder of