ONE OF THE TWO
John 1:40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 43 ¶ The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Days of Gospel Beginnings
The beginnings of verses 29, 35, and 43 all let us know that each of these succeeding days are of great importance in the beginning of the gospel era! For verse 29 has us notice, “The next day.” And verse 35 states, “Again the next day.” And verse 43 draws our attention to, “The day following!” These are essential days of events that must take place for the gospel to finally come to America’s shores! For these were “the times before appointed,” in order for the remaining gospel history to fall out in their respective places!
Days of Small Beginnings
Zech. 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? You will notice that our passage begins with the words, One of the two! It is not “one of the hundreds!” The gospel days begin with just two of John the Baptist’s disciples and our Lord Jesus! For gospel progress is likened unto sowing seed. We know that the Lord is that seed! (Gal. 3:16). And he tells us that except that seed fall into the ground, and die, it will abide alone! But if it die, it will bring forth much fruit! (John 12:24). And James 5:7 instructs us that farmers must have patience, waiting for the precious fruit of the earth! The Harlot church likes wildfire type speed and fury! But our Lord here just starts out with – One of the Two!
And the one that he begins with is Andrew, whose name means, “a man!” For God always chooses the weak and base things to reveal his own glory! (1 Cor. 1:27). Not only is he just one of the two, and only a man, and not some superstar, he is always known by his association with his brother! For he is identified as, “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.”
Yet, without that association, humanly speaking, we would not have the church’s spokesperson on the day of Pentecost! For Andrew always had a specific character trait that was used by the Spirit throughout his ministry. He always brought those he found to Jesus! In John 6:8-9, he brings the lad with the small lunch to Jesus and the multitudes get fed! And in John 12:23-24, he aids Philip in getting the Greeks to Christ! He’s just one of the two, but he was ordained to help begin the gospel day that would shine forth around the entire world! For He first findeth his own brother Simon … and he brought him to Jesus!
What’s In Your Hand?
When Moses would have some assurance from God that the Hebrews down in Egypt would accept him as being sent from God for their deliverance, God asks him a simple question. “What is that in thine hand?” This is not what one might expect, when asking for help with self confidence! But the answer was at that time being gripped in the very hand of Moses! Moses replies, “A rod!” After the Lord shows Moses the snake in that upon which he leans, he becomes more confident that the Lord shall go with him. For he comes to see that he already possess a rod which shall prove to be the comfort of the Lord’s people! (Psa. 23:4b thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.) Dear Reader, we should do with our might what our hands find to do. We should be confident in the fact that we are what we are by the grace of God! (1Cor 15:10). For the Lord God has always used just everyday people like us to accomplish his glorious purposes!
He First Findeth
There is another unusual thing that we become aware of by a careful reading of our passage. That is, the Lord Jesus was planning to go to Bethsaida anyway! And we read that Bethsaida was “the city of Andrew and Peter!” If Christ was going to see Philip in Peter’s city, why didn’t Andrew just wait and let him kill two birds with one stone? Because Andrew never allowed convenience to cool his godly zeal!
Why seek out the lad with the little lunch if the Lord Jesus is going to preform a miracle and feed the thousands? And why aid Philip to bring the Greeks to Christ, if all that the Father giveth him shall come to him? “If God is going to save the elect anyhow, why even preach?” Because God is not going to save the elect “anyhow!” He is going to save them “God’s how!” And “God’s how” commands us to preach the word to every creature! We are instructed to do all we do for the glory of God, and not for any lesser reasons!
A New Name Given
“IF” Andrew would not have “First” sought out Peter, again, humanly speaking, Peter would have missed the day of his salvation! The Lord didn’t intend to save Peter the next day in Bethsaida! He intended that this day (remember the importance of these days of gospel beginnings!), would be the time before appointed for Peter’s entrance into the kingdom of light!
What one day would you be willing to give up since coming savingly to Christ? Which day would you choose to say, “I’ll just remain in my sin one more day!” Psa. 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Would you not be eternally thankful for the urgency that the Spirit of God placed in your natural brother, Andrew’s heart to seek you out, regardless of whether Jesus was coming down to your city the next day? Wouldn’t you rather be thrilled to enter into Bethsaida with Christ for the first time as a new creature?
The Lord Jesus tells Simon what his old name was, given him from his natural birth. Then he tells him of his new name as he grants him spiritual birth! It is not visibly seen in the transaction. For the Spiritual Wind bloweth where he wills, and none can tell of His coming and going. And so is every one who is born of the Spirit!
Christ’s dealings with Peter here in John one reminds us of his words to the church in Pergamos, as recorded in Revelation 2:17. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Simon’s name was changed to “a stone.”
A Condemned City
Even though Andrew, Philip and Peter were chosen to be disciples of the Lord, and all came from the city of Bethsaida, this did not prevent that city from becoming notoriously wicked!
Luke 10:13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
Nor was this city great, or glorious because the Lord found there “a desert place” for his restful privacy (Luke 9:10). Nor did it benefit from having such glorious heavenly guests as our Lord Jesus Christ, Andrew, Peter, and Philip! In fact, it was exactly the opposite! America is not great because she has been favored with those gospel champions, of whom the world was not worthy (Heb. 11:38), nor that the gospel has been vigorously declared! But she shall be highly condemned because she has not believed that gospel!
Pastor Gene Breed