“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37).
John preached and two men followed Jesus. Over the next several days, three more would add to their company. When we look at those five men who first came to be followers of Jesus, we discover a most interesting thing. We see the diverse way in which the Lord brings us to Himself. And in this quintet of early disciples, we discover at least five ways that God’s Spirit works to influence us today as followers of Jesus.
The first two disciples, Andrew and John, represent the first two ways the Holy Spirit works in our hearts today – the Scripture, and the Preaching of the Word. They heard John preach, and followed Jesus. It still happens this way today. Some respond because they read a passage of Scripture that ignites their hearts with faith. Others hear a sermon that moves them to repentance.
Peter, the third to follow, represents those who come to Christ through the influence in the home; it was Andrew, Peter’s brother, who brought him to Jesus. Perhaps someone in your family has helped you find your way into the Savior’s arms.
Philip follows as the fourth. We are told that Jesus found him, and said “Follow Me.” Philip represents those who mysteriously, and unmistakably hear the voice of the Lord calling to them in the depths of their own soul – and they respond.
Finally, we come to Nathaniel, a devout man of faith who was brought to Jesus when Philip went and found him, saying, “Come and see.” Nathaniel represents those who come to Jesus through the influence of friends who care about them.
As you reflect upon your own story – how did Jesus bring you to Himself? To be sure, once we fully follow the Lord we will have rich experience in all these many ways that He speaks to our hearts; but which one was the first for you?
For me, it was the mysterious, unmistakable hearing of God’s voice speaking personally to my heart. Yes, I had read many Bible stories and heard multiple sermons – but yet I was not moved by these things to become a follower of Jesus. There was no family influence for me either, for my family was broken and scattered. Nor was there any friend who sought me out with the glad news of a Savior’s love. Still, I am a follower of Jesus today – because He sought me out and called me to Himself.
And you know, He is doing the same for you – one way, or another!