It’s not even December, but the world around us is nearly half way through their celebration of Christmas already. The decorations, the music, the purchases and the planning have been well under way for nearly a full month. But as usual we Christians are well behind the times. We’re nowhere near ready for Christmas yet, for today we are only just beginning the season of Advent … the season of preparation for the coming of this world’s saviour. No carols for us, no celebrations until the promise comes on Christmas Eve. Our hearts and our mouths – indeed our whole lives must be made ready first. And wouldn’t you know it, as we begin this season of waiting and preparing, we are privileged to see through the celebration of St. Andrew’s Day that we are not alone. We are in very good company.
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. Israel had been waiting for the promise a long time. They understood that there would be no real celebrations, no great release, no true freedom until God’s chosen would come. And so the faithful waited and prepared themselves for the coming of the Messiah. That’s what John and his disciples were doing out there by the Jordan. They were waiting and preparing.
And then it happened! He came! “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John one day proclaims to the astonishment of those around him. What? You mean him? You mean right now? Are you sure? Those gathered hear it, but they had waited for hope so long it was difficult for the message to sink in. A day later John sees Jesus again and again he declares “Behold the Lamb of God!” This time only two are within earshot. The repetition probably shook them out of their shock and aroused their curiosity. Could it really be true? Could he be the one they were waiting for? 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.
The answer of the two men indicated the longing of their hearts. They asked Him where He was lodging but their unspoken wish was that they might spend some time with Him. They were asking if He might take some time to speak to them in private. They were too self-conscious to ask Him about the matters stirring in their hearts. But Jesus understood their thoughts and the longing of their young faith. So He opens His arms, and His home to receive them. His kind invitation: Come and see, come be My guests for today, paves the way to their questioning hearts. They went with Him to His lodging-place. They were His guests and they were given the greatest of gifts. These very ordinary men were given the privilege of becoming personally, and fully acquainted with the Son of God and His message of salvation.
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.
Now the hearts of both men were full of the happiness of their salvation. They felt constrained to let others know of the faith that was in them and of the One that inspired it. Andrew was so captivated by his time with Christ and the attention He gave them so abundantly and eagerly that he proceeded straight away, with all eagerness, to the capture of others. Before doing anything else, Andrew therefore set out to find his brother Simon. His heart was full, and out of that fullness his mouth could not help but speak. Andrew tells him that the waiting was over, the promise now fulfilled to all Israel, they had found the Messiah, the Christ of the prophecies.
And what’s more, Andrew was not satisfied with the mere telling of the news, oh no! He felt constrained to also bring his brother Simon to Jesus. No telling about Jesus, that is not enough! No he must introduce them, in person so his brother can see for himself. Here was an opportunity not to be wasted! Here was a man not to be missed! Why? Because this Jesus truly is 36“the Lamb of God!” , the very sacrifice of God – given to God – to to cover the sins of the world. The One come down from heaven to be lifted up upon a cross. The one whose blood will bring new life causing death to pass over. He is 38“Rabbi” the Teacher of all that is true and right and godly. Every Word from His mouth is the very Word of Life, laying bare the sinful heart and washing it in the soothing love and mercy of the Lord. He is the 41“Messiah” (the Christ). The anointed one, the one sent by God to save His people, the one who is God in the midst of His people. Why speak about Him when He is right there wanting that we might speak with Him?
Romans 10:14But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
This was a concept that Andrew not only understood, but lived … before these words by Paul were even penned. Andrew has no prominence in the Gospels, by all accounting he is a man of little worldly note. But when we do glimpse him, he is always doing the same thing, bringing others to Christ. Andrew does this on three occasions, this being the first. Later, he will bring a boy with loaves and fishes to Jesus (6:8-9). Finally, he will bring a group of Greeks (12:20-22). From the very beginning, Jesus gathered around him the most ordinary people. People like Andrew, ordinary people who possess only ordinary gifts, still do most of Christ’s work today. If only highly talented people responded to Christ’s call, the church would be stunted and crippled.
On this day to remember St. Andrew, this day that begins our season of preparation for the Lord’s coming, I pray that Christ would touch our hearts as He once did that very shy and ordinary fellow. The same eagerness to know Jesus and to hear the Word of redemption should characterize all believers of all times. True thankfulness for the welcoming grace of Jesus that leads us to live as His eager disciples. The same missionary zeal should fill the hearts of all Christians today. Going out with the simple invitation to come and see Him for yourself. Going out to bring others to Christ, one at a time – the actual work of the Gospel being done among the very members of Christ’s congregations. It’s the only way it works, dear friends. Meeting Christ your Saviour personally, believing in Christ your Redeemer, and then going out to invite others in. One by one. You and them. Behold His servants eager to share the invitation … Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”