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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 401-450 (The Death - Three)

F.E. Marsh :: 434. The First Disciples of Jesus

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JOHN 1:35-51

As the sea is deeper the farther one advances into it, so the experience of the disciples of Christ deepens as it goes on.

  1. Looking to Jesus (John 1:36). The message of John the Baptist is, “Behold the Lamb of God.” We must not forget that John had already spoken of Christ to his disciples as the Sin-Bearer (John 1:29), and as the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). John seems to say to his followers, “I pointed you to Jesus as the Lamb of God, and as the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit yesterday, and now to-day I direct your attention to the Person of Jesus as your Example in the character of the Lamb of God. See His lowly attitude, mark His loving manner, ponder His compassionate actions, note His spotless character, meditate upon His gentle love, muse upon His righteous life, behold His lovely Person, and imitate Him, and thus follow Him. But remember, that you must first have looked to Him as the One who has removed your sins from your conscience, on the ground of His sacrificial death, and have received from Him the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, before you will have power to follow Him. And remember, all this comes by beholding Him. Gaze upon Him till you become like Him, even as the flowers reflect the glory of the sun, being beautified by the colours that they draw from it, through their being in it, and looking towards it.”
    The beholding that John enjoins upon his disciples is no passing glance, but as Godet says, “The word indicates a penetrating look which searches its object to its depths.”
  2. Following after Jesus (John 1:37). In the disciples of John following Jesus, we have an illustration of what follows looking to Him. They who look to Christ place themselves under the charm of His personal power, and are drawn after Him, even as the needle will fly to the load-stone the moment it comes under its influence.
    To follow Christ means the denial of self, and cross bearing. It is reported of Agrippina, the mother of Nero, on being told “that if ever her son came to be an emperor he would be her murderer,” she made the reply, “I am content to perish, if he may be Emperor.” What she said vain-gloriously, we should be willing to say and do in following Christ-Perish the self-life, so long as Christ is Lord of our life, and the inspiration of our actions.
  3. Abiding with Jesus (John 1:39). Abiding with Christ is the result of following Him. To abide with Christ means to live in the consciousness of His presence, and to have fellowship with Him. We little know how much the desciples learnt during their stay with Jesus, but it must have been very precious, for “all the sweetness of a recollection was still living in the heart of the evangelist at the moment of his writing.” They who abide with Christ are sure to receive some hallowed revelation from Him, as the two disciples found, who were journeying to Emmaus, when in answer to their prayer “Abide with us,” He went in to abide with them (Luke 24:29, R.V.), and while in the house, at the evening meal, He made Himself known to them as He broke the bread and blessed it (Luke 24:30-32).
  4. Testimony for Jesus (John 1:41-45). Both Andrew and Philip bear testimony to having found the Christ, and invite Peter and Nathaniel to the One they have found. We little know the power of individual effort. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, and Peter was used in one day in bringing 3,000 to Christ. Let the following table speak for itself. If one hundred believers were each to bring one soul to Christ in the course of a year, and each one brought to Christ was to bring one other to Him in the course of a year, how many would be converted in the course of twenty-five years?
    First year, 100. Thirteenth year, 409,600.
    Second year, 200. Fourteenth year, 819,200.
    Third year, 400. Fifteenth year, 1,638,400.
    Fourth year, 800. Sixteenth year, 3,276,800.
    Fifth year, 1,600. Seventeenth year, 6,553,600.
    Sixth year, 3,200. Eighteenth year, 13,107,200.
    Seventh year, 6,400. Nineteenth year, 26,214,400.
    Eighth year, 12,800. Twentieth year, 52,428,800.
    Ninth year, 25,600. Twenty-first year, 104,857,600.
    Tenth year, 51,200. Twenty-second year, 209,715,200.
    Eleventh year, 102,400. Twenty-third year, 419,430,400.
    Twelfth year, 204,800. Twenty-fourth year, 838,860,800.
    Twenty-fifth year, 1,677,721,600.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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