• Tony Birkhead

Commitment



Every Risk takes commitment! How committed are you to the Risk you need to take?

Many of us consider ourselves Risk Takers while others don’t think they are. The truth is we all take risk every single day. When it comes to following Jesus, it comes with lots of Risks! It takes commitment to follow Him. When was the last time you stepped out and chose to Risk Everything in following Him?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Matthew 4:18-22, John 1:35-45)

1. Tell about a risk you took as a kid?

2. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken lately?

3. What are most people looking for in life today? Why do you believe that?

4. In what ways was Jesus’ question in John 1:38 so unexpected and challenging?

5. What was the last thing you discovered that was so good, you could hardly wait to tell someone?

6.When you have good news to share, who is the first person you want to tell?

The calling of the first disciples continued the very next day. When Jesus saw Philip, He stopped and told him to “Follow Me!” Philip did what Andrew had done the day before – he went to someone he cared for, Nathanael, and challenged him to come and meet with Jesus. Philip believed Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.

A wonderful pattern emerges in these verses. Jesus calls people to “Follow Me,” and those people in turn call others to “come and see” – and to follow Jesus as well. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you can ask friends and family to “come and see” Jesus, too. That was the pattern among Jesus’ first disciples. They were called. They called others.

MOVING FORWARD

  • Have you ignored Jesus’ calling you to be a disciple? If yes, what do you believe He wants you to do?

  • Which of your friends, classmates, or neighbors could you introduce to Jesus? How might you lead them to “come and see”?

COMMENTARY

Matthew 4:18-22

Jesus’ command, Follow Me, urged the disciples not just to accompany Him on His travels but to follow His example and emulate His character. Following Jesus involved significant sacrifice for Simon... Andrew... James, and John. They abandoned their careers as fishermen. The words they left... their father indicate that following Jesus also required the disciples to place commitment to Jesus above commitment to their own families (10:37; 19:29).

John 1:35-45

1:35. On the next day John used the message of verse 29 again, but this time in the company of two of his disciples, Andrew (see v. 40) and probably John (who would become the apostle John). They had met John the Baptist, been impressed with him and his message, and joined his group of disciples. John the Baptist was not jealous of their interest in Jesus, for this was the purpose of his ministry. He told people that Jesus was far greater than he (1:15,27,30). One of the impressive things about John the Baptist was his total devotion to his mission to magnify Jesus.

John the Baptist was a prophet-preacher who delivered the same message to large numbers of people and could go one-on-one with anyone who would listen. Some who proclaim the gospel are courageous before large groups, but they are unwilling to witness to small groups or individuals.

1:36-39. After John the Baptist pointed Andrew and John to Jesus, they began to follow Jesus about. Jesus confronted them and asked what they were seeking. They asked Him where He was staying. Jesus invited them to go with Him. He said, Come and see. They went with Him. It was about the tenth hour. If John was using the Roman method of counting time, which begins a new day at midnight, this “was about 10 in the morning” (HCSB). If he was using the Jewish method, which begins the day at dawn it was “about four o’clock in the afternoon”(CEV). In either case, they abode with him that day. If they arrived at 4 p.m., they may have talked into the night and ended up there all night. Later in Jesus’ teachings He called for people to abide in Him. We are not aware of the content of their talk on that first day of literally abiding with Him. They may have asked Him to tell them about how He would be the Lamb of God. When He later tried to prepare the disciples for His death and resurrection, they had trouble understanding. But now in light of the resurrection we see how Jesus acted as Lamb of God, dying for our sins.

On that first day Andrew and John followed Jesus to where He was staying. Later they became followers in a deeper sense. They accompanied Jesus on His journeys, but they also followed Him in faith and obedience.

We need to take John the Baptist as an example of a witness for Jesus. John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He was privileged to see that Jesus was the Lamb of God, but he did not live to witness how He did this. Like many prophets, John the Baptist spoke of something he did not fully understand; but God led him to make this proclamation of what Jesus’ followers saw later in His death and resurrection. We know that Jesus is our Paschal Lamb who died for our sins and rose victorious over sin and death. We—like John the Baptist—need to call people to look to Jesus; and we need to tell what He did.

1:40. Andrew’s name is mentioned for the first time in verse 40. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist. Now he followed Jesus. The two mentioned in these verses were among the first to follow Jesus in discipleship and service. Following Jesus means more than walking with Him down the road. It means commitment and obedience.

1:41-42. Andrew is introduced to readers of the first century as Simon Peter’s brother. Peter’s name was more well-known than Andrew’s by the time the Gospels were written, so this reference would help identify both men. Andrew first findeth his own brother. First shows the importance and urgency of sharing this discovery with his brother. To do this, he had to seek his brother. And when he found Simon, he brought him to Jesus. He didn’t force him, but he did bring him. He brought him with his testimony about Jesus, and Simon went with him.

Many Christians have a brother or another close relative who has not followed Jesus. We can seek to bring them to Jesus. Later in the story of Jesus we find Andrew again leading people to Jesus. John the Gospel writer was showing his readers that this was what Andrew did best. He began with his brother, but he was also the disciple who brought to Jesus the boy whose lunch was multiplied to feed 5,000 men and their families (6:8-9). Andrew also brought to Jesus a group of inquiring Greeks (12:20-22). Andrew was one of the Twelve, but he was not as well known as Simon Peter. However, Andrew had one talent much to be desired—he brought people to Jesus.

Andrew’s witness to Simon Peter was straightforward, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. John, in writing the Gospel, knew that many Gentiles would be reading this, so he explained that Messiah meant the Christ or “Anointed One” (HCSB). We are not told of Peter’s immediate response when he met Jesus, perhaps because of what Jesus said to him: Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. Both the Aramaic word Cephas and the Greek word Peter mean Rock. Peter did not quickly become a rock, but eventually he did. Jesus’ words to Simon illustrate His ability to see us not as we are, but as we can become by His transforming power. We also are not told what Simon said when Jesus spoke to him.

1:43-49. Philip went off to find another friend, telling Nathanael about their discovery, and mentioning Nazareth in his announcement. Nathanael asked a question which, though probably intended quite innocently at the time, has become a cliché among Bible students: Can anything good come from there?

Philip wasted no time arguing the point. He took Nathanael (also called Bartholomew in the New Testament) directly to Jesus. Again Jesus stunned a future disciple with his first words. He affirmed Nathanael as a genuine student of the Torah—a righteous Jew taught to live in accordance with all the light he had.

Upon learning about the Lord’s omniscience—having known his exact location even before Philip found him—Nathanael, like John the Baptist, declared Jesus the Son of God and added, “You are the King of Israel.” The phrase under the fig tree was used in rabbinical literature to describe meditation on the law. Nathanael had apparently been reading Genesis 28. Jesus contrasted Jacob’s guile with Nathanael’s integrity.

#risk #commitment #follow

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