John 1:41 “We have found the Messiah. which is being interpreted, the Christ”
These were the words of Andrew to his brother Simon Peter and apparently John’s words to his brother James after they had first met Jesus and spent some time with him and were convinced Jesus was the promised Messiah.. “We have found him.”
Actually, Jesus found them, just as it is true Jesus found us. Jesus has found every single believer from that time until the present. John 14:6 “No man came come to the Father except by me,” The thought of the text seems to be that of progressive order, first the Father draws by the word of the truth, for none can come to Christ except through the Father. After the Father has drawn our Lord Jesus as our counselor and guide leads us to more and more truth. James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”
After Jesus baptism and spirit begetal the heavens were opened unto him and he then understood the plan of God for the redemption of the human race and his part in that plan: therefore he immediately began to call those who would be the foundation of his Church.
Andrew, John, Peter and James were the first to find him. They were among the first to be called. They were not what many would expect. They were fishermen toiling regularly of the Sea of Galilee. They were not highly educated but they were well schooled in the Word of God, they mention Moses, the Law and the Prophets! Notice, Jesus could have gone to Jerusalem, the city of religious learning, to the clergy: but he didn’t. When Mary and I visited Israel we spent quite a bit of time right on the rocky beach at the sea of Galilee because we had friends who managed the YMCA near Tiberius. We would see the fisherman every morning tossing their nets into the sea, just as they did in Jesus day. In fact the fisherman we saw were probably descendants of the early fishermen. I know the fish I ate were descendants of the very fish of O.T. times. They call them St Peters fish and sometimes serve them baked whole with a coin in their mouth. They say the fishermen of the Galilee are still a very independent lot. They are self employed and separate themselves from the land people. It was four of these fishermen who 1st recognized our Lord Jesus.
There are several reasons why they were looking for messiah at that time. Luke 3:15 “As the people were in expectation,” the time was ripe. The nation of Israel was at peace, they were doing well under the rule of the Romans, and they were at the same time looking forward in anticipation to the fulfillment of the promises of Almighty God, that He would send them a great King who would lead their nation to the glory they had enjoyed during the reign of David and Solomon. They then in turn would bless all the families of the earth as been promised by Moses and all the Holy Prophets since the world began.
The Old Testament revealed all the predictions of the character, offices and sacrificial work of the Savior and was the source of all their hopes. These sacred writings, learned from childhood were familiar to every Israelite. The covenant that Jehovah God had made with Abraham was a basis of belief for all Israelites. Genesis 22:17,18 [That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.] The promised seed and the blessing of all the families of earth threads its way through the O.T. from Abraham to Jesus.
The seed of Abraham begins with his son ISAAC (not Ishmaell) This thought is somewhat contested in the Middle East today but the truth is given in Genesis 17:19 [And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.]
THE LINE OF JACOB (Israel) Genesis 28:4 [And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.]
OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH Genesis 49:8-10 [Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.](Shiloh: the Prince of Peace)
OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID 2 Samuel 7:12,13 [And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.]
The Prophet Isaiah adds the information about the birth of Jesus. Isaiah 7:14 [Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.] (God with us) Jesus had many names and titles Isaiah 9:6 [For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.]
Genesis 3:15 [And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.] Genesis 3:15 refers to the “seed of the woman” that would eventually bruise the serpents head. Gentiles and Jews understand the seed of the woman to be Messiah, what they don’t understand is that the seed of the woman is the son of God, a mighty son of mankind who will deal the final blow. Mark, it is the seed of the woman that shall do this; for he is to be the Son of God, born of a woman, and not a son of Adam, in which case he would have become an heir of the just penalty of death and could not have redeemed us by a spotless sacrifice. God was the life-giver, the father of the immaculate Son of Mary: and therefore that “holy thing” that was born of her was called the Son of God, as well as the seed of the woman, and because thus through her a partaker of the human nature. He was called the Son of Man, of mankind. He was the “Seed of the Woman.” “The Son of God” and the “Son of Man.”
He was to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, The City of David. Micah 5:2 [But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.]
Adding to all these promises and prophecies comes the words of the great Prophet Moses, the servant of God who had led the Jewish nation from the bondage of Egypt across the wilderness to the promised land. Deuteronomy 18:15 [The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;]
As we have said the general expectation was to expect Messiah at that time. Thirty years before even the Gentile Princes (the wise men) had come to Jerusalem seeking the new King of the Jews and the news of his birth had been spread in Israel. Some believed, and many of course didn’t believe. The wise men found the babe in Bethlehem, only 10 miles from Jerusalem, but they didn’t report back to Herod, who sought to destroy the new king by slaying all the children in Bethlehem, but God had warned Joseph and he and Mary and the child went safely to Egypt by night.
God has always kept His people informed. Abraham and Lot knew of the destruction of Sodom beforehand. Noah knew of the flood in time to build the ark, and was told the very day that he would go into it. So at the time of Jesus birth, they were in expectation, not for the babe, born in Bethlehem but for a great king who would establish the long promised kingdom of God on earth.
Bible Chronology, we believe, was studied and understood by many of the faithful at that time. While any prophecies combine to fix and confirm the date of the 2nd coming of Christ, only the Prophet Daniels prophecy of the 70 weeks marked the date of the 1st advent.
Daniel 9:25 [Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.] 69 weeks of years. It should be noticed that the 69 symbolic weeks or 483 years reach unto the Messiah the Prince and not to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The Hebrew word Messiah corresponding to the Greek word Christ means anointed and is a title rather than a name. Jesus was not anointed Messiah, the Christ until his baptism and spirit begetal.
The date of the order to rebuild the city and the walls of Jerusalem were well known by the faith-ful at that time and at least some of them by adding the 69 weeks of years were in expectation of Messiah arrival..
I believe it must have been the promises that God made to Abraham on which the majority of the Jews relied, for these promises are so promenade and so easy to understand. Abraham was called “a friend of God” and Abraham believed God and Abraham walked with God. He did the will of God obediently and without question and God promised Abraham that He would make him a great nation, that He would make his name great, that He would bless his friends and curse his enemies. God promised to Abraham and his seed all the land from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates for an everlasting possession. Friends, God had promised the nation of Israel the whole middle east forever.
This is Gods’ will and about time the Arabs, the Americans and all the other nations recognize this and begin to seek and do the will of God.
God will multiply the seed of Abrahams seed as the stars of heaven and the sand which is upon the seashore.
And this is the best part, Genesis 22:18 [And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.] All the nations, not only Israel, but through Israel, all the families of the earth.
If this was not enough, the Law Covenant was added to Abrahams Covenant. Briefly, if the Children of Israel could keep Gods law as given to them through Moses they could live forever. But the Law was perfect and they were not, still their efforts to obey that law made them better and prepared them to receive Messiah.
They could not keep the Law of God and could not earn life eternal because of their fallen flesh but still they received hope from the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah 31:31-33 [Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.]
With all this evidence on which to build their faith we can readily see why these young fishermen from Galilee were watching and waiting and looking to see all these prophecies fulfilled. So they were ready when a voice was heard of one crying in the wilderness as had been written by Isaiah 40:3 [The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.]
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven, is at hand.”
Malachi 3:1 [Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.] John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out to him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel hair, and with a girdle of skin about his loins, and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached saying, there cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he baptized him. And Jesus when baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, low the heaven were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo a voice from heaven saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am very pleased.” And our Lord immediately left the area of the Jordan River and went off into the wilderness for 40 days.
In proportion as the people believed Johns message and acted thereon, in that same proportion they were made ready for Jesus ministry and the further truth of the Gospel, and they came from all over Israel to listen, to repent and to be baptized. The fishermen from the Galilee were among those who came and who evidently stayed as Johns disciples for awhile. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John whether he were the Christ, or not. This speculation caused the Jewish clergy in Jerusalem to send priests and Levites to ask him, “Who art thou? Are you the Christ?” “No” “Then who are you?” Tell us so we may answer to them that sent us. John answered by quoting from the Prophets the fact he had been given the honorable position of declaring Jesus to be the Messiah.
The next day, (at least 42 days after our Lords baptism) John saw Jesus returning from the wilderness and to those Priests and Levites he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. This is he whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.” John bare record to them that God had told him to baptize with water and that the one upon whom he should see the spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptiseth with the Holy Spirit. Then John told them as plain as was possible, “And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
It was the very next day after this testimony to the priests and Levites that John the Baptist in the presence of two of his disciples, Andrew and John the fishermen from the Galilee, looking intently upon Jesus as he passed near, exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
This was the same testimony (only abbreviated) that he had given to the priests and Levites, and which had evidently fallen, in their case, on dull ears. But look at the difference in the case of the two faithful Israelites who having searched the scriptures were ready to accept the testimony of the Holy Prophets, including John and they immediately followed Jesus.
Johns testimony became to them the drawing power of God, because they were in a condition of heart to be susceptible to that influence. Thus we see clearly illustrated how some are drawn and others are not drawn by the same message. God draws by a word of truth.
We all know from experience that this is true. Even in our own families the true message of salvation has been lovingly received by some, rejected by some, while others just consider the truth to be another nice, interesting religious view.
The Lord is seeking not merely the curious but the truth hungry, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and for fellowship with himself, and here, as in every instance, he that seeketh, in this proper attitude of heart, findeth.
The two disciples had not followed the Lord far until their faith and zeal began to be rewarded the Lord turned to them and was the first to speak, “What seek ye?” And he thus illustrated his own words respecting those drawn of the Father to him. “He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
What is the drawing power that our Lord uses to gather disciples? It is the truth, maybe just one word of truth to a listening ear at the right time will become the beginning of an understanding of the wonderful arrangement that God has made for the redemption of the fallen human race.
The young fishermen were searching for a Prince, a King, a life giver and so are we. They were drawn to Jesus by the Word of Gods Holy Prophets and so are we. We, therefore, join them in saying “We have found Him.”