A Failure to Understand

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

John 1:41

A few years ago, an actor moved into a house near me.  We’re quite a small community, so I often see him around.  I knew he was an actor, but had never really heard about him before.  I assumed that he was a small, unknown actor – the kind who crops up in Casualty or The Bill now and again.  When I mentioned to a friend of mine that this particular actor lived near me, he was very impressed.  Now I realise that he is a big-name Hollywood star, and always try to see his films.  I knew that my neighbour was an actor, but hadn’t quite grasped how significant this was.

I often wonder why the first disciples left their jobs to follow Jesus.  They did not know a great deal about him when they decided to drop what they were doing and follow him.  I guess there must have been something quite remarkable for them to give everything up to be with Jesus.  Here in John’s gospel, though, we can see right from their very first meeting with Jesus, they recognised him as the Messiah, the Christ.  Andrew, upon encountering Jesus, rushes off to tell his brother, Simon Peter, that they have found the Messiah.

Whilst Andrew recognised who Jesus was, however, he failed to grasp the significance of this.  The gospels are full of occasions when the disciples fail to show that they know what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah.  Peter famously rebukes Jesus when he says that he will die, and then subsequently denies knowing him three times – even though he himself recognised him as the Messiah.

The disciples dropped everything to follow Jesus – and that is what Jesus requires us to do.  Will you put Jesus first in your life?  Will you grasp the significance of exactly what it is that you are doing?

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