By Nathan Washburn
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greenbrier
We who know Jesus bear the responsibility of connecting others to Him. We will either connect people to Jesus or we won’t. There are no passive witnesses — a witness who never witnesses is not a witness. Therefore, we must be about the work of giving witness to Christ actively throughout our daily comings and goings.
It takes all kinds of people to connect others to Jesus. John (the Baptist) spoke loudly, fulfilling his role as a voice (Isaiah 40:3) by boldly calling people to repent and trust in Jesus (Mark 1:4-8). Andrew was more of a silent worker in evangelism, quietly connecting people with Jesus, whether it was his own brother, Peter (John 1:41-42), or a group of Greeks looking for Jesus (John 12:20-22). Similarly, regardless of our diverse gifts and various personalities, we all bear the same responsibility (and privilege!) to connect people to Jesus. Here’s a simple progression of how it unfolds:
We hear about Jesus. Andrew actually started out by following John (John 1:35), but that changed when John called Jesus “the Lamb of God” and cried out that all should behold Him (v. 36). Andrew undoubtedly had seen Jesus, but there was nothing about Jesus that would have tipped him off that He was the Messiah (Isaiah 53:2). Instead, it was what he heard about Jesus that made him stop in his tracks and start following Him (John 1:37). In the same way, we were all following something or someone else, and at some point we heard about Jesus and believed. This is because “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
We follow and believe. When Andrew heard John proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God, he followed Him to where He was staying (John 1:37-39). He and another disciple stayed with Jesus, and after awhile Andrew went after his brother. It had been only a few hours, but Andrew knew in those brief hours that Jesus was the Messiah. He had seen His glory, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), and he’d become convinced that He was the promised Messiah. In the same way, as we follow Jesus, the more time we spend with Him, the more we see of His grace and truth, and our faith grows even stronger and stronger.
We know others need Him. Andrew went after Peter. He knew that having found the Messiah was too important to keep to himself. When he found Peter, he simply said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). They had certainly been waiting for the Messiah. Through Israel’s rebellion and sin and evil kingdoms and oppression by enemies and general hopelessness, they had waited. Knowing they were unable to keep the law or lead themselves or save themselves, they had looked forward to the One who would. And there He was! This Jesus from Nazareth would deliver Israel. Jesus would bear the wrath of God as the Lamb. Jesus would forgive their (and our) sin.
We connect them to Jesus. Andrew knew where Peter was, so he went to him. And he knew where Jesus was, so “he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:42). This is evangelism. We must know where people are, and we must know where Jesus is in order to bring them to Him. Also, when we go after people, we don’t seek to bring them to the church, or vague religious ideals, or a pastor, or a small group. We bring them to Jesus, for He is the One they need, and we’ll gladly give witness to that.