37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Up to this point John the Baptist's ministry had been one consisting primarily of preparation. Both he and Jesus were close to the same age, having been born about six months apart according to Luke 1:35-37, which means he and our Savior were about 30 years old at the onset of their public ministry. As Jesus acquired the skill of carpentry at the hands of his earthly father Joseph, John the Baptist lived a solitary life alone in the desert where he received the "word of God" in relative isolation. (Luke 3:2)
Since John's parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were advanced in years at the time of his conception (Luke 1:7) many believe he was orphaned at a very young age. With this likely the case, John's upbringing casts hope to those in less than ideal family situations and new meaning to John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." While John did not have earthly parents at his side much of his adult life, God came to him in the desert in order to prepare him for a mighty work. What a vivid image of God's all-seeing eye and everlasting love. No one, even those in a vast wasteland, are out of His reach. In fact, it is often in the most barren times of life that we experience personal teaching at the hand of God. A truly unexplainable paradox that only God can orchestrate.
This first chapter of the gospel of John offers great insight into how John the Baptist's life suddenly changed from a barren desert existence to a teeming ministry. No longer an eccentric orphan, his voice was now well heard, he had a following, and his call was in full motion. As one born to pave the way to Christ, these verses chronicle John's leading of the first two chosen to trod this new road, Andrew and his brother Peter. Obedient to their own call, these fishermen's hearts were primed and ready to meet Jesus. Little did they know they were the first of twelve chosen to tip the world on its ear.
There is a lot to be said for the obscure and quiet seasons of life. Often feeling like a waste of time, they are in fact opportune wedges of time designed to prepare us for greater things. As Jesus shaped wood, John endured life in the desert, and Peter and Andrew fished on the sea, God choreographed everyday life in just such a way to prepare this chosen crew for a great and mighty work. With quiet godly existences as their firm foundation, these ordinary lives were now prepared to follow Christ and endure all that would come with this commitment. May we follow Christ diligently each day as well.
Think of a segment of your life that qualifies as a desert. What did you learn during that time you could not have learned any other way?
Perhaps you feel like an orphan in some fashion. If so, God promises to meet you where you are. Can you identify His presence as your Father?
Being rooted in sound doctrine is vital no matter our season of life. How are you staying rooted in God's word today?