Bring Them to Jesus

Feb 5, 2010 1539

—Ritchie Way

In this article we will examine what happened when certain individuals and groups of people, were brought to Jesus. We will look at the impact Jesus had on these people, and consider the lessons their stories may have for us today.

ANDREW BROUGHT PETER TO JESUS

‘Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus’ [tippy title=”John 1:40-42″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+1:40-42″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]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 ).[/tippy]).

One lighted candle serves to light another. Andrew, unable to keep the good news to himself, went to get his brother Simon. Note that Andrew is, from this point forward, introduced as Simon Peter’s brother ([tippy title=”Matt. 4:18; 10:2″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/matthew/passage.aspx?q=matthew+4:18;matthew+10:2″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;[/tippy]; [tippy title=”Mark 1:16″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/mark/1-16.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.[/tippy]; [tippy title=”Luke 6:14″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/luke/6-14.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,[/tippy]: [tippy title=”John 1:40″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/1-40.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.[/tippy]). Ever afterward Andrew lived in Peter’s shadow, however, without Andrew, there may never have been a Simon Peter.

Even though Peter overshadowed Andrew, Andrew never regretted introducing his brother to the Lord. Andrew did what the Lord gave him to do, and Peter did what the Lord gave him to do. The two apostles were not in conflict but worked together, using the gifts that had been given them to advance the kingdom of God.

PHILIP BROUGHT NATHANAEL TO JESUS

‘Finding Philip, Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip’ ([tippy title=”John 1:43-46″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+1:43-46″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.[/tippy]).

Nazareth was a town with a seamy reputation; it was a dismal swamp of low-life. When Nathanael expressed his doubts that anything good could come out of Nazareth, Philip did not try to argue with him, instead, he invited Nathanael to check out Jesus for himself. That is often the best approach. Our very best arguments are nothing compared to a personal encounter with Jesus. There is no substitute to inviting people to check out Jesus for themselves by reading the Gospels.

THE SAMARITAN WOMAN BROUGHT HER TOWNS-PEOPLE TO JESUS

‘Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made they way toward him’ ([tippy title=”John 4:28-30″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+4:28-30″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.[/tippy]).

I have found, in my experience, that some of the best witnesses for Jesus are not the people I would have chosen for that role. It was the same in Jesus’ day; some of those who most enthusiastically shared their faith in Jesus were a converted tax collector, ([tippy title=”Luke 5:27-29″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/luke/passage.aspx?q=luke+5:27-29″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.[/tippy]) a healed madman, ([tippy title=”Mark 5:18-20″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/mark/passage.aspx?q=mark+5:18-20″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.[/tippy]) and a woman with loose morals ([tippy title=”John 4:28-30″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+4:28-30″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.[/tippy]).

The lower a person is on the socio-economic scale, the more they have to gain from accepting Jesus. After all, Jesus did ‘not come to call the righteous, but sinners’ ([tippy title=”Matt. 9:13″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/matthew/9-13.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”[/tippy]), which was just the opposite of what the Pharisees were doing. There is a lesson for us here.

ANDREW BROUGHT A BOY WITH HIS LUNCH TO JESUS

‘Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish …”’ ([tippy title=”John 6:8-9″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+6:8-9″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”[/tippy]).

What motivated Andrew to bring a small boy with his lowly lunch to Jesus? Barley bread was the cheapest of all bread, and his two pickled fish—a common export from Galilee in those days–were only the size of sardines. How could five loaves, each the size of a pikelet, and two small pickled fish feed a crowd of ten thousand people? Andrew had a momentary spark of faith that Jesus could do something with this humble offering, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish’, but it was quickly extinguished by Andrew’s rationality, ‘but how far will they go among so many’.

What motivated this boy to let Jesus have his lunch? He would have been tired and hungry and could have eagerly devoured the lot himself. His generosity, however, was richly rewarded, for he was given an instant example of what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap’ ([tippy title=”Luke 6:38″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/luke/6-38.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”[/tippy]).

Imagine this lad explaining to his mother how the lunch she had prepared for him fed ten thousand people, and each one was offered more to eat than she had put in his basket. For years afterward people would point to him and say, ‘He was the one who gave his lunch to Jesus.’

Even though Andrew’s faith was as small as a mustard seed, he was blessed for having taken the boy to Jesus; and the boy was blessed for having given his lunch to Jesus. Any gift that we give to Jesus, no matter how humble, will be multiplied to bless others.

MOTHERS BROUGHT THEIR INFANTS TO JESUS

‘People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”’ ([tippy title=”Luke 18:15-17″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/luke/passage.aspx?q=luke+18:15-17″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”[/tippy]).

It was the custom of those times for mothers to take their babies, on their first birthday, to a distinguished rabbi to have them blessed. These mothers chose to take their babies to Jesus.

On this occasion, Jesus, weary with unceasing demands upon his time, was preoccupied with the fact that he was about to give his life for the world. The disciples, aware of the tension showing on his face, tried to protect him from the demands of others. But Jesus found strength and joy in the little ones and invited them to come to him. He could see in these trusting, innocent children, the kind of people who would become citizens of his kingdom.

Small children are like ploughed fields waiting to be sown with seed. Whatever is sown first will take root quickly and grow unimpeded by other plants choking the ground. If parents don’t sow love and obedience into the hearts
of their little ones, the devil will come along and sow the thorns and thistles of hatred and disobedience into the bare ground, and the world will trample the ground, so that it becomes too hard for the seeds of the gospel to take root later. Parents should ‘take their children to Jesus’ as soon as they begin to talk. Sow the good seed into their lives before the devil comes and fills the ground with poisonous plants.

What an honour it would have been to grow up knowing that Jesus himself had put his hand on your head and blessed you when you were a child.

SOME MEN BROUGHT A PARALYTIC TO JESUS

‘A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many people gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus, and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on’ ([tippy title=”Mark 2:1-4″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/mark/passage.aspx?q=mark+2:1-4″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.[/tippy]).

There is an important lesson to be learnt from this story: If you really want Jesus’ blessing you must allow nothing to get in the way between you and him. If the crowd, or religious leaders keep you from Jesus, go over their heads. That’s what these men did.

Making a hole in someone’s roof, big enough to get through, is a serious matter. It is, however, a much more serious matter to miss out on eternal life because you allow such things to stop you from coming into the presence of the Lord.

As the paralytic was lowered down to Jesus, the Lord could see that while he had a serious physical handicap, his biggest problem was with his relationship with God. The Pharisees taught that illness and physical handicaps were God’s punishment for sin. Small sins, they said, resulted in small physical problems, while big sins resulted in big physical problems. As this man was paralysed in all four limbs his false-guilt was massive; it was crushing his soul. Jesus, full of compassion said to him, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ He then demonstrated his authority to forgive sins by restoring the man’s mobility.

The lesson taught by this story is that no obstacle, which comes between you and Jesus, should be tolerated. That obstacle could be family, friends, culture, a guaranteed income, and even life. To allow any of these to separate you from Jesus is to allow temporality to keep you from eternity.

THE PHARISEES BROUGHT AN ADULTERESS TO JESUS

‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery”’ ([tippy title=”John 8:3-4″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+8:3-4″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group” 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.”[/tippy]).

This woman was brought to Jesus condemned; she left Jesus not condemned. Jesus saved her from those religious vultures and treated her with the utmost respect—respect that she didn’t deserve; respect that was the gift of love. If this unnamed woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, then we know that Jesus’ acceptance of her was the beginning of a new life for her.

ANDREW AND PHILIP BROUGHT THE GREEKS TO JESUS

‘Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus’ ([tippy title=”John 12:20-22″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+12:20-22″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.[/tippy]).

It seems strange that Philip did not take the Greeks straight to Jesus himself. Maybe he was a little in awe of Jesus, or maybe he wasn’t sure how Jesus would treat non-Hebrews, so he went to Andrew. Andrew took Philip and the Greeks to Jesus.

It is significant that it was to the Greeks that Jesus announced his ‘hour’ had arrived—the ‘hour’ that his whole ministry had been moving towards. Jesus, like a grain of wheat, was about to be put into the ground in order to produce a bountiful harvest.

Jesus said to the Greeks, ‘Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honour the one who serves me’ ([tippy title=”John 12:26″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/12-26.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
[/tippy])
. Were some of these Greeks the deacons (the servants) with Greek names, who were ordained by the apostles to minister to the Grecian Jews? ([tippy title=”Acts 6:1-7″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/acts/passage.aspx?q=acts+6:1-7″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented them to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.[/tippy])

JUDAS BROUGHT THE TEMPLE GUARD TO JESUS

‘Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carr ying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I AM [he],” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I AM [he],” they drew back and fell to the ground’ ([tippy title=”John 18:3-6″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/john/passage.aspx?q=john+18:3-6″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.[/tippy]).

There are two types of people that are brought into Jesus’ presence: those who want the gift of life and those who don’t want the gift of life. Both receive what they seek for. Those who want the gift of life, receive it by receiving Jesus; those who do not want the gift of life, reject it by rejecting Jesus.

What part did these soldiers play in God’s grand scheme of salvation? Was Jesus’ crucifixion a case where evil triumphed over good? From a human perspective, it seemed that Friday was a day when evil men rejoiced and clapped their hands with glee while the followers of Jesus were weighed down with grief. However, when Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday morning, his followers came to realise that he had allowed himself to be executed for a purpose ([tippy title=”1 Cor. 5:7″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/1-corinthians/5-7.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.[/tippy]; [tippy title=”1 Pet. 3:18″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/1-peter/3-18.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.[/tippy]), and their mourning turned to joy.

Those, whom Judas brought to Jesus, were unaware they were fulfilling God’s plan by capturing, judging, flagellating and crucifying the Lord. Their motives and methods in doing so, however, condemned them as anti-Christ ([tippy title=”Matt. 12:30″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/matthew/12-30.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.[/tippy]). They came to Christ, not to receive good from him, but to do evil to him.

THE ROMAN EXECUTION SQUAD BROUGHT SIMON OF CYRENE TO JESUS

‘As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus’ ([tippy title=”Luke 23:26″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/luke/23-26.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.[/tippy]).

Simon from Cyrene, in Libya, was on his way into Jerusalem when he was grabbed by the Roman crucifixion squad and made to carry Jesus’ cross out to the place of crucifixion. We are not told whether or not Jesus said anything to him, but the composure of Jesus, whose body was battered and bleeding, would have made an impression on this Libyan. Jesus, unlike the other criminals who were taken out to be crucified ([tippy title=”Mark 15:32″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/mark/15-32.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.[/tippy]), was self-controlled and thoughtful of others. As Simon stood there watching, he would have shaken his head in wonder when he heard Jesus ask the Father to forgive those who were hammering the nails into his hands and feet.

It seems that Simon may have passed away before the Gospels were written, but his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, were well known in the Christian Church ([tippy title=”Mark 15:21″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/mark/15-21.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.[/tippy]). In 1941 eleven ossuaries (bone containers) were found in a sealed tomb in the Kidron Valley. One of them was inscribed with the names of two men, Simon and his son Alexander. A number of scholars think that this was the Simon who carried Jesus’ cross, and his son. Simon’s other son, Rufus, is not named, probably because he had moved to Rome ([tippy title=”Rom. 16:13″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/romans/16-13.html” width=”auto” height=”auto”]13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.[/tippy]).

CONCLUSION

Two types of people were brought to Jesus: Those who wanted the Lord’s ministry and those who viewed the Lord’s ministry as a threat to their own interests.

Each of us, in one way or another, stands face to face with Christ. What is our response? Are we bowing before him, or are we busy weaving a crown of thorns to ram on his head? Are we worshipping him as Lord of lords, or are we swinging a hammer to drive nails into his hands and feet? We are either one or the other. There is no middle ground.
Whatever position we take, one day the wheel will turn and Friday’s gloating will become Sunday’s terror. Alternatively, Friday’s heart-broken grief will become Sunday’s rejoicing and shouts of praise.


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