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John 1:40–42

“[Andrew] first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (vv. 41–42).

Andrew, a former disciple of John the Baptist, was among the first to follow Jesus (John 1:35–40), and the first thing he did after leaving John for Jesus was to go to his brother and tell him that he had found the promised Messiah (v. 41). Although Andrew is not often mentioned in the New Testament, it is notable that in the other places he is mentioned in John’s gospel, he is bringing people to Jesus (6:8–9; 12:20–22). This indicates that to be a disciple of Jesus is to bring others to Him, to introduce Jesus to others insofar as we are able.

Perhaps the most important thing Andrew ever did as a disciple of Jesus was to introduce his brother Simon to Jesus. Simon, as is well known, would go on to serve a foundational role in the establishment of the Christian church, and that is foreshadowed here in Jesus’ renaming of Simon as Cephas or Peter (1:42). Aramaic was the common language of first-century Jews in Palestine, and Cephas comes from the Aramaic word that means “rock.” Peter is from the Greek term that means the same thing. Jesus would again identify Simon as Peter, the rock, later in His ministry (Matt. 16:13–20), but this record in John’s gospel tells us that Jesus identified Peter as the “rock,” as having a key role among the disciples, long before Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi. He would be essential for laying the foundation of the church by preaching on Pentecost, by being the instrument through whom God worked to convert the first Gentiles to Christ, and by writing parts of the New Testament (Acts 2; 10; 1 and 2 Peter).

We have noted that Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, does not play as large a role in the foundation of the new covenant church as does Peter. Yet, it was through Andrew that Peter first met Jesus. John Calvin has some interesting comments on this fact and what it means about our positions in the Christian community. “We ought also to observe the purpose of God, which determined that Peter, who was to be far more eminent, was brought to the knowledge of Christ by the agency and ministry of Andrew; that none of us, however excellent, may refuse to be taught by an inferior.” Essentially, Calvin argues, the story of Peter and Andrew shows us how even the most honored among us should not think themselves unable to benefit from the teaching and gifts of others. None of us should ever think we have reached a point where other Christians have nothing to teach us.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God has gifted the body of Christ with many different people who have many different gifts, experiences, and levels of knowledge. All of us can benefit from one another no matter how long we have been believers, and all of us can be a blessing to others. Let us seek to learn from others in the church and to be a means of edifying them as well.


For Further Study
  • Isaiah 54:13
  • Mark 3:13–19
  • Luke 5:1–11
  • Colossians 3:16

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From the January 2018 Issue
Jan 2018 Issue