Jeremy Stopford photo
Jeremy Stopford

John 1:35-51


Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor


Today’s “Special”: “A Letter Funny”

“A wholesaler from up North sent a letter to the postmaster of a small Midwestern town. He asked for the name of an honest lawyer who would take a collection case against a local debtor who had refused to pay for a shipment of the wholesaler’s goods. He got this reply:

Dear Sir: I am the postmaster of this village and received your letter. I am also an honest lawyer and ordinarily would be pleased to accept a case against a local debtor. In this case, however, I also happen to be the person you sold those crummy goods to. I received your demand to pay and refused to honor it. I am also the banker you sent the draft to draw on the merchant, and I sent that back with a note stating that the merchant had refused to pay. If I were not, for the time being, substituting for the pastor of our local church, I would tell you fully just exactly what I thought of your claim.”


Last Monday afternoon, I had lunch at a restaurant in Norwich with a family whose loved one’s burial I had just officiated. The widow suggested the bacon burger on pita bread. And she had the same. And it was GOOD! In fact, it was DELICIOUS!

We were born with a hunger for God, and when we followed Him at the cross, we found that hunger met – He is GOOD! He is DELICIOUS! He is completely SATISFYING!

Our text today is like a visit to a restaurant – hungry people having their hunger met. Do you know anyone who is hungry for God?


1. Follow the One Who is the Fulfillment of Prophecy (vs. 35-37)

Verse 35: Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

It had been 400 years since Malachi prophesied that Elijah would be the forerunner to the Messiah, and John the Baptist was that forerunner. (Check out Malachi 4)

Look at John’s insightful view of Jesus (v. 36)

After hearing John the Baptist’s word, the two disciples follow Jesus.

John was not heartbroken – he was thrilled!

Can you think of someone who you can share about Jesus?

2. Follow the One Who Alone Really Sees (Verse 38)

38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

His response to their question literally means, “come and see for yourself”. And Matt. 8:20 would tell them, “I have no home.”


I am good friends with a missionary couple who serve the Lord in the wilds of Brazil- they are veteran missionaries that we have been blessed to have here at our church. They have left all to follow Jesus with New Tribes Missions [now called “Ethnos360”] into the jungles of Colombia and Brazil so that the Guanano Tribe can follow Jesus. My wife and I also know a couple who hailed originally from nearby Otego, New York, who have left all to follow Jesus with Wycliffe Bible Translators to serve in the deserts of Mexico. They “have no home of their own” so that members of the Seri Tribe can hear the gospel in their own language.

Why do the these and other missionary couples go? Because that’s where Jesus is!

Following Jesus means that every area of our lives belonging to Him!

3. Follow the One Who Alone is Worthy to Invite Others to Follow (v. 40ff)

Verse 40: One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him,

was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him,

“We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah.

You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee,

and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him,

“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”

48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you,

when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

49 Nathanael answered and said to Him,

“Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Andrew invites Peter (vs. 40-42): “He’s the Messiah!”

Philip invites Nathaniel (vs. 43-51): “He’s omniscient!” (See Psalm 139)

Andrew and Philip heard truth that caused them to see that Jesus alone is worthy of their trust, that Jesus alone is worthy to follow; and that Jesus alone is worthy to encourage others to come to Him!


So…who are the ones who this week you can encourage to “follow Jesus”?

How about those who used to go to church – they have a hunger you can meet!

How about those you know who are without Jesus – they have a hunger you can meet!

Why not invite them to follow Jesus!