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ABIDE – Simple Next Steps – John 1:35-51 (Brian Onken)

Sometimes our anticipated expectation of something needs to be adjusted. We can look at this passage from what we assume is going on, but put aside what you already know about the disciples and consider where they are at this point.

In doing so, two questions come to mind:

  1. This account doesn’t sound like those in the other gospels.
  2. What I am supposed to learn from this?

First, it is helpful to understand that this account is NOT the same situation as what is shared in the other gospels. There are significant differences in time, setting, place, etc. but the similarities in the story can cause us to overlook those facts.

Second, remember that at this point, these men have not yet decided to follow Jesus. They are simply meeting Him and their interaction with Him shows their starting points. These are their simple next steps in a relationship with him. For example, they referred to Him as Rabbi, Teacher, Messiah, Lamb of God, Son of God, King of Israel, Son of God, the One of whom Moses wrote, and Jesus of Nazareth. They were taking their context from the Old Testament with its promises and prophesies (i.e Deuteronomy. 18:18 and Psalm 2.)

Third, it is important to carefully consider how Jesus interacted with each man:

John and two disciples: Jesus asks them a question and gently invites them to hang out with Him

Simon Peter: he gives him a nickname, Peter

Philip: Jesus approaches him and initiates an interaction

Nathanael: Jesus revealed that He knew something about Nathanael and complimented him.

Now consider what this all means for us. Perhaps this passage is less about how these men interacted with Jesus and more about how Jesus interacted with them! He was gentle, gracious, compelling – engaging with compassion and encouragement.

That is how He approaches us, too!


  1. Spend some time with each of the descriptions these men used of Jesus. What descriptor or name would you have used if you were in their place?
  2. How well informed do you think you are about Jesus when you talk about Him or sing about Him?
  3. Sometimes we forget that our understanding of Jesus grows over time. Think back to when you first met Jesus. Where are you now in your relationship with Him?
  4. Consider carefully the personal approach Jesus took with each man. How does He personalize His approach with you? Have your brothers and sisters in Christ shared the approach He takes with them?
  5. How can you import the model of how Jesus interacted with each man into how you interact with the people in your life and circle? Is it time to consider a personalized approach for each as you pray for them, talk with them, and serve them?

ABIDE – Simple Next Steps – John 1:35-51 (Brian Onken)

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