The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)

Lesson 3


(John 1:35-51)


1.     In lesson 2 we looked at the life and ministry of John the Baptist, giving special attention to his great proclamation in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

2.     This announcement has reference to our Lord’s sacrificial death as our Substitute.  Then in verse 36, we find John making a similar exclamation.  Some messages should be preached over and over again.

3.     There is a famous story about John Wesley (Bro. Randolph heard this story associated with another preacher) and how he was asked why he so often preached the same text, “Ye must be born again.”

4.     It was not in the plan of God that John the Baptist should be one of the original twelve apostles.  I think it should also be stated that there is no evidence that John was ever a part of a local NT church (in the sense that we know a local church today).

5.     I only point this out because some Baptist preachers insist that they can trace their church history and their baptism all the way back to John the Baptist.  In my opinion, this teaching is about as ridiculous as the RCC’s boast that Peter was the first pope.

6.     John the Baptist died before our Lord organized His church.   Our Lord said that John the Baptist was a prophet, and more than a prophet.  Our Lord said that, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11). 

7.     This is quite a tribute, but John the Baptist never pastured a church, nor was he one of the original twelve apostles.

8.     However, John contributed two of his disciples (1:35-37).  The first was Andrew (1:40).  I will say more about Andrew and his soulwinning efforts in a few minutes. The other disciple in 1:35 was probably John, the author of the fourth Gospel.

9.     My message today is entitled, “And They Followed Jesus” (1:37b). 



1.     “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

2.     These disciples heard him speak (“Behold the Lamb of God”), “and they followed Jesus” (1:37).

3.     This should be the primary objective of every soulwinner, of every pastor, of every evangelist, of every missionary, of every SS teacher, of every deacon, of every Christian – pointing men and women to Jesus.

4.     Romans 10:13 is a well-known Scripture – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  What is not as well-known are the following verses – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”

5.     There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (John 1:6).  God is still sending, and God is still calling – but are we listening?

6.     These disciples “heard him (John the Baptist) speak, and they followed Jesus” (John 1:37).


II.               THEY WERE SEEKING (1:38).

1.     Notice that our Lord did not say, “Whom seek ye?” but rather, “What seek ye?” (1:38).  These disciples were soon to discover that the thing (“what”) they were looking for was in fact a person – the very Person they were now meeting face to face.

2.     These are the first recorded words of our Lord in John’s Gospel – “What seek ye?”

3.     They were seeking the right way – Jesus said, “I am the way…”

4.     They were seeking truth – Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth…”

5.     They were seeking the purpose of life – Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6).



1.     Interestingly, these disciples did not answer our Lord’s question (“What seek ye?”), but instead they replied with a counter-question (1:38b).

2.     Our Lord’s answer is wonderful – “Come and see” (1:39).  “Come” is a word of grace.  All of the world’s religions teach “do” but the emphasis in the Bible is “Come and see.”

       “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark” (Genesis 7:1).

       Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

       Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

       “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

       “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

3.     Sinners must come to Christ for salvation, and Christians must come to Christ for discipleship.

4.     John 1:39 says, “They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day…”

5.     Andrew and the other disciples became great soulwinners.  We read in Acts 17:6 we see that the Jews complaining that the apostles had “turned the world upside down.”

6.     The only way they could do that was by first spending time with Jesus (cf. Acts 4:13).


IV.            THEY BROUGHT OTHERS TO JESUS (1:40-42).

1.     We have here in this portion of Scripture a wonderful pattern for successful soulwinning.  Andrew “first findeth his own brother Simon (Peter)…” (1:40, 41).

2.     Andrew went and brought his brother Simon Peter to the Lord.  We know that later on when Simon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, “they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

3.     Most Christians are not familiar with the name of Edward Kimball.  Kimball was a Sunday School teacher in Boston. One day a young man named D. L. Moody came to his class and it was obvious to Mr. Kimball that Moody knew nothing about the Bible (his mother raised him as a Unitarian).

4.     Mr. Kimball was burdened for young Moody and while he was preparing his SS lesson that Saturday, the Holy Spirit told him to go and witness to Mr. Moody down at the shoe store where he was working.

5.     He went to the store, put his hand on Moody’s shoulder and gave him the Gospel. Dwight L. Moody responded to the message, gave his heart to Jesus Christ right there in the back of the shoe store, and ultimately went on to be the greatest evangelist of his generation. It was because of Edward Kimball’s faithfulness to share the gospel that the Lord reached D. L. Moody, who in turn reached millions.

6.     Years later the great evangelist was preaching and said this, “I do not remember what Mr. Kimball said, but I can feel the power of that man’s hand on my shoulder tonight.”

7.     Moody might not have remembered exactly what Mr. Kimball said but we have the precise words of Andrew preserved for us in the sacred pages of God’s Holy Word – “We have found the Messiah…” (1:41).

8.     Check it out – every time you see Andrew mentioned in the Gospel of John he is bringing someone to Jesus.

       first, it is his brother Simon Peter

       then later on it is the boy with the loaves and fishes (John 6:8)

       then later on it is the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20, 21)

9.     Andrew was certain that he had found the Messiah…the Christ (1:41).  This was a big controversy among the Jews (cf. John 7:26, 40-44; 9:22; 10:24).  Of course, it is still a big controversy today among the Jews.

10.Our Lord gave Simon Peter a new name – “Cephas” (Aramaic for “a stone” – 1:42).

11.The RCC teaches that their church is built on Peter.  There are many Scriptures which refute this (cf. I Peter 2:3-8).

12.Our Lord found Philip and said to him, “Follow me” (John 1:43).  To follow Jesus you have to become a fisher of men (Mark 1:17).

13.So Philip brought Nathanael (many Bible teachers believe he is the same man known as Bartholomew in the Synoptic Gospels) to Jesus (1:46; cf. 1:39). 



1.     Here in John chapter 1 we see the Lord Jesus Christ identified as the eternal Word, the Creator of the universe, God manifest in the flesh, the Light of the world, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the King of Israel, and lastly, Jacob’s ladder (1:51).

2.     Here the imagery is taken from the account in Genesis 28:12 of Jacob’s vision at Bethel (“house of God”).

3.     This means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only ladder to heaven.  He is the only Mediator between God and man.

4.     “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).

5.     Jacob’s ladder was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ being lifted up on the cross.  There is no other way to heaven but by the cross.

6.     A poet put it this way:

As to the holy patriarch

          That wondrous dream was given,

So seems my Saviour’s cross to me

          A ladder up to heaven.

7. This is the Gospel message – the Lord Jesus Christ is our only Mediator – not Mary, not the priests, not the pope, not the saints – it is Jesus only.

8. Let us get this message out!  Let us ask the Lord to help us get this message out!

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