“The next day again John (the Baptist) was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’ So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He 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, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter).” – John 1:35-42
This past Sunday as our church discussed the passage of Jesus calling his first disciples, one of the questions presented for consideration was, “Whom do you identify with in this story?” After thinking for quite some time, I could not pull myself away from the image of John the Baptist motioning to his two disciples as Jesus approached: “Behold, the Lamb of God,” he exclaimed! When his disciples heard this pronouncement (the revealing of who Jesus was), they left John to follow the One they had been waiting for. I wondered how John must have felt as he watched his two friends walk away. Was he sad to see them go? After all, they had been his disciples for what we assume was many years. They had probably spent much of their time together; walking, eating, laughing, and talking with one another about the awaited Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel and all of Creation. The men must have surely become very dear to him over those years. Was there a sense of loss as they left John’s side to follow behind Jesus?
Or perhaps John was filled with joy because he knew that his ultimate purpose in discipling the two men was that they might one day recognize Jesus for who He was and, leaving all else behind, follow after Him. The parting of his disciples was evidence that John had done what was required of him: he had prepared the way for the Lord. All the years he had spent with the men, testifying and teaching about the coming Son of God, was for that moment; for that purpose.
I”m sure it was a little of both.
As parents, our goal and mission is the same as John’s: that our children would one day leave us and follow hard after the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All the minutes, days, and years that I spend teaching my children about Jesus are in hope of the day they might look up and say, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” What a bittersweet day that will be for I know that my mother’s heart will grieve because that season of my life will be over. But oh, how greatly will I rejoice to watch them pursue and learn from Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away their sins, loves them more fully than I, and who will teach them greater things than what they may have learned at my knee. And at the end of this precious and oh-so-short season, by the grace of God, I pray that I will rejoice and exclaim: “…I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1:4