The Hunt is On

The Gospel Sync | #24 | John 1:35–51

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Welcome Back! Today, we’ll be looking at the gospels of John and discovering the power of relational networks.

So let’s dive in.

(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document) 

The Gospel – John 1:35–51

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” And when the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and He asked, “What do you want?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where He was staying, and spent that day with Him because it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated as Christ). Andrew brought him to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated as Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to set out for Galilee. Finding Philip, He told him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the same town as Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit.” “How do You know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” “Rabbi,” Nathanael answered, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus said to him, “Do you believe just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” Then He declared, “Truly, truly, I tell you, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Some Thoughts 

There are several discipleship principles that we can glean from this passage, but I want to focus on just two. Both of them have to do with finding potential mentees.

First, when you’re looking for people to disciple, you want to look for those who are spiritually hungry. John the Baptist and his disciples are hanging out at Bethany beyond the Jordan. The location is super significant because it’s 75-80 miles away from the fishermen’s hometown (not the traditional site just south of the Sea of Galilee; click here for a documentary). Now we have to ask the question: “What in the world are these guys doing this far from family, work, and home?” These disciples had a long way to travel to be baptized and discipled by John the Baptist. This shows a significant commitment from these blue-collar kind of guys to pursue God.

As disciple-makers, we should be looking for people who are spiritually hungry and willing to go the extra mile to follow Jesus. I call them the “Cats on the Screen Door.” They’re always hanging around waiting to be fed.

The second thought has to do with the relational networks of those who are spiritually hungry. Birds of a feather flock together. The spiritually hungry tend to hang out with each other. Are you looking for more spiritually hungry people to disciple? Tap into their relational network. Usually, when you find one, you’ll find more.

Looking at John 1:35-51 again, we see that these people were not strangers to each other. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, Andrew was the brother of Peter, and the unnamed disciple was the Apostle John (we discover John’s identity later in the gospel and was the brother of James, who would also join the apostolic band). Jesus went to get Philip. Philip lived in the same town as Peter and Andrew and was a friend of Nathanael. These relationships were key connections for Jesus’ first followers.

As disciple-makers, we should be looking for those who are connected as family, friends, and acquaintances. This is how the gospel flows freely. It’s through natural relational networks.

My Story

A few years back, Kim moved into our home, and we started discipling her. As she reached out to others, she met with an old missionary friend from Egypt who introduced her to Merari. Kim started discipling Merari, who, in turn, started discipling her sister Belle. A couple of years later, Kim went back to Egypt, and Deb and I met with Merari for coffee. She wanted additional mentoring, so we started meeting with her and invited her and Belle to our new church start in our home. Kim was still meeting with Merari on Zoom once a week. A year and a half later, both Merari and Belle are consistently sharing the gospel and discipling a few folks in a coffee shop weekly. They would tell you that the discipleship they’ve received from Kim, Deb, and I in the past few years is radically transforming them into the likeness of Christ Jesus. Can you see how we found such committed disciples of Jesus? The power of looking for the spiritually hungry and tapping into their relational networks!

Our Action Plan

Here are some ideas to apply these discipleship principles:

  • Draw out a relational network map and ask, “Who’s the most spiritually hungry?”
  • Ask the people you’re discipling, “Who are you praying for, and who can you begin discipling?”
  • Answer the question, “What does spiritual hunger look like in my relational network?”

So we see two valuable insights: Look for the spiritually hungry, and in order to find more spiritually hungry people, tap into their relational network. It’s hard finding people to disciple, especially in the early stages of the ministry. But these two principles will definitely help you get some traction.

Until next time, keep making disciples of Jesus!

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

3 thoughts on “The Hunt is On”

  1. Good thoughts!  Thank you.

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    div>How is Chuck’s health these days?

            …sent by Ed Kearn

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            …sent by Ed K.

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    1. Hi Ed! PLS (slower form of ALS) has plateaued over the last 2 years. Praise God! Still dealing with significant capacity issues but still in the fight as well 😎

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