The first disciples

John the Baptist no doubt felt he had successfully completed part of his work when two of his disciples left him to follow Jesus. One of these was Andrew, the other probably John (who does not mention his own name in his Gospel). Andrew then brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus saw some characteristic in Simon that caused him to give him the name ‘Rock’. (The Aramaic word that Jesus used is transliterated as Cephas. The equivalent Greek word is transliterated as Peter.) These men believed Jesus to be the Messiah of whom John spoke, but they had little understanding of the nature of Jesus’ messiahship (John 1:35-42).

The party travelled north to Galilee, where they were joined by two more, Philip and Nathanael. (It seems that Nathanael was also called Bartholemew.) Nathanael was surprised to hear that the Messiah came from such an insignificant town as Nazareth in Galilee (John 1:43-46). But when he discovered that Jesus knew all about him even though they had not met, he was convinced that Jesus was the messianic king and the Son of God. Jesus was like a ladder connecting earth to heaven, bringing God to the world and making it possible for the world to come to God (John 1:47-51).

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