35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 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. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 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).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

When I read the gospel stories, I don’t typically like to give the disciples a whole lot of credit. They are usually presented as a rag tag bunch of hooligans who can’t seem to put the pieces together about Jesus. Peter, especially, tends to be portrayed as the disciple who is constantly leaping before he looks and therefore ends up eating crow on numerous occasions (of course Peter represents all the disciples in the things he says).

In this story, however, I am really in awe about the immediate faith of Andrew and the other disciple of John. First of all they are disciples of John, which would have been pretty wild in itself. John baptizing people, wearing camel fur and eating locusts in the wilderness while being chided by the religious folks. But when Jesus walks by they say to heck with John and jump on the Jesus bandwagon.

Verse 38 is super encouraging when Jesus asked them, “What are you seeking,” they immediately reply, “where are you staying?” At first glance this seems like an idiotic question (not to mention impolite to invite yourself over). If you are convinced that this is the Messiah, wouldn’t you have a few more pressing questions? Wouldn’t you be a little less audacious to invite yourself over to the Messiah’s house? But what is great about their question is that they actually get it. They just want to be with Jesus. They just want to be around him, to know him and to see what he is going to do next. The religious systems pass away when the beauty of the Messiah is seen and the only thing that matters is hanging out with him, really knowing him, being united to him.

This is the gospel – not that we know everything that Jesus demands of us, nor that we find out from him the answers to life’s most difficult questions, but that we simply know HIM – that we simply “come and see.” The great thing about Jesus is that he anticipates our skepticism. He anticipates our distrust of anything that seems too good to be true. He doesn’t just strut around claiming to be the Messiah – he does the works that only the Messiah can do.

The calling of Nathanael is a perfect example – he knew everything about Nathanael before he had even met him. This fact alone is enough for Nathanael to believe, but Jesus takes it a step further and says that much greater things will be seen. The angels of God will actually ascend and descend on the Son of Man. Jesus will actually be the physical ladder that connects heaven and earth. That is pretty cool if you think about it. The gospel message is that Jesus does not just provide a way to God, but he is the way. He doesn’t just set up a ladder to heaven, but he is the ladder!