Discover the unnamed disciple


unknown disciple


By John Keller

Originally posted Jan. 6, 2014, at Trust Live Serve. Republished with permission of the author.

At the beginning of each Gospel, Jesus calls disciples to join his mission. Jesus will not be a solo prophet, working independently. He starts a community that will explore God’s new reality together.

In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist introduces two of his own disciples to Jesus with the words, “Behold, the lamb of God.” (John 1:35-42) The two disciples follow Jesus at a distance but soon Jesus spots them and invites them to spend the evening. As we read further, we discover that one of the disciples is named Andrew. Andrew is so excited by the encounter that he hurries off to his brother Simon and brings him to meet Jesus as well. Jesus renames Simon as Peter — The Rock.

But the other disciple remains unnamed.

Immediately following this story comes a second like it. Philip meets Jesus and he is so transformed by his encounter that he tracks down his friend Nathaniel and brings him to Jesus. By the end of the first chapter, there are five disciples following Jesus: Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathaniel, and the “unnamed disciple.”

We can speculate who that disciple was, but I think a more productive reading is to reflect on who that disciple is. I believe the unnamed disciple is you (and me), the reader of the Gospel. Like Andrew, we are invited by Jesus, to “come and see” as we study the Gospel of John. We are invited to experience the life transformation of a personal relationship with Jesus as we read the Gospel of John.

John, the writer of the Gospel, addresses the reader (you and me) directly at the end of the Gospel.

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).

As you read the Gospels, place yourself in the story. See yourself in the mirror of Scripture. And receive the life Jesus has to offer.

How do you respond to Jesus invitation to “come and see”?

Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see you today.

Find a link to John Keller’s blog Trust Live Serve at Lutheran Blogs.

You might also want to read:
What's the cost of discipleship?
Believing Thomas
Behind locked doors

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