Short Meditations in John 1: 41. The simplest of messages
Jn 1:41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ)
It’s a funny thing about fishermen, I never thought of them as being spiritual, and yet John challenges that idea. Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, the Gospels clearly tell us, are fishermen from the north in Galilee, but we find them further south somewhere on the Jordon where John the Baptist is drawing the crowds with no greater message than ‘repent and be baptised’. Even more than that one of these two brothers has been hanging around with John and is labelled one of his disciples. But it gets worse: Andrew encounters Jesus, spends the day with him and then tells his brother, “We have found the Messiah.”
Now for that to be a meaningful communication it means that both Andrew and Peter understand and know who or what they mean by the term ‘The Messiah’. We know today that the Messiah was the expected one, the anointed one of God who was spoken about in the Old Testament scriptures. This suggests that these fishermen, as rough as they might have been (or so I have always thought), were nevertheless good Jewish boys who have had some measure of teaching. Either that, or with the coming of John there has been talk around ‘the dining room table’ about who he is or who people say he is and speculation has included talk about the anointed one. The fact is that these two fishermen are better prepared that we might have previously thought; they know who they are talking about.
Having established that, we now find that Andrew, having met Jesus, has drawn the conclusion (already!) that Jesus is the Messiah. Now he may not have had a great deal of idea of what that meant, because even the religious teachers couldn’t agree over scriptures and the sort of person the Messiah was going to be. Nevertheless, meeting him for one day has left Andrew with this conclusion: this is the one!
Now having drawn that conclusion we find that the next thing in Andrew’s mind is, “I must find Peter and tell him.” Now that must strengthen our conclusion above: Andrew believes Peter would be interested in this knowledge. What the writer John is telling us is that these were prepared men, men whose hearts were inclined towards God, men who had come looking when John turned up, men who went looking when Jesus turned up. When, later, Jesus went to Galilee and called them to leave their fishing, these were men he had already encountered and whose hearts were prepared. Wow!