The first five disciples
‘The two disciples … followed Jesus; … One of the two … was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He … first findeth his own brother Simon; … And he brought him to Jesus; … The day following Jesus … findeth Philip; … Philip findeth Nathanael.’ John 1:37,40–43,45
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16–23
In the work of grace, there is ever the same kind of operation, and yet ever a difference in the manner of operation. There is always the same worker in the conversion of the soul, and yet different methods for breaking the heart and binding it up again are continually employed. Every sinner must be quickened by the same life, made obedient to the same gospel, washed in the same blood, clothed in the same righteousness, filled with the same divine energy, and eventually taken up to the same heaven, and yet in the conversion of no two sinners will you find matters precisely the same; but from the first dawn of the divine life to the day when it is consummated in the noontide of perfect sanctification in heaven, you shall find that God works this way in that one, and that way in the other, and by another method in the third; for God still will be the God of variety. Let his order stand fast as it may, still will he ever be manifesting the variety, the many-sidedness of his own thoughts and mind. If then you look at this narrative (John 1:37–51)—somewhat long, but I think very full of instruction—you may notice four different methods of conversion; and these occur in the conversion of the first five who formed the nucleus of the college of apostles—the first five who came to Christ, and were numbered among his disciples. It is very remarkable that there should be among five individuals four different ways of conversion. Pick out five Christians indiscriminately and begin to question how they were brought to know the Lord, and you would find methods other than those you have here.
For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God (John 14:6), but there are no end of ways of being led to faith in him. God may vary his methods, but he never changes his principles (1 Corinthians 12:4–6).
Sermon no. 570
15 May (1864)