1. JOHN THE BAPTIST
a. Considering the interview of John the Baptist with the Jerusalem authorities, what lessons can we learn from the way the Baptist identified himself and his work? John 1:19–28.
“When [John] the Baptist began his ministry, many thought that he might be the prophet Moses risen from the dead.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 135.
b. What did John declare the day after the interview with the priests and Levites? John 1:29–34.
“With awe and wonder the people looked upon the One just declared to be the Son of God. They had been deeply moved by the words of John. He had spoken to them in the name of God. They had listened to him day after day as he reproved their sins, and daily the conviction that he was sent of Heaven had strengthened. But who was this One greater than John the Baptist? In His dress and bearing there was nothing that betokened rank. He was apparently a simple personage, clad like themselves in the humble garments of the poor.”—Ibid., p. 137.
2. “HE BROUGHT HIM TO JESUS”
a. What did John the Baptist say the following day? Who is specifically mentioned as hearing him? John 1:35, 36.
b. What essential attitude of an evangelist did these two disciples of John the Baptist have? John 1:37–39.
“If John and Andrew had possessed the unbelieving spirit of the priests and rulers, they would not have been found as learners at the feet of Jesus. They would have come to Him as critics, to judge His words. Many thus close the door to the most precious opportunities. But not so did these first disciples. They had responded to the Holy Spirit’s call in the preaching of John the Baptist. Now they recognized the voice of the heavenly Teacher. To them the words of Jesus were full of freshness and truth and beauty. A divine illumination was shed upon the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures. The many-sided themes of truth stood out in new light.
“It is contrition and faith and love that enable the soul to receive wisdom from heaven. Faith working by love is the key of knowledge, and everyone that loveth ‘knoweth God’ (1 John 4:7).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 139.
c. Who were these first two disciples? John 1:40. [Note: When writing the gospel of John, the author never identified himself by his name.] Explain Andrew’s desire, after spending time with Jesus, to share the good news. John 1:41.
“The disciple John was a man of earnest and deep affection, ardent, yet contemplative. He had begun to discern the glory of Christ—not the worldly pomp and power for which he had been taught to hope, but ‘the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). He was absorbed in contemplation of the wondrous theme.
“Andrew sought to impart the joy that filled his heart. Going in search of his brother Simon, he cried, ‘We have found the Messias.’”—Ibid.
3. PETER, PHILIP, NATHANAEL
a. What did Jesus say to Simon Peter as soon as He saw him? John 1:42.
“Simon waited for no second bidding. He also had heard the preaching of John the Baptist, and he hastened to the Saviour. The eye of Christ rested upon him, reading his character and his life history. His impulsive nature, his loving, sympathetic heart, his ambition and self-confidence, the history of his fall, his repentance, his labors, and his martyr death—the Saviour read it all, and He said, ‘Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.’”—The Desire of Ages, p. 139.
b. How did a new disciple show his desire to share the good news the next day? John 1:43–45.
c. How did Nathanael express doubt in his heart about the good news, and how did Philip try to remove that doubt? John 1:46. What may we learn from the method these first Christian evangelists used in their work?
“While they trust to the guidance of human authority, none will come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Like Nathanael, we need to study God’s word for ourselves, and pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. He who saw Nathanael under the fig tree will see us in the secret place of prayer. Angels from the world of light are near to those who in humility seek for divine guidance.
“With the calling of John and Andrew and Simon, of Philip and Nathanael, began the foundation of the Christian church. John directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these, Andrew, found his brother, and called him to the Saviour. Philip was then called, and he went in search of Nathanael. These examples should teach us the importance of personal effort, of making direct appeals to our kindred, friends, and neighbors. There are those who for a lifetime have professed to be acquainted with Christ, yet who have never made a personal effort to bring one soul to the Saviour.”—Ibid., p. 141.
4. IF YOU BELIEVE ON ME
a. Despite Nathanael’s disbelief, what did Jesus say about him? John 1:47. What remark of Jesus caught Nathanael by surprise, and what was his response? John 1:48, 49.
b. As Jesus was looking forward with joy to the precious blessings that His work would bring to humanity, what did He say to Nathanael? John 1:51. Explain this verse.
“If you believe on Me . . . your faith shall be quickened. You shall see that the heavens are opened and are never to be closed. I have opened them to you. The angels of God are ascending, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and descending, bringing blessing and hope, courage, help, and life, to the children of men. . . .
“And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us. In taking upon Himself humanity, our Saviour unites His interests with those of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, while through His divinity He grasps the throne of God. And thus Christ is the medium of communication of men with God, and of God with men.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 142, 143.
c. How can we come to God through Christ? John 14:6.
“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.
“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 47, 48.
5. REVEALING JESUS’ CHARACTER
a. What highly effective method of evangelism should each of us use? 1 John 3:10, 11.
“Now that Jesus has ascended to heaven, His disciples are His representatives among men, and one of the most effective ways of winning souls to Him is in exemplifying His character in our daily life. Our influence upon others depends not so much upon what we say as upon what we are. Men may combat and defy our logic, they may resist our appeals; but a life of disinterested love is an argument they cannot gainsay. A consistent life, characterized by the meekness of Christ, is a power in the world.
“The teaching of Christ was the expression of an inwrought conviction and experience, and those who learn of Him become teachers after the divine order. The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality. When one has received the truth in the love of it, he will make this manifest in the persuasion of his manner and the tones of his voice. He makes known that which he himself has heard, seen, and handled of the word of life, that others may have fellowship with him through the knowledge of Christ. His testimony, from lips touched with a live coal from off the altar, is truth to the receptive heart, and works sanctification upon the character.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 141, 142.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What did John the Baptist say about Jesus Christ as soon as he recognized Him?
2. What was Andrew’s first evangelistic experience—and what should we learn from it?
3. How did Philip manifest a concern similar to Andrew’s?
4. Explain how we are to come to God.
5. Summarize the most powerful means of evangelism.