Andrew and Philip

It is a blessed thing to know that the Lord Jesus Christ has settled the question of our sins so that we can say without a doubt, "We have peace with God." But it is quite another matter to make His acquaintance personally. We may receive the blessing of forgiveness through Him, and be very little changed; but if we make the acquaintance of the Blesser, our whole life will be transformed — service will become both happy and natural, and it will be successful in the truest sense of the word.

I want to illustrate the great difference that heart-acquaintance with Christ makes by what is recorded of Andrew and Philip in the Gospel of John. They are, with one exception, always spoken of together in that gospel. The first mention of them is in the opening chapter. Andrew was with John the Baptist when he stood and looked upon Jesus as He walked. He heard John's words, "Behold the Lamb of God." He had been with John and learnt blessed things from him, but now the One of whom John spake was there, and he was attracted by Him and followed on, drawn by the magnetism of His person. The Lord turned, and seeing him and his companion following, said, "What seek ye?" They replied, "Master, where dwellest Thou?" Ah! We quite understand the meaning of their inquiry. It was as though they said, "No place will satisfy us but whore Thou art; we cannot do without Thee." Would not this give pleasure to the heart of the Lord Jesus? Indeed it would. So He replied, "Come and see." Oh, the heartiness of the welcome!

Evidently they believed that in the place where He dwelt there would be room for them, or they would never have dared to ask the question. It has often been pointed out that the Lord's dwelling-place is in the bosom of the Father (v. 18), the circle of the Father's love. That is not my point just now. And the Lord Himself will not be satisfied until we are in heart with Him in His own dwelling-place. So we need not draw back, for we, too, shall find a wonderful welcome in the place where He dwells. Oh, how He loves us!

What I want to point out is that Andrew gained the company of the Lord and abode with Him that day. What wonderful things he must have learned! His heart had been looking out and yearning for the One whom God had promised through the prophets to send; and now He had come, and Andrew had found Him. He had been welcomed to His home; he had found Him to be full of grace and truth, and his heart was satisfied. Happy Andrew! May we get where he got!

Now with Philip things were different. He was not attracted to the Lord in the same way, for we find the Lord had to command him to follow Him; nor do we read that he reached the place that Andrew did. But beyond doubt he must have been blessed through coming into contact with the Lord in any way.

We find these two men go forth to bring others to the One whom they had found. It must ever be so when real blessing is received. Its course is outward and onward to others, and if, in your heart, there is no desire to see others blest, we greatly doubt as to whether you have got the blessing yourself. One thing is absolutely certain — you are not enjoying it.

Andrew first sought out his brother Simon, saying to him, "We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus." What a lovely sentence that is, He brought him to Jesus"! He brought him to the One who had satisfied his own heart, the One in whom is all love, all grace, all tenderness, and all power. In short, he brought him to One whom all sinners need, and the One who is sufficient for all.

See what follows. "Jesus beheld him." With what love He must have looked upon him! Those words — "Jesus beheld him" — speak volumes to us. Then He said, "Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas," which means "a stone." Thus we learn that Simon had heard and believed the testimony of Andrew. And now the Lord tells him that, having believed, he was to become one of the bright stones in God's spiritual house, which Christ, in His omnipotence, was to build.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." If you compare this testimony with Andrew's, you will at once see the difference. Nor was it so eminently successful, for we find that Nathanael straightway began to cavil, saying, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" And it was not until Philip said, "Come and see. Prove it for yourself before you judge," that Nathanael was drawn to Jesus.

We pause here for a moment, for it is possible that some unconverted soul will read this paper. You have long doubted the power and grace of Jesus. You have imagined that He cannot benefit you at all, because you do not see much brightness or joy in Christians around you. To you we would say, as Philip said to Nathanael, "Come and see. Prove Him for yourself; you shall find Him to be brighter and better than the best thing on earth". But even Nathanael takes higher ground than Philip in his testimony, for when he came, and had to do with the Lord Himself, he exclaims, "Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." Here, then, we see a distinct difference, at the very outset, between Andrew and Philip.

Now the next time we read of them is in John 6. Gathered round the Lord and His disciples were five thousand famishing people, and His heart was moved with compassion towards them, and He intended to feed them. But, first of all, He speaks to Philip to prove him, saying, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" Philip's reply proves that he thought such a thing impossible. "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little," he said. He had no thought of the power of his Master.

Andrew standing by hears the question and the answer, and he says, "There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes." Apart from faith, to mention so small a supply in the presence of such vast need was absurd in the extreme. But Andrew had some knowledge of the Lord's power, or he never would have mentioned the small supply that the lad had, even though he spoiled it somewhat by saying, "But what are they among so many?" We know the result. The Lord took that small supply of which Andrew spoke, and made it sufficient to meet the need of every person in that vast multitude.

They are brought together again in chapter 12. Certain Creeks had come up to the feast to worship. These came to Philip, saying, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Philip seems to be somewhat in a dilemma. But he goes and tells Andrew his difficulty. Andrew had no difficulty at all; for we read that at once he and Philip go and tell Jesus. We gather that Andrew had some idea of the overflowing grace that was in Christ Jesus, which could and would reach outside and beyond the bounds of the Jewish nation and take in the Greeks.

The whole secret comes out with regard to Philip in chapter 14. There Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?" This was the secret. Philip had received blessing from the Lord, and he was one of those of whom it is said, Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." But he had never really known the Lord Jesus as the One who came from the Father, bringing of the fullness and wealth of heaven down to those who were brought to Him. His attractiveness as in chapter 1, His power as in chapter 6, His grace as in chapter 12, had not really been comprehended by him.

Oh that we may be like Andrew, attracted to the Lord by the beauty that we see in Him! May He become so indispensable to us that we cannot do without Him.

But if He is indispensable to us, He is also all-sufficient. We have no need to turn to any other source of supply. If this is the case with us, like Andrew, we shall always be found bringing something or someone to Jesus. With him it was first the sinner — then the smallness of his own supply in the presence of a vast need — then as the servant of the Lord who knew how to act in an emergency. All alike were brought to Jesus by Andrew, because he first had proved how wonderfully Jesus could meet and answer every question in his soul. "Go, and do thou likewise."