Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

Baptism. In the desert. First acceptance of disciples

- Chapter 8 -
The Lord's first disciples: Andrew and Simon Peter.


(John 1:38) But Jesus turned, saw the two following Him and said to them: 'What are you looking for?' They said: 'Rabbi (which means: Master), where are You staying?'

This text also is a sequence to the preceding ones and has historical rather than spiritual meaning: for with it begins the familiar, still quite material, taking on the apostles, and that in the same region where John was active at Bethabara, a most miserable country town inhabited by poor fishermen. This is also the reason why the two disciples immediately ask about My lodging; actually, in which hut I live.
Since I had been staying in this area prior to the baptism for about 40 days preparing my human person for the beginning ministry through fasting and other exercises, it is historically also quite clear and certain that I had to have some place where to stay in this desolate and barren region which I considered the most suitable for My purpose.
The two disciples knew that I had already for some time been living in this region. They may have seen me there a number of times without, however, suspecting Who I was. Therefore, they promptly asked, not where I originally came from, but where I was staying in Bethabara which consisted mainly of the poorest fishermen's huts constructed from clay and reeds and often even not high enough for a man to stand upright therein.
And so I, too, lived in a similar hut which I had built My self rather deep in the desert. The hermitages which exist in practically all Christian lands date back to that.

(John 1:39) He said to them: 'Come and see!' So they went and saw where that was and stayed that same day with Him. It was about the tenth hour.

Thus this shelter was not far from the place where John was operating. That is why I said to the two disciples: 'Come and see!', where upon the two followed Me forthwith. We soon reached My hut and the disciples were not a little amazed that God's Anointed was living in just about the most unassuming hut which, besides, was situated in the most desolate part of the desert.
This, however, did not take place at the time during which nowadays the Christian communities usually have their 40-day fast, but about two months later, and as for the time of the day that we reached the hut it was about the tenth hour which according to the new style would be about three in the afternoon, for in those times the sunrise determined the first hour of the day. But since this does not always take place at the same time, the hour of the day mentioned then does not coincide exactly, but only roughly, with the time according to afternoon that I reached the shelter with the two disciples. - As these two disciples spent this day with Me until sunset, the question will arise in every inquiring reader's mind what the three of us did from three until about eight o'clock in and at My hut. For nothing has been written about that anywhere. Here it is obvious that I instructed these two concerning their future vocation and how and where I would begin with My ministry, also how I would, in this neighbourhood, still take on further men as My disciples, who were inclined and willing similar to them. At the same time I commissioned them to find out from their comrades, who were mostly fishermen and confer with them whether any of them would be inclined to join Me. This is what we discussed during that time. But as it became evening I let the two go and they returned - partly very happy, partly pondering - to their families, for they had wives and children and were wondering what to do with them.

(John 1:40) One of the two who had heard what John had said (about Jesus) and then followed Jesus was Andrew, a brother of Simon Peter.

One of the two, called Andrew, has soon made his decision and wants to follow Me at all costs. Therefore, he immediately goes to find his brother Simon who was somewhere attending to his nets.

(John 1:41) The first thing he did was to find his brother Simon. He said to him: 'We have found the Messiah!' (Messiah means as much as: the anointed.)

When after while he has found him, he hurriedly begins to tell Simon that he has, together with another disciple, who had not made a firm decision to follow Me, found the promised Messiah.

(John 1:42) (Simon wishes to see Jesus) and Andrew takes Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said: 'You are Simon, Son of Jonas;' from now on you shall be called Cepahs (that is, Peter the Rock)!'

When Simon hears about Me, he expresses the keen desire to meet Me as soon as possible, for he had not been present at the baptism. Andrew says, 'Today it cannot appropriately be done, but tomorrow morning you shall be with Him!'
Upon this Simon, who whatever he was doing kept dreaming of the Messiah and believed that the Messiah would help the poor and completely eliminate the hard-hearted rich, says, 'Brother, we must not waste a moment; I shall immediately leave everything and follow Him to the end of the world should that be His wish. Therefore do take me right away to Him, for I feel this strong urge and must still today see and speak to Him. The night is not too dark and it is not far to His hut, so let us go to Him immediately! Who knows, we might no longer find Him tomorrow?!'
Giving in to this urging, Andrew leads him to Me. As the two are approaching My shelter at an already rather late hour, Peter stops about 30 steps away from it in a state of exaltation and says to Andrew: 'I have a peculiar feeling. I am seized with a sublimely sweet awe, I hardly dare to take another step, but I still have this keen urge within me to see Him!'
Here I step out of My hut to meet the two brothers, which means that I saw him. It goes without saying that under 'being seen by Me' is to be understood My readiness to come to meet one who, like Simon, comes to Me above all in his heart. Therefore, he is immediately recognised by Me, that is, accepted and a new name is his first share in My Kingdom. Here Simon is promptly given the name Cephas, or the rock in his faith in Me, for I had seen long ago by what kind of spirit Peter is, and was, animated.
The way I addressed him was for Peter or Simon sufficient proof that I surely was the promised Messiah. From then on he never yielded to any doubt in his heart and did not ever ask Me whether I was the right One, since his heart was the only sure and valid witness for him. - both men now stayed with me until the morning and afterwards did not leave Me any more.