Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and would have heard his assertions that someone was to come who would offer a greater baptism: baptism of the Spirit. He would, therefore, have shared John’s sense of expectation and been on the alert for the one who was to come.
The Gospel passage does not record any conversation between John and Jesus – but emphasizes that John looked hard at Jesus – weighing up the man he saw before him.
What he saw – and what he sensed – led him to announce that this man was indeed the one who was to come: the Lamb of God.
Andrew and another disciple are intrigued and set out to follow Jesus. He becomes aware of them and asks what it is they want from Him. Their answer seems strange – they want to know where He lives. His response is to invite them to come to His home and, we are told, they stayed with Him for the whole day.
The next day, Andrew finds his brother and tells him about the Messiah he met the day before and takes him to meet Jesus.
Like John the day before, Jesus looks hard at Simon – getting the measure of the man and in the light of what He discerns about him, changes his name to Cephas – or, as we more usually know it, Peter.
The two encounters are life-changing – and yet, seem very ordinary. Jesus was not proclaiming a message – making erudite speeches – or performing great miracles. Instead, He was simply walking past John – and, when Andrew and his friend introduce themselves, takes them to His home and offers hospitality and companionship.
When He meets Peter, He does not ask searching questions or makes solemn declarations – He just looks at him – makes an assessment of his character – and accepts him as a friend.
The simplicity of Jesus’ manner reinforces His willingness to receive people “where they are” – but also to see their potential. He does not offer lengthy explanations or list His credentials but takes people to His home and lets them see for themselves.
What does it mean for us? Our own journey of discipleship is a process of coming to know Jesus more fully, being more attracted to him, following him more faithfully even when the cost is great. What might that cost look like? We might have to walk away from the watercooler at work to avoid gossip. We might lose friends when we speak up for justice. We might be shunned by a social group when we live out our gospel values. In all these ways we unite ourselves more fully with the total self-giving of Jesus and grow in faithful discipleship.