Fast Devotional #4 – The First Follower
John 1:35-42, 6:1-15
During his 2010 TED talk, Derek Sivers introduces the idea that following first is an underestimated form of leadership. If you haven’t already seen it, let me encourage you to watch it now.
His argument is that it’s the first follower that shows everyone HOW to follow and that new followers actually emulate the first follower, not the leader.
“It’s the first follower that transforms a lone nut into a leader.”
Have you ever considered who the very first follower of Jesus was? It was a fisherman called Andrew, he was Simon Peter’s brother.
35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). John 1:35-42
Not only did Andrew follow first, but he introduced Simon Peter to Jesus. Think about the leader Peter became to the early church. Think about his sermon at Pentecost that saw three thousand baptized that day. Andrew followed Jesus before anyone else and led Peter to the Lord! Andrew led by following first.
Andrew doesn’t get mentioned much, but when he does, he is always doing something small yet significant.
Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. John 6:5-9
Jesus asked Philip, “where can we get enough food for five thousand people?” Most people would have responded just like Philip did… “Jesus, let me explain to you why this is going to be a problem”. But then Andrew, the first follower, spoke up. He knew that five loaves of bread and two fish would achieve more in the hands of Jesus than they would in the hands of a boy. He presented Jesus with a solution when everyone else was presenting Jesus with the problem. His initiative led to five thousand hungry people being fed that day.
Derek Sivers says that “If you find someone doing something great, have the courage to stand up and join in”. Andrew was the first person to join the Jesus movement. His small yet significant acts of initiative and evangelism led to great things. He teaches us that following Jesus is leading people to Him.
Heavenly Father, give me the courage to follow your leading even when no one else seems to be doing so. Give me the courage to find a solution when everyone else is presenting the problem. Give me the courage and the opportunity to be salt and light in my sphere of influence and introduce people to Jesus. Help me lead as I wholeheartedly follow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.