Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 11

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 11


John 1:40–51

What is the standard answer when coaches are asked how they choose a starting lineup? “We choose players that give us the best chance to win.” Did Jesus select the best men available to comprise the 12 disciples? He chose willing people. The four listed here exemplify the type of individuals Jesus desired as followers.

Andrew and Peter (40–42)

John the Baptist garnered a large following, including some outside his Judean base. When he saw Jesus, John affirmed Jesus as the Lamb of God. Andrew and an unnamed person heard John’s statement. The two spent an evening with Jesus and left convinced.

Andrew marched into discipleship. He first tracked down his brother Simon without hesitation. Simon heard Andrew’s claim that he had encountered the promised Messiah.

Andrew modeled discipleship. He brought Simon to Jesus, who gave Simon a new name: Cephas (Peter), meaning rock. Jesus peered into Peter’s heart to see who he could be, not who he was. Jesus invested in a flawed Peter and led him to his full potential as a rock-solid disciple. Discipleship is a work in progress. Do you find your identity in a job, the place you live, the people you know, or Jesus?

Philip (43–46)

The day after His experience with Peter, Jesus departed Judea for Galilee. He found Philip and invited him to follow. Philip located Nathanael to relay news about Jesus. Like Andrew, Philip introduced another to Jesus. Philip explained to Nathanael he had discovered the One foreseen by Moses and the prophets. He appeared as Jesus, the son of Joseph.

Philip identified Jesus’ city of origin, Nazareth. Nathanael from nearby Cana knew the insignificant town of Nazareth and observed no good thing came from there. Philip urged Nathanael to come and see. Disciples bring folks to Jesus, and He takes it from there. Disciples don’t redeem the lost. Jesus does.

Nathanael (47–51)

Nathanael accompanied Philip. At first sight, Jesus read Nathanael’s transparent character. Nathanael was confounded and demanded Jesus disclose how He knew him. Jesus revealed He had spotted Nathanael beneath a shady fig tree. Some used such places to study the law.

The explanation led Nathanael to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. The term identified Him as divine. Jesus communicated to Nathanael how discipleship opens a window to experience greater things.

Jesus connected the disciples’ future to Jacob’s dream about a ladder (Gen. 28:12–16). An open heaven with angels climbing up and down depicted God providing access from earth to heaven and back through Jesus. His preferred self-designation, Son of Man, conveyed Jesus’ human status. God makes Himself reachable. Do you access His support regularly?

Disciples follow Jesus in faith and truth. Disciples are responsible to bring others to Him and give Him the opportunity to make them disciples.

By Darryl Wood
Retired pastor, current hospice chaplain and interim pastor

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