Have you ever been in a conversation with a “name-dropper”?
These folks can be tough to talk to sometimes. It’s not the fact that they’re connected that’s annoying. Nor is it the fact they give credit where credit is due (when something is not their idea).
The annoying thing with “name-droppers” is the pride they take in their connection and in the name they’re quoting. We like to be associated with important people. It’s human nature.
We see this idea built into our society. If we get rich and give money to our favorite college or university, they might name a building after us. To some Christians, they feel they deserve similar honor if they give a lot of money to their local congregation.
There’s this drive in us to be important and be known for our connections, wealth, prestige, information, knowledge, or position.
But for disciples of Jesus, it’s different. We read an example of how different it is in our passage today in John 1:35-42.
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).John 1:35-42
New International Version
Who were these two disciples of John the Baptizer who left John to check out Jesus? One is named directly: Andrew (Simon Peter’s brother). The other is most likely the author himself, John (the Apostle, not John the Baptizer).
Jesus responded to their walking up behind him with “What do you want?”. This isn’t chit chat. This is asking them of their motivations. Why do they want out of this encounter? Jesus’ response to them was not to let them know what they would become in time, but to simply invite them to take another step towards Him. Their formal calling from Him would come later.
Andrew told his brother Simon who would also end up following Jesus.
But it’s the response of John the Baptizer that catches my attention. When John first saw Jesus, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” Then some of his own disciples leave him to check out Jesus. It was normal for first century Jewish teachers to accept disciples. They didn’t recruit them; they allowed people to follow along and learn.
But John the Baptizer encourages his disciples to “go look” at Jesus and examine His teaching. This is a remarkable example of humility on John’s part as he is willing to lose his disciples to the Great Teacher, Jesus Christ.
John the Baptizer knew his role and how he “fit” into the Lord’s plan. He wasn’t trying to gain prestige or position. Instead, he was paving the way for others to find Jesus. The only name John was willing to drop in a conversation was Jesus’.
Can the same be said of us? Is it His name we drop in conversation? Are we more concerned with how He views us instead of how our fellow humans regard us? Are we more satisfied with people thinking less of us if it means they think more of Him?
Years ago, I met an older gentleman. I asked, “How are you doing?” His response changed the way I answer that question myself. He said, “I’m blessed far more than I deserve.” Touché.
Let’s work at dropping the name of Jesus into our conversations. May we live out a desire to make our lives less about us and more about Jesus.