One day, when the fight of Jesus with the devil in the wilderness was over, He came to Bethabara, where John was baptizing, and when John saw Jesus coming towards him, he said:
'BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.'
The next day John saw Jesus again, and again he said the same words:
'BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD!'
John called Jesus the Lamb of God, because He had come to die for our sins.
Two men were standing close to John when Jesus came by, and they heard what he said. The name of one of these men was Andrew, and of the other John. Jesus knew that they would like to speak to Him, so He turned round and asked them what they wanted. 'Master,' they said, 'where dwellest Thou?' (that means 'where are you living?') Jesus said, 'Come, and you shall see.' And He took the two disciples to His home, and He let them stay with Him the whole of the day. What a happy day that must have been!
Andrew had a brother called Simon, and he went and found him, and told him that he had found the Messiah, and brought him to see his new Master. So now Jesus had three disciples -- John, Andrew, and Simon; and next day He took them away with Him to Galilee. While they were going along, Jesus saw a man called Philip, who came from the place where Simon and Andrew lived when they were at home. Jesus told Philip to come with Him, and he came. But Philip went to a friend of his, a very good man called Nathanael, also called Bartholomew, and he told him that he had found Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, and begged him to come and see Him.
How many disciples had Jesus now? Let us see. John, Andrew, Simon, Philip, and Nathanael -- five. And very likely John had brought his brother James to Jesus. If so, that would make six.
Directly Jesus came into Galilee He was invited to a wedding, at a place called Cana, and all of His disciples with Him. Jesus went to the wedding because He likes to see people happy, and loves to make them happy. In America, people often drink more wine at weddings and at other times than is good for them, and a great many people go without any wine at all, so as to set a good example. But in the East it is different. The people there hardly ever take too much wine. So Jesus allowed His disciples to use it, and He drank it Himself. There was some wine at the wedding party to which Jesus went; but presently it came to an end. Then Mary came to Jesus, and said, 'They have no wine.' Jesus knew what Mary was thinking about, but He had to tell her to wait; and He had to make Mary understand that He could not do everything now which she told Him to do, exactly as when He was a boy. He was God's Son as well as Mary's, and He had God's work to do, and He must do it at God's time.
[Illustration: A modern Jew's wedding party in Galilee.]
But when Mary went back, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them. Close to the house there were six great stone jars or waterpots, and Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And lo! when the water was taken out of the jars, it was water no longer, but wine.
This was the very first miracle that Jesus did, and He did it to make people happy, and to make them believe that He was the Son of God. Dear children, Jesus wants you to be happy. And the best way to be happy is to ask Jesus to go with you everywhere and always, just as those wedding people asked Him to come to their party.
He did not stay very many days in Capernaum. The lovely spring flowers told Him that the Passover time was coming, so He went up with His disciples, to Jerusalem. When Jesus had come to Jerusalem, you may be sure that His disciples and He soon went to the Temple, and when they got inside the great Court of the Gentiles they found a market was going on there. Men were selling oxen and sheep and doves for sacrifice. Others were sitting at little tables changing money. And there must have been plenty of noise, for people in the East shout and quarrel a great deal when they are buying or selling.
When Jesus saw this, He was angry; and He made a whip with pieces of cord, and He drove away all the people who were selling in the Temple. And He turned out the sheep and the oxen; and he told the men who sold doves to take them away, and not turn His Father's House into a store. Jesus upset the tables of the money-changers too, and poured out their money.
Jesus did a great many wonderful things when He was in Jerusalem that Passover time, and many persons saw His miracles, and thought, 'Yes, this is the Messiah.' But Jesus did not trust any of those people. He knew that they did not really love Him. But there was one man in Jerusalem who did want to be Jesus Christ's disciple. His name was Nicodemus. He was a great Rabbi, but not proud like the other Rabbis, and he wanted to ask Jesus a great many questions. But he did not want the other Rabbis and the priests to see him coming to Jesus. So he came to Jesus by night -- in the dark.
Did Jesus say, 'You are not brave, Nicodemus, I am ashamed of you; go away'? Ah no! He talked kindly to him, and He told him that he would have to be born again. He meant that Nicodemus must ask God to send him His Holy Spirit, and to give him a new heart. And then Jesus explained to Nicodemus why He had come down from heaven. He said:
'GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.'