The expression “Eureka” is the California state motto. It stands for the cry of the gold rush miners when they discovered gold [No, they didn’t say it in Greek, but it sounds so much cooler to say that they said it in Greek. You be the judge: “I found it!” or “Eureka!” Eureka has that spare Emily Dickinson feel to it, plus it makes California look smart—which, let’s face it, they seriously need these days]. The expression supposedly goes back to Archimedes who noticed that the water rose in the bathtub when he stepped in, thus solving the dilemma which had bedeviled
one super rich king everyone: “How can I make sure that my tons and tons of gold are the real thing?”
What does eureka! have to do with Andrew and/or the gospel of John?
As I was studying through John 1.35-42 this morning I was struck by the actions of Andrew when he came face to face with the Messiah. First, Andrew heard and followed. “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35–37 ESV). He heard John’s testimony: “That man over yonder is the Lamb of God.” Andrew responded to John’s testimony by following, not John, but the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world [I’d say he got that exactly right, wouldn’t you?]. No one, and I mean no one, follows Christ if they don’t first hear about Christ, whether that be by someone telling them, by reading about him in the gospels, by a testimony, etc. However, hearing is not enough. Andrew had to act upon what he heard John say. He had to do something. He followed.
[Geek alert and theological diversion. When John writes that Andrew “followed Jesus” he uses a Greek word ἀκολουθέω which has a special sense when it refers to an individual in the gospels. Here is what NIDNTT [Super cool theological book] says about it: “ἀκολουθέω (follow) denotes the action of a man answering the call of Jesus whose whole life is redirected in obedience.”]
Andrew has a fundamental and radical change when he hears John’s testimony and follows Jesus. Nothing will ever be the same for him.
The point for us is that we have to do something about Jesus. Hearing is not enough. We can either follow and be forever changed, like Andrew, or we can not follow [in which case immediately stop reading this blog post, because you are wasting your time. Go. Eat. Drink. Tomorrow you shall die.]
Andrew [which by the way means “manliness” awesome name, no?] doesn’t stop with hearing and following he has a eureka! moment [actually eurekamen, but that sounds too much like ramen noodles]. John: “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).” (John 1:41 ESV). [If you’re not a geek hang on because this is actually really cool, so wade through the Greek with me.] The Greek quotes Andrew as: εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν (we have found the Messiah!)
I already explained what Messiah means. When Andrew speaks the word “eurekamen!” he uses the perfect tense in Greek. The perfect tense is used when you want to say that something happened and it’s effects still stand true and will be true into the future. [Example: “John, I have seen [perfect tense] your report card” – Uh oh…my Dad saw my report card in the past, what he saw is true in the present, and it will be true in the future after I get off being grounded for the foreseeable future]. So when Andrew says “we have found the Messiah” he isn’t looking for any more Messiahs. The one he found is The One. That was true when he found Christ; it was true when he tells Peter; it will be true into Andrew’s future. It is signed, sealed, delivered: the Messiah is found.
Andrew testifies to Peter about the Messiah. He isn’t satisfied with hearing and following he has to tell someone!
However, Andrew doesn’t stop with telling Peter. John reports that Andrew: “Brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:42 ESV). Andrew needs to introduce Peter to Jesus, so he brings him along and there is this classic scene in which Jesus sees Peter and says: You are Simon the son of John, You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter) (John 1.42), [which means “rock”].
What did Peter conclude about Christ after Andrew dragged him to their first encounter?
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13–16 ESV)
Peter too has eureka’ed! the Messiah.
So to give the Clif Notes version [for the Marines]:
- Andrew heard a testimony about Christ
- Andrew followed Christ
- Andrew testified about Christ to Peter
- Andrew took Peter to meet Christ