The Life Of Discipleship: The Andrew Model Bringing Barbarians

Bible Book: John  12 : 17-26
Subject: Discipleship
Series: Discipleship

In “Becoming A Christ-Centered Disciple-Making Church” Let’s Consider...

“8. The Life Of Discipleship: The Andrew Model – Bringing Barbarians”

Text: John 12:17-26

Theme – Purpose - Introduction

Theme: The underlying theme for this series is “Becoming A Christ-Centered, Disciple-Making Church.” Our starting point was the “Lesson Of Discipleship” from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5 thru 7. Since then we’ve used Andrew as an example of the “Life Of Discipleship.” We observed Andrew’s own discipleship experience with Jesus. Then we looked at Andrew’s interest in bringing his brother Simon to Jesus. Next we saw how Andrew brought a boy to Jesus, and the result was that thousands were fed. Today we’ll notice a group of seeking Greeks who were ushered into Jesus’ presence by Andrew.

Purpose: Too often we let personal, societal, racial and cultural differences hinder us from reaching someone in our own neighborhood for Jesus. In Revelation 5:9, the redeemed “sung a new song” to Jesus saying, “Thou... hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Heaven will be a multiracial, multinational gathering because of “the common salvation” (Jude 1:3), all united in “one body” (Ephesians 4:4). Our purpose is to lift up Jesus, because “if (He) be lifted up from the earth, (He) will draw all men unto (Himself)” (John 12:32).

Introduction: In 1939 a writer named Leonard Woolf used an ancient phrase as a title for a book he had written. It was called Barbarians At The Gate. In 1990 a writer named Bryan Burrough used the same title for his book documenting the account of the largest takeover in Wall Street history. In 1993, Burrough’s book became a motion picture that was also called “Barbarians At The Gate.” Burrough’s book is said to be “must reading for everyone interested in the way today’s world really works.”

Similarly, the account of these Greeks who sought Jesus in John 12 is must reading for anyone interested in the way a Christ-Centered, Disciple-Making Church really works in terms of reaching and discipling those outside of our four walls. I must point out that the New Testament distinguishes between Greeks and Barbarians. In fact, the word Barbarian (cf. Romans 1:14; Colossians 3:11) means a non-Greek. But it also suggests a foreigner, and to the discriminatory Jewish mind these Greeks who came were foreigners. In their way of thinking, Barbarians had shown up at the gate. Some might have thought they didn’t belong, but there were at least two besides Jesus who didn’t feel that way, Philip and Andrew. There are some valuable lessons in this account that can help us in reaching and discipling our neighborhood and our world.

Main Message

A. There Is A Sense Of Community In This Account

Our text follows the triumphal entry of Jesus, but the drawing card for many people was to see the One who had “called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead ... for that they heard that he had done this miracle” (John 12:17-18). After seeing the massive response the Pharisees said, “Behold, the world is gone after him” (John 12:19). This tells me that the world community can find common ground in Jesus. The Bible says these “certain Greeks ... came up to worship at the feast” (John 12:20). This tells me that the worship community can find common ground in Jesus. Politics, entertainment, sports; these things cannot unite people. In fact they tend to divide people, but Christ can unite people. Christ can create a true sense of community.

B. There Is A Spirit Of Cooperation In This Account

If we would become a Christ-centered, disciple-making church, we must have a spirit of cooperation. This is a fascinating scene as “certain Greeks ... came ... to Philip ... and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus” (John 12:20-21). These candidates of discipleship were unified in their desire. Their one aim and goal was to know Jesus better! It would have been disastrous if Philip and Andrew had been pursuing two totally different agendas. Thankfully, this was not the case. These coordinators of discipleship were unified in their direction as “Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus” (John 12:22). They knew that their objective was to get these individuals as close to Jesus as possible.

C. There Is A Sermon Of Christ In This Account

When these Greeks arrived, Jesus began talking about death and how His “soul (was) troubled” (vs. 27). Jesus was anticipating His death at Calvary and the result of this sacrifice. He shared a message on bearing fruit, which would be possible through His work as He said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (vs. 24). This sermon was also on being a follower. In verse 26 He said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me.” It seemed like a strange message for discipleship training, but this is exactly what disciples need to hear.


For security reasons, we have a gate at the end of our church drive that remains closed when no one is on campus. We recently had a guest speaker at our church that arrived so early for the service that he had to wait at the gate until someone else came and opened it. He later shared that while he was waiting, a woman from the neighborhood pulled in and began to converse with him. Unfortunately, she didn’t say, “Sir, I would see Jesus.” No, she wanted to bluster and complain about a tree that had recently been cut down on the church’s property. Our guest speaker informed her that he was only visiting and that she should be more interested in her soul than in some tree. She hurriedly drove away in a rage. A barbarian showed up at the gate. Whether people in our neighborhood have malice towards the church like this woman, or whether they have an interest in spiritual matters like the Greeks in our text, we must follow the example of Andrew and Philip and lovingly point them to Jesus.