Category Archives: JOHN 1:35-51

Sections 6 and 7

JOHN 1:35-51

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN CHAPTER 1, VERSES 35-51

1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

1:37  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

1:38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
                                                                                                                                                  1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

1:40  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
                                                                                                                                                   1:41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
                                                                                                                                                  1:42  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
                                                                                                                                                    1:43  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

1:44  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
                                                                                                                                                        1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
                                                                                                                                                  1:46  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
                                                                                                                                                        1:47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

1:48  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

1:49  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

1:50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

1:51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 

SECTION 6 Verses 35-42. 

THE WORD IN RELATION TO BELIEVERS:    THE EXAMPLE.

1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 

Having seen Jesus come to him in verse 29, just as the Old Testament saints had done, John now comes to a halt.  He can go no further as the representative of the law.  The law was Israel’s schoolmaster until Christ came, but now He has come, faith in Him is required, not works of law, Galatians 3:24.

1:36  And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 

 Once we have seen the Lamb of God as the bearer away of the sin of the world, and repented of our sin; seen Him as the Son of God, and believed on Him; received the gift of the Holy Spirit which He bestows when we believe, then we are in a position to look upon Him as He walked on earth, and imitate Him, as 1 Peter 2:21 and 1 John 2:6 exhort us to do.

1:37  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 

 We read no more about John the Baptist in the chapter, for the end of the law age is in sight, and full occupation with Christ marks this present age.  These two disciples gladly leave John to follow the Lamb, and John was happy that they did, for he said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, 3:30.  The more we contemplate the life of Christ as made known to us in the four gospels, the more the life of Jesus will be manifest in our mortal body, 2 Corinthians 3:4:10, and the less there will be of self.  “Not I but Christ” was Paul’s motto, Galatians 2:20.

1:38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 

 Like a true shepherd, the Lord was going before His sheep, and they are happy to follow, confident that He will not lead them astray.  This is the first word directly addressed to Christ in the chapter.  Since not all who profess to follow Him are genuine, John 6:66-71, He probes their motives.  Is it curiosity, obedience to John, or a desire to go on to things John cannot give them?  That it is the latter is seen in that they address Him as Rabbi.  Do they realise He is the prophet like unto Moses that John the Baptist had referred to?  They not only wish to recognise His status as teacher, but they wish to remain with Him to be taught, for their interest is not temporary. 

1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 

 The actual place is not specified, to forestall any superstitious reverence for physical locations.  The Crusades of the Middle Ages did much harm at the time, and still do prove a stumbling-block to Moslems, who view them as an attack by “Christians” on them.  The Crusades were carried out to deliver the “holy” sites in Palestine from the “infidels”, and to secure the safe passage of pilgrims to those sites.  As such, they were totally meaningless, as there are no holy sites on earth. 
These disciples show that they were not merely curious about where He was staying, for they continued with Him.  They continued steadfastly, as the early believers did.  They valued His presence above all else. They were not concerned about lavish accommodation, for they were concentrated only on learning of Him.  The tenth hour is probably reckoned by Roman time, for this seems to be John’s mode, and would therefore be ten o’clock in the morning.  Otherwise it would be four o’clock in the afternoon.  This would make the “for” inexplicable.  We could understand someone saying they were there all day for they arrived in the morning, but not so easily understand someone saying they were there all day for they arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon.  Abide is a favourite word with John, and is otherwise rendered remain, or continue.  Those who have everlasting life have staying power, for everlasting life is not just for ever, but lasting as well; quantity of life and quality of life combined.

1:40  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 

 The apostle is sure we will not think that they heard John and followed John.  To hear John in this context was to hear him point out Christ as the Lamb of God.  John does not mention who the other disciple was, probably because it was himself.  He, like John the Baptist, is decreasing in favour of Christ.

1:41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 

 Note the balance here.  It is still the same day as when they abode with Him, but they now are reaching out to others, beginning with their own relatives.  It is important to sit at Christ’s feet to learn of Him; it is also important that we tell what we learn.  Does “first findeth” mean Andrew found Peter before John found his brother James, or first before he found anyone else?  Note that he has combined together the various offices John the Baptist has allotted to Christ in his preaching, and has concluded He must be the Messiah.  Does Andrew interpret the name to Peter, or is it John the apostle interpreting it to his readers?  Probably the latter, as Simon would know the meaning of the name Messias, and would not need his brother to interpret it.

1:42  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

 The word for look means a close penetrating look.  It is used of the maid in the palace court at the trial, when she looked on Peter and concluded he was one of Christ’s disciples.  And of the look of Christ towards Peter after he had denied His Lord.  On that occasion, The Lord’s look dissolved him to tears.  With His Divine insight into the hearts of men, (see 2:25), the Lord could see a man who would be steadfast for Him, even though he would have his lapses.  We see here another feature that marks the present age, namely the idea of being a living stone built into the house of God.  Peter wrote about this in 1 Peter 2:4-6.  So there is not only the personal abiding in communion with Christ, but also the collective idea of believers being built up together.  See also the conversation in Matthew 16:16-18. 

If section four gave us a scene with an Old Testament flavour, and then section five told us about the Messiah who had finally arrived, and section six gives features that mark the present age, then section seven gives us insights into the coming Millenial age, after the church believers have been taken to heaven at the Lord’s coming for them.  It is important for us to have a general view of future events, for our God delights to let us into His secrets. 
God had challenged the false gods of heathendom to foretell the future if their claim to be true was genuine, Isaiah 41:21-24.

OVERAL VIEW OF THE FUTURE 
The rapture of the Church, when the Lord Jesus descends into the air to take His people to the Father’s House, John 14:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:47-58.
The last seven-year period of Daniel 9:24-27.  This period is divided into two equal parts.  During the first part God’s judgements will commence, but He will also send forth 144,000 evangelists, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel, Revelation 7, to preach the gospel of the kingdom, in the same way as John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of the King.  Matthew 24:1-14.
During this time the Antichrist, Satan’s final world-ruler, will enter into a covenant with the apostate part of the nation of Israel, protecting them from their many enemies, and allowing them to recommence the temple rituals, Daniel 9:27.  
In the middle of the seven years, he will break that covenant, and install himself in the temple at Jerusalem, and claim the worship of men, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11.  This will be the signal for the Great Tribulation to begin, a time of unparalleled judgement and suffering, Matthew 24:12-28. 
Those who believe the gospel of the kingdom will be preserved through this time of trouble, and will enter the kingdom of the Messiah when He comes to earth at His appearing, Matthew 24:29-35. 
Then will follow the 1000-year reign of the Lord Jesus, and this will merge into eternity, after the judgement of the Great White Throne has taken place, Revelation 20:1-15; Isaiah 65:17-25.

SECTION 7 Verses 43-51 

THE WORD IN RELATION TO ISRAEL:   THE KING

1:43  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 

 We come now to scenes which present a picture of future events after the church age has finished.  Going forth into Galilee represents an emergence from obscurity into manifestation, just as the Lord is now hidden, but one day will be revealed to the world.  It was to men from Galilee that the angel said that the Lord would return, Acts 1:11.  Philip is a Gentile name, and Galilee was known as Galilee of the Gentiles, because as regards the land of Israel, the influence of the outside world was felt most there.  In 12:20,21 the Gentile seekers first approached Philip, as one most accessible to Gentiles.  So there is a combination of blessing for Israelites and Gentiles suggested by the passage, and that will indeed be the case in the age of the Messiah’s reign.

1:44  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 

 Bethsaida was one of the towns where most of Christ’s miracles would be done, and yet they would be unresponsive to His claims, as Matthew 11:21,22 shows.  These miracles were the powers of the age to come, Hebrews 6:1-8, the proof that He was the true Messiah, as Isaiah 35:5,6 had foretold.  Philip is called “the evangelist” in Acts 21:8 and in the context here represents the preachers of the gospel of the kingdom of a day to come.  Bethsaida means “place of nets”, and reminds us of the fact that evangelism is fishing for men, Matthew 4:19.

1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 

 Note the mention of the law and prophets.  At present a veil is on the heart of the nation of Israel when Moses is read, 2 Corinthians 3:4-16, for they have been blinded nationally because of their refusal of Christ, John 12:38-41; Romans 11:25.  When the nation turns to the Lord, the truth of the Old Testament will dawn upon them as never before, for they will discover that Christ is the answer to it all, John 5:46; Luke 24:27,44,45; Revelation 19:10.  It is very possible that Nathaniel was reading the Old Testament scriptures as he sat under the fig tree, and this gave Philip an opening.  Compare Philip’s similar experience in Acts 8:26-35.  Note the connection Philip makes between the glorious Messiah of Old Testament scripture, and the humble Jesus of Nazareth.

1:46  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 

 Isaiah had said that He would be despised and esteemed not, Isaiah 53:3, and part of that was because of His association with the humble poor.  Perhaps Nathaniel meant that the Messiah, “the good thing”, was not prophesied to come out of Nazareth.  Isaiah 11:1 uses the word “netser” of the branch, a title of the Messiah, and perhaps this is the basis of the word Nazareth.  See Matthew 2:23.  Philip’s “Come and see” reminds us that the nation of Israel as a whole will only be converted when they see Christ for who He is really, when He comes as the one Israel pierced, Revelation 1:7; Zechariah 12:10.  Paul is a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting, 1 Timothy 1:16, and he was converted through seeing Christ in glory.

1:47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 

 If the Lord made His way towards Galilee on the east side of the Jordan, He would have crossed the brook Jabbok, where Jacob had his experience of wrestling with the angel, and where his name was changed from Jacob, (supplanter, Genesis 27:36) to Israel, (prince with God), Genesis 32:22-32.  Thus he was changed from a man who had sought to take advantage of people and deceive them, into one who was princely in dignity, and fit to be in the kingdom.  With His insight into the hearts of men, (see 2:24), the Lord knew that Nathanael had responded to the testimony of Philip and the scriptures, and would respond to further light as he came face to face with his Messiah.  He would not seek Jacob-like, his own advantage, but would be Israel-like, a believer with princely dignity.  See David’s testimony in Psalm 32:1,2.

1:48  Nathanael saith unto Him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 

 Isaiah 11:3 says the Messiah will not judge by the sight of His eyes, but will look on the heart.  Nathanael is convinced that He is that Messiah, for He knew what he was doing, where he was doing it, and his attitude of heart as he did it.  The fig tree is a figure of the nation of Israel after the flesh, whereas the olive tree and the vine present different aspects of the spiritual mission of Israel in the world.  Nathanael is seen coming from under the fig tree, for in a day to come the believing remnant of Israel will be morally separate from the unbelieving part of the nation.  As to his present calling, Nathanael would be incorporated eventually into the church, but he is also a representative of that part of the nation of Israel that will respond to the gospel of the kingdom, just as Philip is representative of the evangelists that will be raised up in the Tribulation Period to preach it.  See Revelation 14:1-5, and note especially the expression “no guile” in verse 5.

1:49  Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel. 

The Messiah would administer for God as His Firstborn Son, as both Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 indicate.  See also Hebrews 1:5.  Perhaps this is all Nathanael knew about the Lord’s Sonship at this point, but he would surely go on to learn that He was the only begotten of the Father too.  Nathanael was aware that the Messiah would be king, as Son of David, and he anticipates the coming kingdom by welcoming the king.

1:50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 

Greater things in the sense that the experience of Nathanael would be duplicated in Israel and the world when Christ comes.  Because he would be incorporated into the church at Pentecost, Nathaniel, like all church saints, shall come with Christ to the earth, and will see Him magnified.

1:51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. 

 Heaven and earth are to be linked together, so that the Land of Israel will be called Beulah Land, Beulah meaning married, see Hosea 2:14-23.  The one who links them together is the Son of Man, for God will gather together into one both heaven and earth in Him, Ephesians 1:10.  Just as Jacob was assured at Bethel that God was with him, and was his protector and supplier, as he dreamed of a ladder up to heaven, and angels ascending and descending, Genesis 28:10-12, so the Lord will be the supplier and sustainer of His people, and of the whole earth.  Note the change from “thou” in verse 50 to “ye” in this verse.  Ye being plural takes in the whole of the born-again nation of Israel, for all of the nation of Israel who refuse to worship the beast shall be saved when the Deliverer comes out from Zion, Romans 11:26,27.  The Son of Man is relevant to all men everywhere, and will see to it in His kingdom that heaven’s rights are maintained in the earth.  It is only those who are on earth that can see heaven opened, so the vantage point is that of earth, hence the angels ascend first on the Son of man, for He will be on earth too in that day.