John 1 Commentary


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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll

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John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

TLB - Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God.

Phillips - At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning.

Moffatt - The Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine.

NLT - In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

ICB - Before the world began, there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (International Children's Bible)

Barclay - When the world had its beginning, the word was already there; and the word was with God; and the word was God. This word was in the beginning with God.

  • the beginning: John 1:2 Ge 1:1 Pr 8:22-31 Eph 3:9 Col 1:17 Heb 1:10 Heb 7:3 Heb 13:8 Rev 1:2,8,11 Rev 2:8 Rev 21:6 Rev 22:13
  • the Word: John 1:14 1Jn 1:1,2 5:7 Rev 19:13
  • with: John 1:18 Jn 16:28 Jn 17:5 Pr 8:22-30 1Jn 1:2
  • the Word was: John 10:30-33 Jn 20:28 Ps 45:6 Isa 7:14 Isa 9:6 Isa 40:9-11 Mt 1:23 Ro 9:5 Php 2:6 1Ti 3:16 Titus 2:13 Heb 1:8-13 2Pe 1:1 1Jn 5:7,20
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

EXCERPT - In the beginning (en arche) - What beginning? When is the beginning? Does he mean the beginning of eternity? Of course not, as eternity by its very nature has no beginning and no end, a truth no finite mind can fully grasp. What John is saying could be paraphrased "Before even time began was the Word." And so beginning refers to the inception of creation. When the creation came into existent, Jesus was already there. No matter how far back we believe the beginning to be, we will find Jesus, the pre-existent Word. Athanasius put it this way "There never was when He was not, when the Son of God was not." (Athanasius' Discourse I Against the Arians -See point 14) In other words, the Word was not created (He is "un-created")! In fact as we will discuss in more detail on John 1:3, He not only pre-existed eternally before creation, He created creation, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created by Him and for Him." (Col 1:16+) The writer of Hebrews adds that "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, (not logos but rhema, the spoken word, but the phrase "Word of God" still suggests a double entendre!) so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." (Heb 11:3+) And so in contrast to Matthew and Luke which begin with a classic genealogy, John begins with a "cosmic genealogy" as it were.

See full commentary John 1:1 Commentary

John 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.

See full commentary  John 1:2 Commentary

John 1:3  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Wuest - All things through His intermediate agency came into being, and without Him there came into being not even one thing which has come into existence.

NET All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

CSB All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

ESV All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

NIV Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

KJV All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Literally - All things through Him did happen, and without Him happened not even one thing that has happened.

Barclay - He was the Agent through Whom all things were made; and there is not a single thing which exists in this world which came into being without Him.

  • John 1:10 Jn 5:17-19 Ge 1:1,26 Ps 33:6 Ps 102:25 Isa 45:12,18 Eph 3:9 Col 1:16,17 Heb 1:2,3, Heb 1:10-12 Heb 3:3-4 Rev 4:11
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary  John 1:3 Commentary

John 1:4  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Wuest - In Him life was existing. And this aforementioned life was the light of men.

  • Him was life: John 5:21,26 John 11:25 John 14:6 1Co 15:45 Col 3:4 1Jn 1:2 1Jn 5:11 Rev 22:1
  • life: John 1:8,9 John 8:12 John 9:5 John 12:35,46 Ps 84:11 Isa 35:4,5 Isa 42:6,7,16 Ps 49:6 Ps 60:1-3 Mal 4:2 Mt 4:16 Lu 1:78,79 Lk 2:32 Ac 26:23 Eph 5:14 1Jn 1:5-7 Rev 22:16
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary  John 1:4 Commentary

John 1:5  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

CSB That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

ESV The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

NIV The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

NET And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

NLT The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Wuest - And the light in the darkness is constantly shining. And the darkness did not overwhelm it.

Barclay - And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not put it out.

Compare Jn 1:9 which says "There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man."

  • John 1:10 John 3:19,20 John 12:36-40 Job 24:13-17 Pr 1:22,29,30 Ro 1:28 1Co 2:14
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary  John 1:5 Commentary


A Light in the Darkness

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 1:5; 16:1–11, 33

In These Are the Generations, Mr. Bae describes God’s faithfulness and the power of the gospel to penetrate the darkness. His grandfather, parents, and his own family were all persecuted for sharing their faith in Christ. But an interesting thing happened when Mr. Bae was imprisoned for telling a friend about God: his faith grew. The same was true for his parents when they were sentenced to a concentration camp—they continued to share Christ’s love even there. Mr. Bae found the promise of John 1:5 to be true:The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus warned His disciples about the trouble they’d face. They would be rejected by people who “will do such things because they have not known the Father or me” (16:3). But Jesus offered words of comfort: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33).

While many believers in Jesus haven’t experienced persecution on the level of that endured by the family of Mr. Bae, we can expect to face trouble. But we don’t have to give in to discouragement or resentment. We have a Helper—the Holy Spirit Jesus promised to send. We can turn to Him for guidance and comfort (v. 7). The power of God’s presence can hold us steady in dark times. By:  Linda Washington (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What trouble have you experienced as a believer in Christ or witnessed others experiencing? What is your first reaction during hard times?

Heavenly Father, please protect Your children who are experiencing persecution.

John 1:6  There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Barclay - There emerged a man sent from God whose name was John.

Hendricksen - There came a man named John, commissioned by God.

  • a man: John 1:33 Jn 3:28 Isa 40:3-5 Mal 3:1 Mal 4:5,6 Mt 3:1-11 Mt 11:10 Mt 21:25 Mk 1:1-8 Lu 1:15-17,76 Lk 3:2-20 Acts 13:24
  • John: Lu 1:13,61-63
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:6 Commentary

John 1:7  He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.

Barclay - He came as a witness, in order to bear witness to the light, that through him all might believe.

KJV The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

NET He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

CSB He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him.

ESV He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

NAS77 He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.

NIV He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.

NLT to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.

GWN John came to declare the truth about the light so that everyone would become believers through his message.

NAB He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

NJB He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

NKJ This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

RSV He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

YLT this one came for testimony, that he might testify about the Light, that all might believe through him

  • a witness: John 1:19,26,27,32-34,36 Jn 3:26-36 Jn 5:33-35 Acts 19:4
  • that: John 1:9 Jn 3:26 Eph 3:9 1Ti 2:4 Titus 2:11 2Pe 3:9
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:7 Commentary


Too Good Not to Share

[John] came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.John 1:7

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 1:6–14

During court proceedings, witnesses are more than onlookers or spectators. They are active participants who help determine the outcome of a case. The same is true of our witness for Christ. We are to be active participants in a matter of absolute importance—the truth of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

When John the Baptist came to tell people about Jesus, the light of the world, he did so by declaring his knowledge of Jesus. And John the disciple, who recorded the events, testified of his experience with Jesus: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The apostle Paul would elaborate on this idea as he told young Timothy, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2).

All Christians have been summoned before the courtroom of the world. The Bible says we are not mere spectators but active participants. We testify to the truth about Jesus’s death and resurrection. John the Baptist was the voice of one calling in the desert. Our voices can be heard in our workplace, neighborhood, church, and among our family and friends. We can be active witnesses, telling them about the reality of Jesus in our lives. By:  Lawrence Darmani (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Do our actions enable us to witness for Jesus? In what creative ways might we witness today?

John 1:8  He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

NAS (1977 version - the version above is 1995) He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. (What's the difference? Notice that the older version retains the that which is present in the Greek text and serves to introduce a purpose clause - see terms of purpose or result).

Barclay - He himself was not the light; his function was to bear witness to the light.

KJV He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

NET He himself was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.

CSB He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.

ESV He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

NAS He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.

NIV He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

NLT John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.

GWN John was not the light, but he came to declare the truth about the light.

NAB He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

NJB He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light.

NKJ He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

RSV He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

Young's Literal - that one was not the Light, but -- that he might testify about the Light.

  • the Light: John 1:20 Jn 3:28 Acts 19:4
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary  John 1:8 Commentary

John 1:9  There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

Barclay - He was the real light, who, in his coming into the world, gives light to every man.

KJV John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

NET John 1:9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

ASV John 1:9 There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.

BBE John 1:9 The true light, which gives light to every man, was then coming into the world.

CJB John 1:9 This was the true light, which gives light to everyone entering the world.

CSB John 1:9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

DBY John 1:9 The true light was that which, coming into the world, lightens every man.

ESV John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

NAS John 1:9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

NIV John 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

NLT John 1:9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

GWN John 1:9 The real light, which shines on everyone, was coming into the world.

NAB John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

NEB John 1:9 The real light which enlightens every man was even then coming into the world.

NJB John 1:9 The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world.

NKJ John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

NRS John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

RSV John 1:9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

TNT John 1:9 That was a true lyght which lyghteth all men that come into the worlde.

WEB John 1:9 {That} was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

YLT John 1:9 He was the true Light, which doth enlighten every man, coming to the world;

 

  • true: John 1:4 Jn 6:32 Jn 14:6 Jn 15:1 Isa 49:6 Mt 6:23 1Jn 1:8 1Jn 2:8 1Jn 5:20
  • every: John 1:7 Jn 7:12 Jn 12:46 Isa 8:20 1Th 5:4-7
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:9 Commentary

John 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

 

Barclay - He was in the world, and, although the world was made by him, the world did not recognize him.

KJV John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

NET John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him.

ASV John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not.

BBE John 1:10 He was in the world, the world which came into being through him, but the world had no knowledge of him.

CJB John 1:10 He was in the world- the world came to be through him- yet the world did not know him.

CSB John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him.

DBY John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world had its being through him, and the world knew him not.

ESV John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

NAS John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

NIV John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

NLT John 1:10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him.

GWN John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him. Yet, the world didn't recognize him.

NAB John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

NJB John 1:10 He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognise him.

NKJ John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

NRS John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

RSV John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.

TNT John 1:10 He was in the worlde and the worlde was made by him: and yet the worlde knewe him not.

WEB John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

YLT John 1:10 in the world he was, and the world through him was made, and the world did not know him:

  • was in: John 1:18 Jn 5:17 Ge 11:6-9 Ge 16:13 Ge 17:1 Ge 18:33 Ex 3:4-6 Acts 14:17 Acts 17:24-27 Heb 1:3
  • world was made: John 1:3 Jer 10:11,12 Heb 1:2 Heb 11:3
  • know Him: John 1:5 Jn 17:25 Mt 11:27 1Co 1:21 1Cor 2:8 1Jn 3:1
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:10 Commentary

John 1:11  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

Barclay - It was into his own home that he came, and yet his own people did not welcome him.

KJV John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

NET John 1:11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.

ASV John 1:11 He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.

BBE John 1:11 He came to the things which were his and his people did not take him to their hearts.

CJB John 1:11 He came to his own homeland, yet his own people did not receive him.

CSB John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

DBY John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not;

ESV John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

NAS John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

NIV John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

NLT John 1:11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.

GWN John 1:11 He went to his own people, and his own people didn't accept him.

NAB John 1:11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

NJB John 1:11 He came to his own and his own people did not accept him.

NKJ John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

NRS John 1:11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

RSV John 1:11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.

TNT John 1:11 He cam amonge his (awne) and his awne receaved him not.

WEB John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not.

YLT John 1:11 to his own things he came, and his own people did not receive him;

See full commentary John 1:11 Commentary

John 1:12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

Barclay - To all those who did receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.

KJV John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

NET John 1:12 But to all who have received him– those who believe in his name– he has given the right to become God's children

ASV John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

BBE John 1:12 To all those who did so take him, however, he gave the right of becoming children of God -- that is, to those who had faith in his name:

CJB John 1:12 But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God,

CSB John 1:12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,

DBY John 1:12 but as many as received him, to them gave he the right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name;

ESV John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

NAS John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

NIV John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

NLT John 1:12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

GWN John 1:12 However, he gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in him.

NAB John 1:12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,

NJB John 1:12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name

NKJ John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

NRS John 1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,

RSV John 1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;

TNT John 1:12 But as meny as receaved him to them he gave power to be the sonnes of God in that they beleved on his name:

WEB John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, {even} to them that believe on his name:

YLT John 1:12 but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God -- to those believing in his name,

  • received: Mt 10:40 Mt 18:5 Col 2:6
  • to them: Isa 56:5 Jer 3:19 Ho 1:10 Ro 8:14 2Co 6:17,18 Gal 3:26 Gal 4:6 2Pe 1:4 1Jn 3:1
  • even to: John 2:23 Jn 3:18 Jn 20:31+ Mt 12:21 Acts 3:16 1Jn 3:23 1Jn 5:12
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:12 Commentary

John 1:13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

TEV - They did not become God's children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.

Barclay - These were born, not of blood, nor or any human impulse, nor of any man’s will, but their birth was of God.

Amplified - Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]

KJV John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

NET John 1:13 – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband's decision, but by God.

ASV John 1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

BBE John 1:13 Whose birth was from God and not from blood, or from an impulse of the flesh and man's desire.

CJB John 1:13 not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.

CSB John 1:13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

DBY John 1:13 who have been born, not of blood, nor of flesh's will, nor of man's will, but of God.

ESV John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

NAS John 1:13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

NIV John 1:13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

NLT John 1:13 They are reborn-- not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

GWN John 1:13 These people didn't become God's children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband's desire to have a child. They were born from God.

NAB John 1:13 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.

NJB John 1:13 who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself.

NKJ John 1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

NRS John 1:13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

RSV John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

TNT John 1:13 which were borne not of bloude nor of the will of the flesshe nor yet of the will of man: but of God.

WEB John 1:13 Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Weymouth John 1:13 - who were begotten as such not by human descent, nor through an impulse of their own nature, nor through the will of a human father, but from God.

Modern Language (Berkley) John 1:13 - who owe their birth neither to human blood, nor to physical urge, nor to human design, but to God.

YLT John 1:13 – who -- not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man but -- of God were begotten.

  • were born: John 3:3,5 Jas 1:18 1Pe 1:3,23 1Pet 2:2 1Jn 3:9 1Jn 4:7 1Jn 5:1,4,18
  • not of blood: John 8:33-41 Mt 3:9 Ro 9:7-9
  • nor of the will of the flesh: Ge 25:22,28 Ge 27:4,33 Ro 9:10-16
  • nor of the will of man: Ps 110:3 Ro 9:1-5 Ro 10:1-3 1Co 3:6 Php 2:13 Jas 1:18
  • of God: John 3:6-8 Titus 3:5 1Jn 2:28,29
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary  John 1:13 Commentary

John 1:14  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Greek: Kai o logos sarx egeneto (3SAMI) kai eskenosen (3SAAI) en hemin, kai etheasametha (1PAMI) ten doxan autou, doxan os monogenous para patros, pleres charitos kai aletheias.

Amplified: And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. [Isa. 40:5.].(Amplified Bible - Lockman)

ESV: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

KJV: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

NLT: So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw his splendour (the splendour as of a father's only son), full of grace and truth.

Wuest: And the Word, entering a new mode of existence, became flesh, and lived in a tent [His physical body] among us. And we gazed with attentive and careful regard and spiritual perception at His glory, a glory such as that of a uniquely-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Young's Literal: And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.

  • the Word: Joh 1:1 Isa 7:14 Mt 1:16,20-23 Lu 1:31-35 2:7,11 Ro 1:3,4 9:5 1Co 15:47 Ga 4:4 Php 2:6-8 1Ti 3:16 Heb 2:11,14-17 10:5 1Jn 4:2,3 2Jn 1:7 
  • we: Joh 2:11 11:40 12:40,41 14:9 Isa 40:5 53:2 60:1,2 Mt 17:1-5 2Co 4:4-6 Heb 1:3 1Pe 2:4-7 2Pe 1:17 1Jn 1:1,2 
  • the only: Joh 1:18 3:16,18 Ps 2:7 Ac 13:33 Heb 1:5 5:5 1Jn 4:9 
  • full: Joh 1:16,17 Ps 45:2 2Co 12:9 Eph 3:8,18,19 Col 1:19 2:3,9 1Ti 1:14-16
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

GOD BECAME MAN WITHOUT
CEASING TO BE GOD!

See full commentary  John 1:14 Commentary

Saw (2300) see note on theaomai

Related Resource:


Norman Geisler - Correcting the Cults - Does this verse mean that when Jesus became a human being he lost his deity, as Herbert Armstrong argued?  John 1:14

MISINTERPRETATION:
In John 1:14 we read, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." Herbert Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, took the phrase "the Word became flesh" and concluded that it meant "conversion into flesh." Christ the Word did not merely assume an additional, human nature; rather, he experienced metamorphosis into human flesh. He became exclusively human.

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:
The Old Testament backdrop helps us to understand what John is saying in this important verse. John's choice of words in describing the incarnation is highly revealing. The phrase Jesus "dwelt among us," is more accurately translated "made his dwelling among us" or "pitched his tent [tabernacle] among us." In using this terminology, John was drawing heavily from the Old Testament. That Jesus "pitched his tabernacle" among us harkens back to the Old Testament tabernacle of Israel's wilderness wanderings. God's people had been instructed to erect the tabernacle as a reminder that God's dwelling-place was among them. Exodus 25:8 quotes God as saying, "Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them" (NASB). Hence, as God formerly dwelt among his people in Old Testament times in the tabernacle that was erected for him, so now in a fuller sense he has taken up residence on earth in a tabernacle of human flesh.

Furthermore, John's use of the Greek word eskēnōsen ("pitched his tabernacle") becomes even more significant when it is realized that the glory that resulted from the immediate presence of the Lord in the tabernacle came to be associated with the shekinah, a word that refers to the radiance, glory, or presence of God dwelling in the midst of his people. When Christ became flesh (John 1:14), the glorious presence of God was fully embodied in him, for he is the true shekinah. The same glory that Moses beheld in the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34-38 was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17).

What is more, it is critical to recognize that Christ the Logos did not cease to be the Logos when he "became flesh." Christ still had the fullness of the shekinah glory in him, but that glory was veiled so he could function in the world of humanity. The Word did not cease to be what he was before; but he took on an additional nature—a human nature. This is the mystery of the Incarnation: Christ the Logos was fully God and fully human. The shekinah glory dwelt in the tabernacle of the flesh of Jesus. Of course, while Jesus' human body was, in one sense, a "temple" in which the shekinah glory dwelt, his body was not an exact parallel to the Old Testament tabernacle. For, in the Old Testament, God always remained distinct from the tabernacle, even though he dwelt in the tabernacle. In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus in the incarnation permanently took upon himself a human nature. Hence, Jesus' human body was not a mere temple that embodied the shekinah glory, but rather became a very real part of his person as the God-man.


John 1:1-14 Bah! Humbug!
By David C. Egner

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14

Many Christians do a lot of complaining about Christmas. “Too commercial,” they say. “It has pagan origins. We’ve got to put Christ back into Christmas.” The only thing they haven’t said is, “Bah! Humbug!”

Yes, Christmas has become very commercial. But as we purchase and wrap gifts, every present can be a silent testimony to the supreme gift, God’s “only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16).

Yes, we know that Santa is a myth and that reindeer don’t fly. It’s pure fiction. But instead of griping about these nonessentials, which only focuses on them, we need to call attention to the truth of the Baby who was born in Bethlehem.

And what about the cry to put Christ back into Christmas? Well, He never left. Listen to the words of the carols heard over and over in stores, malls, and on the streets. They proclaim more truth in one holiday than many pulpits do in 3 months. They put into the minds of young and old the wonderful truth that “the Lord is come” and that He is to be adored.

Christmas is not humbug; it’s a season of opportunity to point others to the Savior. It gives us a chance to say to friends and loved ones, “Do you know the real meaning of the season? I do, because I believe in Christ.” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hark! the herald angels sing,
  “Glory to the newborn King;
  Peace on earth, and mercy mild—
  God and sinners reconciled.”
—Wesley

To see the real meaning of Christmas, focus on Christ.


John 1:14 Bridging The Gap
By Joe Stowell

Read: John 1:10-18

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14

When my kids were young, I thought they would be impressed with what few accomplishments I may have had—that they would read my books and be impressed by my speaking engagements. But then I discovered that they hadn’t read any of my books and had no idea where I had been on a speaking gig. When my oldest son finally read one of my books, he told me that the only reason he read it was so that I would stop telling people that my children have never read my books!

Let’s face it—for the most part, kids are not impressed with our accomplishments. So the only way to bridge the gap is to meet them where they are, to get into their world—like getting into a game of Chutes and Ladders or playing catch in the backyard.

Jesus did this with us. John said of Jesus, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory” (John 1:14). In other words, He stooped down to our level when He came to this earth, which led to His greatest accomplishment of all: bridging the gap between His world and ours once and for all. Only then could we begin to understand how worthy He is of our utmost adoration and praise! (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our Lord is worthy all our days 
Of all our love and highest praise; 
He died to take our sin and shame— 
Oh, bless the Savior’s holy name!
—Egner 

Jesus bridged the gap between the infinite God and finite man.


John 1:16 Fresh Daily
By Joanie Yoder

Read: John 1:1-18

Of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. —John 1:16

I once heard someone describe his troublesome life like this: “Each day is just yesterday warmed up!” Yes, life sometimes dishes up a diet of old problems disguised as new ones. It’s like the frugal housewife who feeds her family for a week on leftovers from Sunday dinner, serving the same old food in different disguises.

It was into such a tiresome, troublesome world that Jesus came. The apostle John said that Jesus is full of grace and truth, and He supplies us with “grace for grace” (1:14,16).

Years ago, Amy Carmichael shared some helpful insights about the phrase, “grace for grace.” Drawing from the writings of Bishop Moule (1841-1920), she wrote that the Greek word translated “for” literally means “instead of.” He illustrated the meaning by describing a river. “Stand on its banks,” he wrote, “and contemplate the flow of waters. A minute passes, and another. Is it the same stream still? Yes. But is it the same water? No.” The old water, he explained, had been displaced by new—”water instead of water.”

The same is true of grace. Your life today may carry yesterday’s problems, but remember, God’s grace is new each morning, exactly what you need to meet each new challenge. It is an inexhaustible and ever-fresh supply. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Each day God sends His loving grace
To strengthen you and me;
We need but use this day's supply
And let tomorrow be.  
—Anon.

God gives special grace for each trial we face.


John 1:14 Earth Walk
By Mart De Haan

Read: Matthew 1:18-25, John 1:11-18

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. —John 1:14

After the Apollo XV mission, Colonel James Irwin related some of the high points of his experience. He told of weightless bodies floating free in the space capsule, the rising crescent of the earth as seen from the moon, and the triumphal splashdown before a watching world.

Irwin also spoke of the impact the experience had on his spiritual life. He said that from the lunar surface he sensed both the glory of God and the plight of earthbound man. As he came back to earth, he realized he couldn’t content himself with being merely a celebrity. He would have to be a servant, telling his fellowman of a better way to live. Irwin concluded by saying that if we think it a great event to go to the moon, how much greater is the wonder that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ!

Because man walked on the moon, science and technology have made tremendous advances. But because God walked on earth, we know both our origin and our destiny. We can know our Creator personally (Jn. 1:1,14,18), and we can live in His light (v.9). Through Jesus’ sinless life and sacrificial death we have the joy of sins forgiven and an abundant life—all because God walked on earth. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Down from His glory, ever-living story,
My God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name.
Born in a manger, to His own a stranger,
A Man of sorrows, tears, and agony.  
—Booth-Clibborn

God made His home with us that we might make our home with God.


John 1:14 Kind Criticism
By Dennis J. De Haan

Read: Galatians 6:1-5

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. —Galatians 6:1

Dave and his wife Sue were asked about the delicate art of constructive criticism. Sue said, “I think Christ’s example in John 1:14 is helpful. That verse describes Jesus as being ‘full of grace and truth.’ I see a mother with her child. If the child has a dirty face, the mother doesn’t scold her for having a dirty face. She does the loving thing. She gets out the washcloth, and as she is gently applying soap and water she may say, ‘My, what a dirty face you have! Tell me how you got your face so dirty.’ But all the time she is washing her child’s face. If I’m going to be honest with Dave, I need to be sure that I’m acting in loving, gracious ways—in a sense, getting out the washcloth—even while I’m talking about the dirt.”

In Galatians 6:1, Paul also reflected a gentle and gracious attitude, showing us how we are to treat all people. When confronting others about their sin, let’s remember how gentle Christ is in showing us our own sins. Although we grieve Him when we fall, He is never bitter. He holds us accountable, yet supports us with His love. His convicting is kind and persistent, yet He is always quick to forgive.

When it’s necessary to criticize, let’s treat others the way Jesus treats us.  —DJD (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, help me live today
  With thoughtfulness in what I say,
  Confronting wrong with truth and fact
  Expressing gentleness and tact.
—Hess

Kind criticism is always the right kind.


John 1:14 Something Happened Here
By Haddon W. Robinson

John 1:1-14

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. —John 1:14

Christians are divided in their views of Christmas. Some want to give up on it and hand it over to the stores. Others want to salvage it and use it to say something important about the birth of Jesus to a weary secular world. I, for one, would like to take my place with the second group.

Years ago an old pioneer journeyed westward across the Great Plains of North America until he came to an abrupt halt at the edge of the Grand Canyon. He gawked at the sight before him—a vast chasm 1 mile deep, 18 miles across, and stretching out of sight. He gasped, “Something must have happened here!”

At the Christmas season, anyone who stops to look and listen must ask what the hustle and bustle is all about. A thoughtful man or woman, seeing the lights, the decorations, the festivities, and the religious services might also conclude, “Something must have happened here!”

Of course, something did happen. We need to tell the world about it. God has visited our planet. His Son Jesus Christ came to reveal God and to die for our sins (John 1:1-14). It’s the best news ever! The Lord came and lived among us that we might live forever with Him. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

That’s why we can rejoice at Christmas.

One day has left its mark in time
  For all mankind to see;
  It is the day when Christ was born—
  That day made history.
—D. De Haan

To make the most of Christmas, focus on Christ.


John 1:1-14 Contact With The Almighty
By Herbert Vander Lugt

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14

After spending millions of dollars in a 40-year project, scientists have still made no contact with extraterrestrial beings. But their search continues. Robert Jastrow, director of the Mount Wilson Institute, says that he expects to find “beings superior to us . . . , not only technically, but perhaps spiritually and morally.”

Jastrow and his fellow scientists hope that an alien civilization billions of years old will be able to tell us why we are here and how to overcome our destructive tendencies, which make advances in weapons technology so terrifying. This fear that humanity might destroy itself, as well as the innate desire for meaning in life, may account for the many popular books and movies about extraterrestrial beings.

In his book Show Me God, Fred Heeren says of this interest in alien beings: “People want a higher companion, but not too high. . . . People are looking for an intermediate, . . . but someone who can still identify with us as a fellow creature.”

How sad that they search in the wrong places for what God has already provided in Christ! The Bible says there is “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus has revealed God to us and opened the door to life eternal.   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To get a clear view of God, focus on Jesus Christ.


John 1:14 The Meaning Of Christmas By Joanie Yoder

Read: Luke 1:26-38

Each year it seems that Christ’s birth is acknowledged less and less during the Christmas season. An editorial in a British newspaper stated, “Christ has been detached from Christmas, and the season is now apparently just a time for being kind and ensuring that no one is lonely.”

We have a magnificent opportunity to spread the good news that Jesus is the reason for the season. Here are three perspectives on the true meaning of Christmas that we can share with others:

* Christmas is a birthday celebration, honoring Jesus. God’s Son took on human flesh and “dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

* Jesus came for our sake. He was born to die on a cross for our sins, and He was resurrected to give us forgiveness and eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

* We can urge people to respond to Jesus with faith, accepting His offer of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16).

This time of year is more than just a season to be kind. Christmas is about Jesus—the real reason for the season. So let’s take the opportunity to tell others the miraculous story of Jesus, God’s Son. And let’s pray that many, like the wise men who came to worship the promised Savior (Matthew 2:1-2), will seek Him and find Him this year.   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we look beyond the manger
  To the cross of Calvary,
  We will know the reason Christmas
  Brings such joy to you and me.
—D. De Haan

Bethlehem's stable was the first step in God's journey of love to the cross.

John 1:15  John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

Greek: Ioannes marturei (3SPAI) peri autou kai kekragen (3SRAI) legon, (PAPMSN) houtos en (2SIAI) on eipon, (1SAAI) O opiso mou erchomenos (PMPMSN) emprosthen mou gegonen, (2SRAI) hoti protos mou en. (3SIAI)

Amplified: John testified about Him and cried out, This was He of Whom I said, He Who comes after me has priority over me, for He was before me. [He takes rank above me, for He existed before I did. He has advanced before me, because He is my Chief.]

ESV: (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”)

KJV: John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

NET: John testified about him and shouted out, "This one was the one about whom I said, 'He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.'"

NLT: John pointed him out to the people. He shouted to the crowds, "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.'"

Phillips: And it was about him that John stood up and testified, exclaiming: "Here is the one I was speaking about when I said that although he would come after me he would always be in front of me; for he existed before I was born!"

Wuest: John is constantly bearing witness concerning Him and calls out aloud, saying, This One is He concerning whom I said, The One who comes after me was in existence before me because He preceded me,

Young's Literal: John doth testify concerning him, and hath cried, saying, 'This was he of whom I said, He who after me is coming, hath come before me, for he was before me;'

  • Testified: Jn 1:7,8,29-34, 3:26-36 5:33-36 Mt 3:11,13-17 Mk 1:7 Lk 3:16
  • He was: Jn 1:1,2,30, Jn 8:58, Jn 17:5 Pr 8:22 Isa 9:6 Mic 5:2 Php 2:6,7 Col 1:17 Heb 13:8 Rev 1:11,17,18 2:8
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:15 Commentary

Testified (witnessed) (3140) see note below on martureo

John 1:16  For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

Greek: hoti ek tou pleromatos autou hemeis pantes elabomen, (1PAAI) kai charin anti charitos;

Amplified: For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.

ESV: And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

KJV: And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

NLT: We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us--one gracious blessing after another.

Phillips: Indeed, every one of us has shared in his riches - there is a grace in our lives because of his grace.

Wuest: for out of His fulness as a source we all received, and grace in exchange for grace.

Young's Literal: and out of his fulness did we all receive, and grace over-against grace;

  • Of his: Jn 3:34, Jn 15:1-5 Mt 3:11,14 Lk 21:15 Acts 3:12-16 Ro 8:9 1Co 1:4,5 Eph 4:7-12 Col 1:19, 2:3,9,10 1Pe 1:11
  • Grace upon grace: Zec 4:7 Mt 13:12 Ro 5:2,17,20 Eph 1:6-8 2:5-10 4:7 1Pe 1:2
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:16 Commentary

Note: Origen and Luther took these words as John the Baptist's words. Indeed, John the Baptist was just quoted in the preceding passage, but most modern scholars feel that Jn 1:16-18 represents John the Gospel writer's comments.

John 1:17  For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

 

Greek: hoti o nomos dia Mouseos edothe, (3SAPI) e charis kai e aletheia dia Iesou Christou egeneto. (3SAMI)

Amplified: For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ. [Ex 20:1]

ESV: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

KJV: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

NLT: For the law was given through Moses; God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

Phillips: For while the Law was given by Moses, love and truth came through Jesus Christ. I

Wuest: Because the law through the intermediate agency of Moses was given, the aforementioned grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ.

Young's Literal: for the law through Moses was given, the grace and the truth through Jesus Christ did come;

  • The law: Jn 5:45 9:29 Ex 20:1-17 Dt 4:44 5:1 33:4 Acts 7:38 28:23 Ro 3:19,20 5:20,21 2Co 3:7-10 Gal 3:10-13,17 Heb 3:5,6 8:8-12
  • Grace: Jn 8:32 14:6 Ge 3:15 22:18 Ps 85:10 89:1,2 98:3 Mic 7:20 Lk 1:54,55,68-79 Acts 13:34-39 Ro 3:21-26 5:21 6:14 15:8-12 2Co 1:20 Heb 9:22 10:4-10 11:39,40 Rev 5:8-10 7:9-17
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:17 Commentary

John 1:18  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Greek: theon oudeis eoraken (3SRAI) popote; monogenes theos o on (PAPMSN) eis ton kolpon tou patros ekeinos exegesato (3SAMI)

Amplified: No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known]. [Prov. 8:30.]

ESV: No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

KJV: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

NLT: No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart; he has told us about him. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: it is true that no one has ever seen God at any time. Yet the divine and only Son, who lives in the closest intimacy with the Father, has made him known.

Wuest: Absolute deity in its essence no one has ever yet seen. God uniquely-begotten, He who is in the bosom of the Father, that One fully explained deity. 

Young's Literal:God no one hath ever seen; the only begotten Son, who is on the bosom of the Father -- he did declare.

  • Seen: Jn 6:46 Ex 33:20 Dt 4:12 Mt 11:27 Lk 10:22 Col 1:15 1Ti 1:17 1Ti 6:16 1Jn 4:12,20
  • The only: Jn 1:14 Jn 3:16-18 1Jn 4:9
  • In the bosom: Jn 13:23 Pr 8:30 Isa 40:11 La 2:12 Lk 16:22,23
  • He has explained Him: Jn 12:41 Jn 14:9 Jn 17:6,26 Ge 16:13 Ge 18:33 Ge 32:28-30 Ge 48:15,16 Ex 3:4-6 Ex 23:21 Ex 33:18-23 Ex 34:5-7 Nu 12:8 Jos 5:13-15 6:1,2 Jdg 6:12-26 Jdg 13:20-23 Isa 6:1-3 Eze 1:26-28 Ho 12:3-5 Mt 11:27 Lk 10:22 1Jn 5:20
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See full commentary John 1:18 Commentary


Norman Geisler -  JOHN 1:18—Why does John say no one has seen God when other verses declare we will see God?

PROBLEM: On the one hand the Bible claims no one can see God, but on the other hand it says “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) and His servants “shall see His face” (Rev. 22:4) and “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

SOLUTION: The verses which teach that no man can see God are referring to no mortal man in this life. Even Moses was refused this honor (Ex. 33:23). Mortal man is not suited for that exposure. However, what mortal man cannot see in this life, immortal man will see in the next life (1 Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4). This is known as the beatific (blessed) vision and will be the spiritual climax of the believer to see God face-to-face, to know Him directly in His essence and not merely indirectly as reflected through created things (Rom. 1:18–20). (When Critics Ask)


Norman Geisler -  JOHN 1:18—Was Jesus alone the Son of God?

PROBLEM: Jesus is called “the only begotten Son” in this verse. Yet only a few verses earlier John informs us that we can by faith “become children of God” (1:12). If then we are sons of God, how can Jesus be the only Son of God?

SOLUTION: There is a gigantic difference between the senses in which Jesus is the “Son of God” and we are “sons of God.” First, He is the unique Son of God; I am only a son of God. He is the Son of God with a capital “S”; human beings can become sons of God only with a small “s.” Jesus was the Son of God by eternal right of inheritance (Col. 1:15); we are only the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:15). He is the Son of God because He is God by His very nature (John 1:1), whereas we are only made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and remade in “the image of Him” by redemption (Col. 3:10). Jesus is of God by His very nature; we are only from God. He is divine in nature, but we only participate in it by salvation (2 Peter 1:4). And we can participate only in God’s moral attributes (like holiness and love), not in His non-moral attributes (like infinity and eternality). To summarize the differences: 

JESUS AS THE SON OF GOD

  • Natural Son
  • No beginning
  • Creature
  • God by nature

HUMANS AS SONS OF GOD

  • Adopted sons
  • Beginning
  • Creator
  • Not God by nature
     

John 1:19  This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

NET  John 1:19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

GNT  John 1:19 Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἰωάννου, ὅτε ἀπέστειλαν [πρὸς αὐτὸν] οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐξ Ἱεροσολύμων ἱερεῖς καὶ Λευίτας ἵνα ἐρωτήσωσιν αὐτόν, Σὺ τίς εἶ;

NLT  John 1:19 This was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, "Who are you?"

KJV  John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

ESV  John 1:19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

ASV  John 1:19 And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who art thou?

CSB  John 1:19 This is John's testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"

NIV  John 1:19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

NKJ  John 1:19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

NRS  John 1:19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

YLT  John 1:19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent out of Jerusalem priests and Levites, that they might question him, 'Who art thou?'

  • when: John 5:33-36 Deut 17:9-11 24:8 Mt 21:23-32 Lu 3:15-18 
  • Who: John 10:24 Acts 13:25 Acts 19:4 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

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THE TESTIMONY
OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

The Prologue is finished (John 1:1-18) and we move to the first main division which is the Testimony of John the Baptist (John 1:19-51). While John is not specifically called "the Baptist" clearly his ministry is associated with his baptizing activities in John 1:25–33 and John 3:23+ assuring us that this is the same person we find in the Synoptic Gospels. John's primary function in the Gospel of John is to be a witness as previously stated

John 1:7-8+ - He came as a witness (marturia), to testify (martureo) about the Light, (WHY? WHAT WAS JOHN'S PREEMINENT PURPOSE?) so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify (martureo) about the Light

John 1:15  John testified (martureo) about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”

Steven Cole- At this point, we leave the prologue and begin a long section (John 1:19–12:50) that amasses testimony for Jesus as the Son of God, the one in whom all should believe.

This is the testimony of John - John had already alluded to his being a witness (Jn 1:7-8+, Jn 1:15+). Now we learn more about the nature of John's testimony regarding Jesus. John was a man on a mission for he was "sent from God." (Jn 1:6+) Clearly he went forth with God's authority undergirding and supporting his mission. 

THOUGHT - We have all had "good works" (THAT'S "GOOD" WITH AN "O" KNOCKED OUT! "GOD WORKS") assigned, prepared and pre-packaged for us from eternity past (Eph 2:10+). The crucial question is this -- "Have I entered into the good works which God prepared beforehand or am I basically doing "my own thing" in Christian service? Do I have confidence that God has "sent" me into the fields in which I am now working? This is a serious consideration, for "our works" will be burned up at the Judgment Seat (2 Cor 5:10+, 1 Cor 3:12-15), but God's works which He is working through us by His Spirit will endure forever. Jesus emphasized this principle  when He declared to His disciples (and we are now His disciples as believers) "I appointed you that you would go (cf "SENT") and bear fruit, and (WHAT IS HIS DESIRE FOR THAT FRUIT?) that your fruit would remain." (John 15:16) 

Testimony (3141)(marturia/martyria related to martureo = to witness <> martus/martys = a witness) is that which furnishes evidence or proof. A testimony is a solemn declaration or affirmation made for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact. Marturia can refer to the witness per se or the one who has first hand knowledge. And so the purpose of John the Baptist was to bear witness of Messiah (the Light) so that all might believe through Him (Jn 1:7+). Marturia can also refer to the content of what the witness speaks. And so here we see that John gives his testimony with his LIPS but later will give his testimony (martyria) with his LIFE, being martyred for his prophetic boldness. (Mt 14:8-12, Mk 6:24+) In the Gospels marturia is used 10x, more than all the other Gospels combined 

In John’s Gospel, there are two distinct uses of marturia -- First, a person, such as John the Baptist (John 1:7), can be identified as “a witness (martyria).” More often, the term applies to what such witnesses say: e.g., “the testimony (martyria) of John” (John 1:19).

Marturia in the NT (note prevalence in John's writings) - Mk. 14:55; Mk. 14:56; Mk. 14:59; Lk. 22:71; Jn. 1:7; Jn. 1:19; Jn. 3:33; Jn. 5:31; Jn. 5:32; Jn. 5:34; Jn. 5:36; Jn. 8:13; Jn. 8:17; Jn. 21:24; Acts 22:18; 1 Tim. 3:7; Tit. 1:13; 1 Jn. 5:9; 1 Jn. 5:10; 1 Jn. 5:11; Rev. 1:2; Rev. 1:9; Rev. 6:9; Rev. 11:7; Rev. 12:11; Rev. 12:17; Rev. 19:10; Rev. 20:4

It is interesting that the first use of marturia in the NT was in the context of false testimony against Jesus the Truth (Mk 14:55-56, 59+, cf also Lk 22:71+). The first use of marturia in the OT (Septuagint = Lxx) is in the context of cutting a covenant between Jacob and Laban (Ge 31:47). It is notable that the uses of marturia in the last book written, the Revelation (Revelation was the last NT book written, most think around 90AD), clearly link martyria with true martyrdom! (Rev 6:9+, Rev 11:7+, Rev 20:4+).

Related Resource - Testimony - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

NET Note - John the Baptist's testimony seems to take place over 3 days: day 1, John's testimony about his own role is largely negative (John 1:19–28); day 2, John gives positive testimony about who Jesus is (John 1:29–34); day 3, John sends his own disciples to follow Jesus (John 1:35–40).

Bennema observes that "It is important that a witness testifies about Jesus and does not remain silent. The Fourth Gospel mentions the “fear of the Jews” as a major factor that prevents people from testifying (John 7:13; 9:22; 12:42; 19:38; 20:19) (ED: WHAT A CONTRAST WITH "PERFECT LOVE" THAT CASTS OUT ALL FEAR! - 1 Jn 4:18+). How does John fare? John 1:19–28 contains John’s testimony before the religious authorities." (The Character of John in the Fourth Gospel - JETS)

THOUGHT - It follows that John the Baptist was not fearful but bold in his declaration. While the text does not specifically tell us we can deduce that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit (though not in the same permanent way as was true of all believers in Jesus after Pentecost) for Luke records "he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb." (Lk 1:15+, cf  Lk 1:41+ of John's mother and Lk 1:67+ of John's father). The book of Acts clearly associates being filled with the Spirit and fearless boldness, the best example being Peter who was filled (Acts 2:4+) with the Spirit Who transformed him from Peter the denier to Peter the confessor of Christ (Acts 2:14+)! That's the same type of Spirit enabled boldness that "supercharged" John the Baptist! And beloved, that same supernatural power is available to us today so that we too might boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, the Savior of the world (John 4:42+, 1 Jn 4:14+). . 

Brian Bell - We see a 3-fold purpose for John’s Testimony: 1. To fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3. 2. To call people to repentance. 3. To draw people’s attention toward Jesus. John earlier explained: He was the lamp but not the light, a wick but not the flame! He was simply a beggar telling other beggars where to find bread! 2. Illustration: We all have different lamps in our home, desk lamps, chandeliers; some fancy, some pretty, some plain(white porcelain, keyless). The important thing though is the light not the lamp. It’s the glow of the bulb that lights the room, not the shine of the brass. QUESTION -  Are you exhibiting Jesus in your life, or do people only see you, the lamp? QUESTION: Is light radiating from your life, or is it blocked by a bulky lampshade of sin? (Sermon)

When the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem - This interrogation episode is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels.  As alluded to earlier “the Jews,” occurs some 71 times in John compared to only 17 total in the three synoptic Gospels and often portrays the Jews in their hostility and rejection of Jesus. Regarding Levites both of John's parents were from the tribe of Levi. John could have passed on God's call on his life and served in his father's footsteps and lived comfortably non-confrontationally as a priest! He choose God's will for his life and throughout eternity will never regret it despite losing his head on a platter!

THOUGHT - Perhaps, you have clearly heard God's call for your life but you also have a more comfortable, lucrative option available. Beware! I know a young man (he would be middle aged by now) who had a call on his life to preach BUT also had the financial opportunity of a lifetime to work in the early years with Dell computer. He chose the latter path he and probably like most of those who chose that path became what we affectionately (with a tinge of envy) call the "Dell-ionaires," for most of these individuals became incredibly wealthy. Funny thing is I never heard from that young man once he chose the secular path. Ultimately, God's will for our life is always the most "lucrative" in terms of the eternal measurement! Don't be fooled by the lure of the dollar and miss God's call on your life! 

F F Bruce“Here for the first time we come upon the use of the term ‘the Jews’ in this Gospel to denote not the people as a whole but one particular group – here, the religious establishment in Jerusalem (cf Jn 9:22 where they feared "the Jews" the powerful religious establishment).”

Undoubtedly the religious hierarchy was perturbed (perhaps a euphemism) at John's "star power" or "drawing power" for "Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan." (Mt 3:5) Jerusalem was the religious center of the nation. This is the first use (of 70 uses) of Jews in this Gospel and here refers not to the people group as  whole but to the Jewish religious leaders. John tells us "Now they had been sent from the Pharisees." (John 1:24) So the Jews here refers primarily to the Pharisees, who would prove to be the archenemy of Jesus! And so clearly the Jews did not send these religious representatives to be "friends" with John, but to check out whether he was a threat to their authority and power.

THOUGHT - Isn't it amazing that the attacks on true servants of God come not from the secular crowd but from the religious ranks? Some things never change! The most vicious attacks I have experienced have been from the "religious hierarchy" and doubtless that has been the experience of many of you reading these notes. It is sad, but true! 

Jews (NET, NLT = "Jewish leaders")(2453)(Ioudaios from Hebrew Yehudi = member of tribe of Judah) is an adjective refers to one who belongs to the Jewish race with focus on adherence to Mosaic tradition (Acts 10:28, 22:3, 21:39). It refers to Jews in respect to race and religion as opposed to Gentiles. Everyone in the world is either of the Jews are the Gentiles. In John's Gospel Ioudaios was used of those hostile to Jesus, especially the Jewish leaders (Jn 2:18, 5:16ff, 6:41, 7:1, 10:31ff, 19:7). This is the first use of Ioudaios in John's Gospel.

Ioudaios is a key word in John's Gospel where is occurs 70x in 66v (cf 5x in Matthew, 6x in Mark, 5x in Luke) -  Jn. 1:19; Jn. 2:6; Jn. 2:13; Jn. 2:18; Jn. 2:20; Jn. 3:1; Jn. 3:22; Jn. 3:25; Jn. 4:3; Jn. 4:9; Jn. 4:22; Jn. 4:47; Jn. 4:54; Jn. 5:1; Jn. 5:10; Jn. 5:15; Jn. 5:16; Jn. 5:18; Jn. 6:4; Jn. 6:41; Jn. 6:52; Jn. 7:1; Jn. 7:2; Jn. 7:3; Jn. 7:11; Jn. 7:13; Jn. 7:15; Jn. 7:35; Jn. 8:22; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 8:48; Jn. 8:52; Jn. 8:57; Jn. 9:18; Jn. 9:22; Jn. 10:19; Jn. 10:24; Jn. 10:31; Jn. 10:33; Jn. 11:7; Jn. 11:8; Jn. 11:19; Jn. 11:31; Jn. 11:33; Jn. 11:36; Jn. 11:45; Jn. 11:54; Jn. 11:55; Jn. 12:9; Jn. 12:11; Jn. 13:33; Jn. 18:12; Jn. 18:14; Jn. 18:20; Jn. 18:31; Jn. 18:33; Jn. 18:35; Jn. 18:36; Jn. 18:38; Jn. 18:39; Jn. 19:3; Jn. 19:7; Jn. 19:12; Jn. 19:14; Jn. 19:19; Jn. 19:20; Jn. 19:21; Jn. 19:31; Jn. 19:38; Jn. 19:40; Jn. 19:42; Jn. 20:19

Sent (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, forth or out, usually with the commission as one's representative or envoy. The priests and Levites were sent off with a commission from the religious hierarchy (not specifically stated but certainly implied) at Jerusalem to interrogate John as their personal representatives. 

Notice the irony  - A God sent man interrogated by men sent by men. This is not a fair fight (as they say) for we know three things were true of the person sent from God - (1) He belongs to God, Who has sent him out. (2) He is commissioned to be sent out. (3) He possesses all the authority and power of God, Who has sent him out. John is God's appointed witness to His Son Jesus. 

How important is this truth of a witness? It is extremely important and thus "The Fourth Gospel gives special attention to eyewitnesses— those who have seen and heard Jesus and can give a first-hand testimony. John is one such eyewitness but there are others: the Samaritan woman testifies to her kinfolk (Jn 4:28–29); the man born blind testifies before the hostile Jewish authorities (Jn 9:13–17, 24–34); Mary Magdalene, the first eyewitness to Jesus’ resurrection, testifies to the disciples (Jn 20:11–18); the disciples are appointed to testify before the hostile world because they have been eyewitnesses from the beginning (Jn 15:18–27); finally, the Fourth Gospel is commended to the reader as a trustworthy account of Jesus’ life since it is based on the eyewitness testimony of the beloved disciple (JOHN - see below)." (Bennema)

John 19:35+  And he (JOHN THE APOSTLE) who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth,  (WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?) so that you also may believe.

John 21:24+  This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 

Leon Morris on Levites - Their principal duties were to provide the Temple police and to supply music at the Temple services (for the latter of which there must always be at least twelve of them on the platform, ʿArak. 2:6). (NICNT-John)

MacArthur - The priests were the human intermediaries between God and man, and officiated at the religious ceremonies (cf. Luke 1:8–9). They were also the theological authorities in Israel. When they were not serving in the temple for their two-week annual duty, they lived throughout the land as local experts on religion. The Levites assisted the priests in the temple rituals (cf. Nu 3:6–10; Nu 18:2–4). Since the temple police force was made up of Levites (cf. 7:32; Luke 22:4; Acts 4:1; 5:24), they likely served as a security detachment to protect the priests in the delegation. (MNTC-John)

To ask him, "Who are you?" - As we commonly say they pitched him a soft ball, setting the stage for fulfilling his purpose. This is an interesting question, for John could have take this opportunity to enhance his reputation, or as we say "to make something of himself." But not John! Once again we see his John 3:30+ humility come to the forefront. What an example for Christian leaders today (and for all Christians for that matter)! It is interesting that the same question was addressed to Jesus in John 8:25+.

Ask (question) (2065) (erotao) means to ask for, usually with implication of an underlying question. The verb does not carry the note of an authoritative command but rather that of a friend making an urgent appeal to a friend. The term suggests that those making the request stand in a position of familiarity with those being treated.

Related Resources:

John 1:20  And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

NET  John 1:20 He confessed– he did not deny but confessed– "I am not the Christ!"

GNT  John 1:20 καὶ ὡμολόγησεν καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, καὶ ὡμολόγησεν ὅτι Ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ὁ Χριστός.

NLT  John 1:20 He came right out and said, "I am not the Messiah."

KJV  John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

ESV  John 1:20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

ASV  John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ.

CSB  John 1:20 He did not refuse to answer, but he declared: "I am not the Messiah."

NIV  John 1:20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ. "

NKJ  John 1:20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

NRS  John 1:20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah."

YLT  John 1:20 and he confessed and did not deny, and confessed -- 'I am not the Christ.'

  • John 3:28-36 Mt 3:11,12 Mk 1:7,8 Lu 3:15-17 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

John 3:28-36+  “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.  31 “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 “What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34“ For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. 35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

AN EMPHATIC
TRUE CONFESSION!

And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." - Not is the Greek signifying absolutely not accentuated by a "double confession." He had no "Messiah complex!" You gotta love/be challenged by John! He told these men who he was NOT. He was not seeking to focus attention on self, but on Savior and we should do the same!  The Christ is synonymous with the more Jewish title "the Messiah" as so rendered by the CSB and NRS versions (see above). With 2 confessions and one absolute (negative - ou) denial, John clearly, adamantly and strongly denied in no uncertain terms that he was not the Christ. Notice that they had simply ask John "Who are you?" They did not ask if he was the Messiah. And so the fact that he denies He is Messiah would indicate that this was the consideration by some of the Jews. While the text does not clearly make this statement we do see a clue in Luke's Gospel...

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ (THE MESSIAH), 16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Lk 3:15-17+). 

NET Note adds - A 3rd century work, the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions (1.54 and 1.60 in the Latin text; the statement is not as clear in the Syriac version) records that John's followers proclaimed him to be the Messiah. There is no clear evidence that they did so in the 1st century, however - but Luke 3:15+ indicates some wondered.

D A CarsonFirst-century Palestine was rife with messianic expectations. Some expected a Davidic Messiah; others (as at Qumran) expected a priestly Messiah as well, not to mention the coming of 'the prophet' (1QS 9:11). But if they think he is a 'Messiah' at all, an 'Anointed One' long prophesied by the Scriptures, they are wrong. (Pillar New Testament Commentary – The Gospel According to John)

Confessed (acknowledged) (3670)(homologeo from homos = one and the same or together with+ lego = to say; confess from con = together, fateor = to say.) literally means to say the same thing as another and so to agree in one's statements with, to acknowledge, to admit the truth of (an accusation). John uses this verb two more times in his Gospel (Jn 9:22+, Jn 12:42+), both times describing those who because of fear of the Jews did not confess Jesus as the Christ.

Homologeo is used first by Jesus in His frightening (at least it should frighten anyone who falsely professes Christ) declaration in Matthew 7:23+ "“And then I will declare (confess) to them, ‘I (ABSOLUTELY) never (INTIMATELY, IN A PERSONAL WAY) knew you; DEPART (DON'T DELAY! = aorist imperative) FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense = THE REASON THEY ARE TO DEPART = THEY MAY HAVE MADE A SEEMINGLY SINCERE PROFESSION [cf Titus 1:16+] TO BELIEVE BUT HAVE LIVED A LIFESTYLE OF) LAWLESSNESS.’" On the other hand the good news for those who truly confess Jesus is the Messiah is seen in Matt. 10:32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." (cf 2 Ti 2:12b+) Confession is an important component of salvation Paul explaining "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Ro 10:9,10+) Continual confession is critically important to assure that one is walking in the light (instead of spiritual darkness 1 Jn 1:6+) as He Himself is in the light (1 Jn 1:7+), John writing "If we (present tense = continually, habitually) confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9+)

Denied (720)(arneomai from "a" = negation + rheo = say) literally means "to say no", to say one does not know about or is in any way related to some person or some thing. Classical Greek writers understood arneomai to mean “to refuse.” Webster's Dictionary says that to deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede or to acknowledge the existence or claims of. The first denial John records by John the Baptizer is good, but the second is not good, for Jesus says of Peter the fisherman "Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times." (Jn 13:38+)! 

John's uses of arneomai - Jn. 1:20; Jn. 13:38; Jn. 18:25; Jn. 18:27;  1 Jn. 2:22; 1 Jn. 2:23; Rev. 2:13; Rev. 3:8

I am not - The Greek reads "ego ouk eimi" which reminds us of Jesus' confession "ego eimi" that "I Am," the Old Testament Name for Yahweh (Exodus 3:14+ "God said to Moses, “I AM  [Lxx = "ego eimi"] WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”)

William Barclay“John completely rejected that claim; but he rejected it with a certain hint. In the Greek the word I is stressed by its position. It is as if John said: ‘I am not the Messiah, but, if you only knew, the Messiah is here.'” 

The famous phrase "ego eimi" is used repeatedly by John as uttered from the lips of Jesus (except Jn 9:9) (Jn. 4:26; Jn. 6:20; Jn. 6:35; Jn. 6:41; Jn. 6:48; Jn. 6:51; Jn. 8:12; Jn. 8:18; Jn. 8:24; Jn. 8:28; Jn. 8:58; Jn. 9:9; Jn. 10:7; Jn. 10:9; Jn. 10:11; Jn. 10:14; Jn. 11:25; Jn. 13:19; Jn. 14:6; Jn. 15:1; Jn. 15:5; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:6; Jn. 18:8) 

Related ResourcePurpose and Meaning of “Ego Eimi” in the Gospel of John

The Christ - Note the definite article in the Greek (to Christos) which refers to THE specific Christ, the expected One, the "One and Only" Messiah - Anointed One.

Christ (5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, set apart for sacred work, consecrate to an office - Isa 61:1+, Acts 10:38+) is used over 500 times in the NT and describes one who has been anointed with oil and/or consecrated, with the majority of uses referring to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24+, Mk 13:22). And so Christos describes Jesus as the One Who has been anointed (Prophet, Priest, King), symbolizing appointment to His task of redeeming sinners. Christos is used in the Septuagint describing everyone anointed with the holy oil, especially the priesthood (Lev. 4:5+, Lev 4:16+) and it is also a name applied to those who were acting as redeemers like Cyrus. Christos is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah." The corresponding Hebrew word is mashiach/masiyah which means "anointed" or "anointed one," and prophetically pictures Jesus in several OT passages - e.g., Ps 2:2, Da 9:25+ = " restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince." 

John uses of Christos- Jn. 1:17; Jn. 1:20; Jn. 1:25; Jn. 1:41; Jn. 3:28; Jn. 4:25; Jn. 4:29; Jn. 7:26; Jn. 7:27; Jn. 7:31; Jn. 7:41; Jn. 7:42; Jn. 9:22; Jn. 10:24; Jn. 11:27; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 17:3; Jn. 20:31+

Related Resources:

John 1:21  They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No."

  • Ar you Elijah: Mal 4:5 Mt 11:14 17:10-12 Lu 1:17 
  • Are you the Prophet: John 1:25 Jn 7:40 De 18:15-18 Mt 11:9-11 16:14 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 18:15-18 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 “The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 ‘I will raise up a Prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command him.

COMMENT - God had told Moses that someday He would send another Prophet to Israel, “and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jesus was the prophet who fulfilled that prophecy (see Acts 3:22; 7:37). Jesus fulfills all the requirements for a prophet in title, word, and deed. He is the ultimate Prophet in that He is the very Word of God Himself (John 1:1).

ARE YOU ELIJAH
OR THE PROPHET?

Keep in mind that first century Jews were looking for 3 people to come on the scene - the Messiah, Elijah the Prophet and "The Prophet like Moses."  John’s appearance was so startling and sudden that a lot of people were speculating whether he was one of these three men. Of course there was a fourth option regarding John -- that he was a false prophet. 

They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." - They refers to the "big dogs" the "priests and Levites from Jerusalem." What is amazing is they knew much about the Word of God, but they did not know the God of the Word, nor His Son the Word (John 1:1-2). They knew the prophecies of Malachi...

Malachi 3:1+ “Behold,(hinneh - an attention grabbing interjection), I am going to send My messenger (JOHN THE BAPTIST), and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the covenant, in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 4:5+ where Jehovah speaking through Malachi declared “Behold,(hinneh - an attention grabbing interjection) I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of the LORD."

Ray Pritchard - It’s interesting to discover that the Jews had always understood that this prophecy would one day be fulfilled in a literal by the coming of a “the Prophet” who would either A) come just before Messiah or B) would in fact be the Messiah. That expectation helps explain the dialogue between the Jews and John the Baptist in John 1:19-21.

 Related Resources:

Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No. - It is worth noting that John's answers became progressively more terse with each question. John gives a clear one word Greek word (ou) answer "No!" Again we see these religious Jews knew the Torah, which prophesied of "the Prophet," but they did not have eyes to recognize the Prophet! And so with this question they allude to the prophecy by Moses in Deuteronomy 18 (see above). John said "No" but Jesus said "Yes!" In John 6:14  (cf Jn 7:40), after Jesus fed the multitude with the five loaves and two fish, the people connected the dots with Moses giving the Israelites manna in the wilderness and proclaimed, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” And they sought to take Jesus by force and make Him king.

THOUGHT - As an aside, to believe Jesus was a prophet, even "the Prophet" was of no value regarding obtaining salvation, for one must believe His is the Savior of the world and receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Do you see Jesus as a wise man, even the Prophet of Dt 18:18, but refuse to receive Him as Savior and Lord (cf Eph 2:8-9+)? If you continue to refuse God's gift of the Lamb of God (John 1:29+), then "you will die in your sins" (mentioned twice by Jesus in Jn 8:24) and the wages for you sin will be eternal punishment. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (rescued from the wrath to come - 1 Th 1:10+) (Acts 16:31+). 

Eugene Merrill explains that "Jesus, in an apparent contradiction of John’s own testimony, clearly identified John as "Elijah" (Mt. 11:14), but in a highly nuanced way. John’s inquisitors had wondered if he was not actually Elijah in the flesh returned to earth. This he was not, as he made clear in his reply. But he was, however, an "Elijah figure," one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah. This is why Jesus qualified His assessment of the Elijah-John identification by saying, “If you are willing to receive him, this is Elijah who is to come.” That is, John stands in fulfillment of the promise of Malachi concerning the coming of Elijah but only in the sense that he announced the coming of Christ, just as the messenger would come to announce the coming of Adon (Mal. 3:1+).

MacArthur - John’s reply to the delegation may also suggest that he did not understand himself to be Elijah even in the sense that Jesus affirmed he was. Leon Morris notes,

No man is what he is in his own eyes. He really is only as he is known to God. At a later time Jesus equated John with the Elijah of Malachi’s prophecy, but that does not carry with it the implication that John himself was aware of the true position.… Jesus confers on John his true significance. No man is what he himself thinks he is. He is only what Jesus knows him to be. (The Gospel According to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979], 135–36) (Ibid)

Matthew records Jesus' commentary on Elijah's appearance at the transfiguration

And He (JESUS) answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things (Mal 4:5); 12 but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished (THEY KILLED JOHN THE BAPTIST). So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. (BUT THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS WAS PREDICTING HIS OWN DEATH) (Mt 17:11-13, cf Mk 9:12-13+) Even calling Jesus "Lord," is not sufficient to save, if you continue to live your life as if you yourself were the "lord" of  your life, for this will still result in Jesus' personal condemnation (Mt 7:21-23+). 

Luke records the angel Gabriel's prophecy of John the Baptist speaking to his father Zacharias:

You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16“And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.  “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:14-17+)

COMMENT - John the Baptist was not Elijah returned to earth, but his message to Israel to repent and be reconciled to God was proclaimed in the same spirit and power shown in Elijah's ministry, so he was clearly "Elijah like." As alluded to above his life in the wilderness was similar to Elijah's life. (See additional comments on the prophecy in Luke)

NET Note on John's denial that he is Elijah - According to the 1st century rabbinic interpretation of 2 Kgs 2:11, Elijah was still alive (ED: WHICH OF COURSE IS PATENTLY NOT TRUE!). In Mal 4:5 it is said that Elijah would be the precursor of Messiah. How does one reconcile John the Baptist's denial here ("I am not") with Jesus' statements in Matt 11:14 (see also Mark 9:13+ and Matt 17:12) that John the Baptist was Elijah? Some have attempted to remove the difficulty by a reconstruction of the text in the Gospel of John which makes the Baptist say that he was Elijah. However, external support for such emendations is lacking. According to Gregory the Great, John was not Elijah, but exercised toward Jesus the function of Elijah by preparing his way. But this avoids the real difficulty, since in John's Gospel the question of the Jewish authorities to the Baptist concerns precisely his function. It has also been suggested that the author of the Gospel here preserves a historically correct reminiscence - that John the Baptist did not think of himself as Elijah, although Jesus said otherwise. Mark 6:14–16 and Mark 8:28 indicate the people and Herod both distinguished between John and Elijah - probably because he did not see himself as Elijah. But Jesus' remarks in Matt 11:14, Mark 9:13, and Matt 17:12 indicate that John did perform the function of Elijah - John did for Jesus what Elijah was to have done for the coming of the Lord. C. F. D. Moule pointed out that it is too simple to see a straight contradiction between John's account and that of the synoptic gospels: "We have to ask by whom the identification is made, and by whom refused. The synoptic gospels represent Jesus as identifying, or comparing, the Baptist with Elijah, while John represents the Baptist as rejecting the identification when it is offered him by his interviewers. Now these two, so far from being incompatible, are psychologically complementary. The Baptist humbly rejects the exalted title, but Jesus, on the contrary, bestows it on him. Why should not the two both be correct?" (The Phenomenon of the New Testament [SBT], 70).


Question:  Why must Elijah return before the end times (Malachi 4:5-6)?

Answer: Malachi 4:5-6 offers an intriguing prophecy: “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” To this day, Jewish Seders include an empty chair at the table in anticipation that Elijah will return to herald the Messiah in fulfillment of Malachi’s word.

According to Malachi 4:6, the reason for Elijah’s return will be to “turn the hearts” of fathers and their children to each other. In other words, the goal would be reconciliation. In the New Testament, Jesus reveals that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy: “All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:13-14). This fulfillment is also mentioned in Mark 1:2-4 and Luke 1:17; 7:27.

Specifically related to Malachi 4:5-6 is Matthew 17:10-13: “His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. . . .’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.”

The scribes were the Jewish religious teachers, mostly Pharisees and Sadducees, who provided commentary on the Jewish Scriptures. Peter, James, and John were familiar with their teachings and asked Jesus about Elijah after seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). Jesus clearly stated that Elijah had already come, but, tragically, he was not recognized and had been killed. Jesus then predicted He would likewise die at the hands of His enemies (Mt 17:13).

A brief look at the ministry of John the Baptist reveals many notable ways that he was “Elijah.”

  1. First, God predicted John’s work as being like that of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
  2. Second, he dressed like Elijah (2 Kings 1:8 and Matthew 3:4).
  3. Third, like Elijah, John the Baptist preached in the wilderness (Matthew 3:1).
  4. Fourth, both men preached a message of repentance.
  5. Fifth, both men withstood kings and had high-profile enemies (1 Kings 18:17 and Matthew 14:3).

Some argue that John the Baptist was not the Elijah to come because John himself said that he was not Elijah. “And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not’” (John 1:21).

There are two explanations for this apparent contradiction.

  1. First, because Elijah had never died (2 Kings 2:11), many first-century rabbis taught that Elijah was still alive and would reappear before the Messiah’s arrival. When John denied being Elijah, he could have been countering the idea that he was the actual Elijah who had been taken to heaven.
  2. Second, John’s words could indicate a difference between John’s view of himself and Jesus’ view of him. John may not have seen himself as the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6. However, Jesus did. There is no contradiction, then, simply a humble prophet giving an honest opinion of himself. John rejected the honor (cf. John 3:30), yet Jesus credited John as the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy regarding the return of Elijah.

As the metaphorical Elijah, John called people to repentance and a life of obedience, preparing the people of his generation for the coming of Jesus Christ, the One who had come “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10) and to establish the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). GotQuestions.org


Eugene Merrill addresses the question of Elijah

In what sense should one understand the coming of Elijah? The answers to this question are varied. The OT record reveals that he did not die but was translated bodily into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). His coming thus could be more easily explained and made possible without the impediment of death. His very ascension perhaps was for the purpose of his later eschatological appearance as forerunner of the coming of YHWH. Jewish tradition from earliest times viewed it in this way, as even the NT suggests. When the Jewish masses learned of the ministry of John the Baptist in the wilderness, they went out to him and inquired as to his identity. Was he the Messiah, they wondered, or Elijah, or the Prophet, that is, the prophet of Deuteronomy 18? To each of these his answer was no. But the very question reflects anticipation of a coming Elijah.

Jesus, in an apparent contradiction of John’s own testimony, clearly identified John as "Elijah" (Mt. 11:14), but in a highly nuanced way. John’s inquisitors had wondered if he was not actually Elijah in the flesh returned to earth. This he was not, as he made clear in his reply. But he was, however, an "Elijah figure," one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah. This is why Jesus qualified His assessment of the Elijah-John identification by saying, “If you are willing to receive him, this is Elijah who is to come.” That is, John stands in fulfillment of the promise of Malachi concerning the coming of Elijah but only in the sense that he announced the coming of Christ, just as the messenger would come to announce the coming of Adon (Mal. 3:1+).

Jesus touched on this point again in the transfiguration narrative (Matt. 17:1–13; cf. Mark 9:2–13; Luke 9:28–36). When Jesus appeared on the mountain in glory, He was accompanied by Moses and Elijah, the same two figures mentioned by Malachi. In later discussion with His disciples about His resurrection, they reminded Him that before the messianic manifestation could come to pass Elijah must first appear. Jesus agreed that Elijah must restore all things, but then announced that Elijah had already come, only to be rejected. They then understood that Jesus once more was connecting Elijah with John the Baptist.

As argued previously, however, in connection with Mal. 3:1, the messenger of the covenant there and John the Baptist are one and the same. Jesus established this linkage (Matt. 11:10–11) and went on to make the further linkage between John and Elijah in the same passage (Matt. 11:14). But Mal. 3:1–6, as we saw, has eschatological as well as messianic overtones. This suggests that the messenger (and thus also Elijah) has an eschatological identification and role as well. There is still a sense, then, in which Elijah is yet to come. This is put beyond question by Mal. 3:23 (EB Mal 4:5), which locates Elijah’s coming in the setting of “the great and terrible day of YHWH,” a description freighted with eschatological language.

It is likely, then, that the historical Elijah is not in view but instead an antitype Elijah who, like John, will announce the coming of YHWH in a day yet future. But the fact that he may not be the historical Elijah cannot mitigate against the literalness of the figure himself any more than it could against the literalness of the historical John the Baptistt.

Why Elijah is mentioned and not someone else may have to do with his place as a prophet non pareil. Moses appears in Mal. 3:21 (EB 4:4) in connection with the Law; Elijah appears in the next verse, perhaps in connection with the prophets. Thus the whole canon of Malachi’s day is represented, attesting univocally to the certainty of YHWH’s coming salvation. This sublime act of final redemption is confirmed by the word of two witnesses (Deut. 19:15), just as its anticipatory revelation in the Transfiguration of our Lord was accompanied by the same two witnesses, Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:3) (Ed Comment: Which leads one to ponder the identification of the Two Witnesses in Rev 11:3-13!). The great and terrible day of YHWH is a certainty, as both law and prophecy declare. But it will be a day of salvation for those of Israel, who, by the message of grace preached by Elijah, are thereby made capable of adhering to the covenant of Moses to which YHWH likewise elected them by grace. (Malachi Commentary recommended)

John 1:22  Then they said to him, "Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?"

WHO ARE YOU?

Then they said to him, "Who are you - You can sense their frustration and confusion. The were natural (unsaved) men so how could they understand for "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+)

so that - Purpose clause. Explains why they needed an answer. This man was preaching and drawing huge crowds but they still had no clue who he was. 

We may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? - They did not want to return to the leaders of the Pharisees with no clue as to who this man in the wilderness was. 

As Robertson says "This time they opened wide the door without giving any hint at all." (WPNT)

John 1:23  He said, "I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said."

  • I am: John 3:28 Mt 3:3 Mk 1:3 Lu 1:16,17,76-79 Lk 3:4-6 
  • As said: Isaiah 40:3-5 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

John Continually Pointed Others to Jesus!

PROPHET POINTS
TO A PRINCE

Mattoon - There is no bragging here. No list of credentials and accomplishments are given because John was not a glory seeker. (ED: He was a "glory pointer!" - John is ever the Jn 3:30+ Man")

He said - You've got to love John. How does he answer? With the Word of God, quoting from the passage in Isaiah 40 (" the opening words of the second section of the prophet’s writing, which deals with the long-range prophecies of the future" - Merrill Tenney) which predicted his coming on the scene. This passage is so important that it is quoted in all 4 Gospels - Here and in Mark 1:3+, Matt. 3:3+, and Luke 3:4+

Isaiah 40:3-5 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.  4 “Let every valley be lifted up (Play Handel's magnum opus and ponder the day when the King returns in glory!) And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;  5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed (cf John's description "we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14), And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken (IN OTHER WORDS THAT SETTLES IT!).” 

"I am A VOICE OF ONE - John was A voice, not THE Voice. John was a pointer to the Prince of Peace. "The point of the quotation is that it gives no prominence to the preacher whatever. He is not an important person, like a prophet or the Messiah. He is no more than a voice (contrast the reference to Jesus as “the Word”). He is a voice, moreover, with but one thing to say. John’s ethical teaching is not large in amount, nor striking in content." (Morris)

John was a Voice for the Word, but he was not the Word! But oh what a word he speaks as he cries out Isaiah's passage! As explained below, this is in a very real sense an urgent call to his hearers to prepare their hearts for the Messiah. John's ministry reminds me of the breed of dog known as a pointer (see picture) whose job is to point steadfastly toward the game birds which the hunter seeks. John was like a human "pointer" (as should be all ministers) for his "job description" was to point people to Jesus and NOT to himself (ourselves)!  The hero of the church is Jesus, not a pastor, a music minister, a gifted teacher, etc.

THOUGHT - Is "pointer" a good description of your ministry? Are you continually pointing to Savior, not self? And beloved, don't "point" a finger at the pastor, for you are also in ministry as a follower of Christ and your "job description" is to point lost people to the Way, the Truth and the Life found only in Jesus (Jn 14:6+)! 

Mattoon - Christ is the Word and John was a voice. We are voices too! A word needs a voice to make it known. A voice is of no value without a word. John was a voice in the wilderness.

CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS (eremos- There is surely a play on words here for the nation of Israel had been 400 years without a Word from God (What happened in the intertestamental period?) and they were in a "spiritual wilderness" for their dead religiosity was devoid of a living relationship with the Living God. The Jews (and all scoffers and skeptics) need to remember that "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. " (Heb 10:31+) (cf Living God - Jer 10:10, Jer 23:36, Ps 42:2, Ps 84:2, Isa 38:16, 17, Mt 16:16, Acts 14:15+, Ro 9:26+, 2 Cor 3:3, 2 Cor 6:16, 1 Ti 3:15, 4:10, Heb 3:12+, Heb 9:14+)

Crying (present tense - continually)(994)(boao from boé 995) meant raise a cry, call or shout of joy, pain, etc, by using one’s voice with unusually high volume. Boao - 12x in NT - Matt. 3:3; Mk. 1:3; Mk. 15:34; Lk. 3:4; Lk. 9:38; Lk. 18:7; Lk. 18:38; Jn. 1:23; Acts 8:7; Acts 17:6; Acts 25:24; Gal. 4:27

The last book of the Old Testament had given the Jews a promise of hope declaring

Behold (LISTEN UP!), (GOD PROMISES) I am going to send My messenger (JOHN THE BAPTIST), and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord (THE MESSIAH), Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the covenant (MESSIAH - a "Messianic Title"), in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming (THERE WOULD BE A 400 YEAR DELAY BUT THEN HE CAME = JESUS' FIRST COMING),” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1+)

John identifies himself to the committee as the forerunner of the Messiah.
-- A T Robertson

MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD - The Lord refers to the Messiah. What is John depicting? Or better what is he commanding because make straight is in the aorist imperative, calling for them to do this now, not to delay (or procrastinate), for the need is urgent? John is not referring to a literal way or literal road, but is figuratively referring to the spiritual wilderness of the hearts of the majority of the Jews. He is calling on them to be willing to remove all obstacles to belief and to open the door of their hearts so that they welcome the Messiah that He might come in and dwell with and commune with them in intimate fellowship. In short John is calling for his Jewish listeners to prepare to BE SAVED by Yeshua! Compare the description of the role of John the Baptist in Luke 1:76-79+ 

"And you, child (JOHN THE BAPTIST), will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE (hetoimazo) HIS WAYS;  77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins,  78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,  79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” 

THOUGHT - Have you heard and heeded the call of the prophet Isaiah and the echoing cry of the prophet John the Baptist? Have you prepared the way? Have you prepared your heart to receive the Lord? If not today is the best day in all eternity for you to respond to the Spirit's leading. Indeed "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31+). Do not put this off, for you MUST be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3+). And this is not a "scare tactic" but a reality -- God may not grant you another "tomorrow!" 

Make straight (2116)(euthuno from euthus = straight) means literally to cause something (OR SOMEONE) to be straight. Compare the similar verb hetoimazo meaning to prepare, make ready and used in Mt 3:3 for "make ready". Euthuno was used by James 3:4+ (only other NT use) in his metaphorical description of the tongue to speak of a ship that was kept on a straight course, something done by the pilot. Here in the Gospel, euthuno speaks of a "road" (THE WAY) that is to be made straight. To reiterate, in context John is using euthuno figuratively calling for his audience to remove any obstacles that are impeding or preventing the Lord from entering into a personal relationship with them. There is a parallel use of euthuno in the Septuagint related to one's  heart. And so the figurative use in the Septuagint of Joshua 24:23 euthuno is a command (as in Jn 1:23)  "Now therefore, put away (Heb = command; Lxx periaireo in the aorist imperative)  the foreign gods (cf A CALL TO REPENT) which are in your midst, and incline (Lxx = euthuno in aorist imperative) your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”

Euthuno in the Septuagint - Num. 22:23+ = Balaam trying to make his donkey go straight, back on the path.; Jos. 24:23; Jdg. 14:7; 1 Sam. 18:20; 1 Sam. 18:26; Prov. 20:24 = (Man’s steps are ordained [MADE STRAIGHT - Lxx = euthuno] by the LORD, How then can man understand his way? )

Vincent has a background note on make straight... - In allusion to the practice of Eastern monarchs. On occasions of their progress, heralds were sent out to call on the people to clear and improve the old roads or to make new ones. “When Ibrahim Pacha proposed to visit certain places in Lebanon, the emirs and sheiks sent forth a general proclamation, somewhat in the style of Isaiah’s exhortation, to all the inhabitants to assemble along the proposed route and prepare the way before him. The same was done in 1845, on a grand scale, when the Sultan visited Brusa. The stones were gathered out, the crooked places straightened, and rough ones made level and smooth. I had the benefit of these labors a few days after his majesty’s visit. The exhortation ‘to gather out the stones’ (Isa. 62:10) is peculiarly appropriate. These farmers do the exact reverse—gather up the stones from their fields and cast them into the highway; and it is this barbarous custom which, in many places, renders the paths uncomfortable and even dangerous” (Thomson, “Land and Book”). (WSNT)

MacDonald on make straight the paths - In other words, “The Messiah is coming. Remove everything in your life that would hinder you from receiving Him. Repent of your sins, so that He can come and reign over you as the King of Israel.”

Morris John’s real function was not to teach ethics, but to point men to Jesus. ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’ is a call to be ready, for the coming of the Messiah is near.” (NICNT-Jn)

As Isaiah the prophet said - He attributes the quote, for otherwise they may not have recognized where it was spoken. Isaiah's prophecy was given about 700 years earlier at a time with there were no paved roads. So when a king would travel, a road had be built and smoothed out so that the royalty would not be bounced around in their chariot or have their wheels bogged down in some muddy mire. As stated above John was challenging his hearers to remove the crooked things from their lives so that they might receive the real King! 

Brian Bell writes "The highway to heaven is paved over prepared hearts. Repentant hearts; soft hearts; fertile hearts. When you read your bible & pray, first clear the way for the Lord. When you worship, first smooth the desert path for God. When God seems distant, do a little roadwork of repentance in order to prepare the way for Him." (Sermon)

NIVSB has an interesting note on the Essenes use of Isaiah 40:3 - The Jews of Qumran (the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls) applied the same words to themselves, but they prepared for the Lord’s coming by isolating themselves from the world to secure their own salvation. John concentrated on helping people come to the Messiah (the Christ).


John 1:23 - News Alert By David C. Egner

Read: John 1:19-34

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. —John 1:23

Missionary Keith Gustafson was forced to leave the Congo because of the civil war that erupted in 1997. He reported that as the fighting spread, people in the remote area where he lived knew that soldiers were approaching because of the message of the drums. Down the trails and along the riverbanks came the chilling drumbeat that warned of danger.

The drums of the Congo are also used to alert the tribes when there’s been a death, to announce a birth, or to call a meeting. They serve as a general news alert; a messenger follows up with additional information.

John the Baptist served a similar role. His calls to repentance, his baptisms in the Jordan River, and his scathing condemnations of the hypocritical religious leaders of Israel were early warning signals of important events to follow (Mt. 3). The bigger news of the ministry of Jesus the Messiah, concluding with His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, was about to burst forth onto the Jewish scene.

We have the opportunity to deliver a news alert to the people with whom we come in contact every day. Our manner of speech and our moral standards can help prepare the way to share the gospel. We can follow up our general testimony with the specific message of the gospel. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help us to tell of Your love for mankind—
A love for the sin-sick, the broken, the blind;
And help them to see by the way that we live
The wholeness of being that You long to give.  
—DJD

They witness best who witness with their lives and their lips.

John 1:24  Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.

  • had been sent: Joh 3:1,2 Jn 7:47-49 Mt 23:13-15,26 Lu 7:30 11:39-44,53 16:14 Ac 23:8 Ac 26:5 Php 3:5,6 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FROM THE PHARISEES
TO "SEE"

Now they had been sent (apostello) from the Pharisees - This statement functions as a parenthetic explanation and describes the early "serpentine" movements of this brood of wicked religious leaders. Vincent notes that "This addition of an explanatory circumstance is characteristic of John. Compare John 1:41, 45; 9:14; 11:5, 18; 13:23." 

The KJV translates it "they which were sent were of the Pharisees" whereas NET has "they had been sent from the Pharisees." 

Pharisees (5330)(pharisaios)  is transliterated from the Hebrew parash (06567 - to separate) from Aramaic word peras  (06537) ("Peres" in Da 5:28+), signifying to separate, owing to a different manner of life from that of the general public. Robert Stein writes that "The Pharisees were the most influential of the three major Jewish sects (the other two being the Sadducees and the Essenes). We first read of them in the second century B.C. (see Josephus Antiquities 13.10.5–6 [13.288–98]). In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the existence of angels and demons (Lk 20:27+; Acts 23:6-9+), predestination as well as free will, and the validity of both the written and the oral law. Politically they were more conservative than the Sadducees, but religiously they were more liberal due to their acceptance of the oral law. (New American Commentary)

John 1:25  They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

  • Why: Mt 21:23 Ac 4:5-7 5:28 
  • the Christ: John 1:20-22 Da 9:24-26 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

John Baptized in Jordan River

WHO GAVE YOU THE 
AUTHORITY TO BAPTIZE?

Let's cut to the chase - notice the Jerusalem Jews have ask question after question (vv 20, 21, 22, 23) and now they get to their main point - "Who in the world do you think you are?" "Where did you get the right to baptize?"

They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet? - Here the committee from Jerusalem questions John's authority to baptize, since he was not one of the three figures mentioned. If is a first class conditional and could be read as "since you are not...."

Christ (5547) See note above on Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, set apart for sacred work, consecrate to an office - Isa 61:1+, Acts 10:38+

A T Robertson on the response of the Jews from Jerusalem - They did not interpret his claim to be “the voice” to be important enough to justify the ordinance of baptism. Abrahams (Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels) shows that proselyte baptism was probably practised before John’s time, but its use by John was treating the Jews as if they were themselves Gentiles.

Leon Morris comments "Baptism was not a new practice in Judaism. It was the regular rite in the admission of converts from other religions. When such a conversion took place, the males of the family were circumcised and all, of both sexes, were baptized. This was seen as the ceremonial removal of all the pollutions contracted in the Gentile world. The novelty in John’s case and the sting in his practice was that he applied to Jews the ceremony that was held to be appropriate in the case of Gentiles coming newly into the faith.34 All Jews were prepared to accept the view that Gentiles were defiled and needed cleansing. But to put Jews in the same class was horrifying. The Jews were God’s people already. It is true that on the basis of certain Old Testament passages some people expected that there would be baptizing when the messianic age dawned (Ezek. 36:25+; Zech. 13:1+). But John had denied being the Messiah. It was all very perplexing and the Pharisees wanted to know more about it." (NICNT-John)

Baptizing (present tense)(907)(baptizo from bapto = cover wholly with a fluid; stain or dip as with dye; used of the smith tempering the red-hot steel, used of dyeing the hair; of a ship that "dipped" = sank) has a literal and a figurative meaning in the NT. The literal meaning is to submerge, to dip or immerse as in water. A study of the 77 NT uses of baptizo in the Gospels and Acts shows that most are associated with literal water baptism (exceptions are references to Jesus' baptism of others with the Holy Spirit [see note] = Mt 3:11+, Mk 1:8+, Lk 3:16+, Jn 1:33+). The Greeks used baptizo to describe the dyeing of a garment, in which the whole material was plunged in and taken out from the element used. Baptizo was used of the act of sinking ships. Baptizo also meant to bathe of a boat which had been wrecked by being submerged and then stranded on the shore. All uses of BAPTIZO in Gospels - Matt. 3:6; Matt. 3:11; Matt. 3:13; Matt. 3:14; Matt. 3:16; Matt. 28:19; Mk. 1:4; Mk. 1:5; Mk. 1:8; Mk. 1:9; Mk. 6:14; Mk. 6:24; Mk. 10:38; Mk. 10:39; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 3:7; Lk. 3:12; Lk. 3:16; Lk. 3:21; Lk. 7:29; Lk. 7:30; Lk. 11:38; Lk. 12:50; Jn. 1:25; Jn. 1:26; Jn. 1:28; Jn. 1:31; Jn. 1:33; Jn. 3:22; Jn. 3:23; Jn. 3:26; Jn. 4:1; Jn. 4:2; Jn. 10:40; 


Larry Richards on John's Baptism -  All of the Gospels contain a report of the ministry of that stern prophet known as John the Baptist (Mt 3; Mk 1; Lk 3; Jn 1). His name was derived not from his message but from a striking new practice he instituted: John baptized in the waters of the river Jordan those who responded to his preaching by believing his message.

The message John preached helps to establish the meaning given to his baptism. John called for the people of Israel to repent and to turn to God wholeheartedly as a preparation for the coming of the Messiah, whose day was rapidly approaching. Those who accepted John’s message were called on to acknowledge their commitment publicly. As John preached repentance, those who went into the waters to be baptized acknowledged their sins and made a commitment to live righteously. Ever blunt, the stern John warned them to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Lk 3:8). The ritual itself had no merit. It must be the changed lives of the baptized that testified to the inner sincerity of their hearts.

John’s baptism, then, seems to have involved three significant factors:

(1) public identification with his message,

(2) a public commitment to live by God’s well-known standards of righteousness, and

(3) a public expression of eagerness to welcome the Messiah (who, according to John’s preaching, was near).

John’s call to repentance and readiness was carried to the Jewish communities scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Years later the early missionaries would meet Jewish believers who had heard and responded to John’s warning and had identified themselves with his message by accepting “John’s baptism” (cf. Ac 10:37; 18:25; 19:3–4). Invariably, when they heard about Jesus as the one of whom John had spoken, these disciples of John responded to the gospel by believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

John’s baptism is not the same in nature or intent as Christian baptism. But the new practice John introduced was picked up by the early church and given new significance—to reflect a reality that goes far beyond the meaning that John gave to baptism. (NIEBW)


Question: What was the meaning and importance of the baptism of John the Baptist?

Answer: Though today the word baptism generally evokes thoughts of identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, baptism did not begin with Christians. For years before Christ, the Jews had used baptism in ritual cleansing ceremonies of Gentile proselytes. John the Baptist took baptism and applied it to the Jews themselves—it wasn’t just the Gentiles who needed cleansing. Many believed John’s message and were baptized by him (Matthew 3:5–6). The baptisms John performed had a specific purpose.

In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist mentions the purpose of his baptisms: “I baptize you with water for repentance.” Paul affirms this in Acts 19:4: “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” John’s baptism had to do with repentance—it was a symbolic representation of changing one’s mind and going a new direction. “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River” (Matthew 3:6). Being baptized by John demonstrated a recognition of one’s sin, a desire for spiritual cleansing, and a commitment to follow God’s law in anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival.

There were some, like the Pharisees, who came to the Jordan to observe John’s ministry but who had no desire to step into the water themselves. John rebuked them sternly: “When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance’” (Matthew 3:7–8). Even the religious leaders needed to repent of their sin, although they saw no need of it.

Christian baptism today also symbolizes repentance, cleansing, and commitment, but Jesus has given it a different emphasis. Christian baptism is a mark of one’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is representative of a cleansing that is complete and a commitment that is the natural response of one who has been made new. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross completely washes away our sins, and we are raised to new life empowered by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17–21; Romans 6:1–11). With John’s baptism, a person repented of sin and was therefore ready to place his faith in Jesus Christ. John’s baptism foreshadowed what Jesus would accomplish, much as the Old Testament sacrificial system did.

John prepared the way for Christ by calling people to acknowledge their sin and their need for salvation. His baptism was a purification ceremony meant to ready the peoples’ hearts to receive their Savior. GotQuestions.org


Dictionary of Biblical Imagery background on BAPTISM 

Jewish Background. Jewish people in Jesus’ day were generally meticulous about the ritual washings commanded in the Hebrew Bible and had added other ritual washings as well. Well-to-do people in the wealthy neighborhoods of Jerusalem even had their own ritual immersion pools. The Essenes of the Qumran community (the people who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls) were among the most meticulous; besides the initial washing required to join the sect, they were always washing themselves subsequently to insure ritual purity (ANOTHER SOURCE SAYS "The Essenes (a strict, monastic sect of Judaism) practiced baptism for purification, but normally only non-Jews (Gentiles) were baptized when they converted to Judaism."). Ceremonial washing became part of Jewish piety in the Hellenistic period, and in the two centuries before the time of Jesus, Jewish people were immersing themselves at appropriate times. Pharisees began to apply the priestly practice of hand washing. Jewish people practiced one particular kind of once-for-all ritual washing, however. This was the baptism administered to Gentiles when they wished to convert to Judaism and wash away their former impurity. Baptism was so characteristic of Jewish conversion rituals, next to the more painful accompanying practice of male circumcision, that even pagan writers like Epictetus mention it. According to   p 73  later Jewish regulations concerning private baptisms, the immersion must be so complete that even if a person were otherwise naked, the immersion would be invalidated if so much as the string of a bean covered the space between two teeth. But full immersion, coupled with circumcision (for males) and a sincere heart, meant conversion. Some later Jewish teachers insisted that a Gentile converted in this manner became “like a newborn child,” completely separated from his or her Gentile past.

John the Baptist. John the Baptist obviously did not have Jewish people strip naked for public baptisms in the Jordan, but he probably did insist that they bend forward and submerge completely under the water, according to standard Jewish practice. The term baptism could indicate dipping, sprinkling or immersion, but the Jewish custom was immersion. John proclaimed this as a “baptism of repentance,” a once-for-all sort of act, purifying a person from their former ways in view of the coming kingdom. Quite in contrast to the sort of once-for-all baptism of Gentiles mentioned above, however, John demanded that Jewish people also undergo this rite. He regarded Jewish people as in need of conversion to God’s way as much as Gentiles (Mt 3:9; Lk 3:8).

Jordan River and Wilderness. For the Gospel writers, John’s baptizing in the Jordan and his ministry in the wilderness evoke the exodus-conquest tradition of Israel’s beginnings as it is seen through the subsequent Elijah tradition. John calls Israel back to the wilderness and the Jordan. Israel is being prepared for a restoration or reconstitution, their repentance being signified by a renewed encounter with the waters crossed by their ancestors. (The problem for this perspective is that Israel originally crossed on dry ground; however, note in Josh 3:15 and 4:18 that the Jordan was at flood stage at the time). But Josephus tells us that at least one other Jewish prophetic figure, Theudas, thought that the way to signify a moment of deliverance was to take his followers out to the wilderness for a reenactment of the Jordan crossing and the conquest of the land. John is much like Elijah and Elisha, who are associated with the Jordan River. Elijah parts the waters, and Elisha has the Gentile Naaman wash in the Jordan for his healing. The question put to the Baptist in John 1:24–25, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (NIV), implies that the religious leaders of the day took seriously the symbolism of the Jordan/wilderness, which hearkened back to Elijah and symbolized cataclysmic change

John 1:26  John answered them saying, "I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.

Amplified - John answered them, I [only] baptize in (with) water. Among you there stands One Whom you do not recognize and with Whom you are not acquainted and of Whom you know nothing. 

  • I: Mt 3:11 Mk 1:8 Lu 3:16 Ac 1:5 11:16 
  • whom: John 1:10,11 Jn 8:19 Jn 16:3 Jn 17:3,25 Mal 3:1,2; 1 Jn 3:1
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 3:11+  “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8+   “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 3:16+   John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

JOHN'S RESPONSE TO 
QUESTIONING HIS AUTHORITY

John answered them saying, "I baptize (present tense) in water - John's response is not to explain his authority to baptize, but, as the focused forerunner that he is, he once again points these blind guides to the Wayshower, to the Messiah of Whom he had been commissioned by God to bear witness. (See notes above on John's Baptism")

Leon Morris - John’s reply points them to Jesus in accordance with his characteristic role. “I” is emphatic (as is “you”); all that he does is to baptize in water. After this we expect a reference to another kind of baptism, like the baptism in the Holy Spirit to which in fact all three Synoptists refer in a corresponding statement. But instead our Evangelist passes on to the greatness of Jesus and drops the subject of baptism.  (NICNT-Jn)

THOUGHT - John was faithful to keep his focus on his calling reminding all of us in ministry (we are all in some way into spiritual work for the common good and God's glory - 1 Cor 12:7, 1 Pe 4:10-11+) to don't turn to the right or the left, but focus on the good work He has prepared for you to accomplish in your short time on earth (cf Eph 2:10+). 

Baptize (present tense = continually baptize)(907) see baptizo

but - Term of contrast implied as there is no Greek word for "but" in the text. The point is that the One to whom John pointed was entirely different in nature and purpose.

Among you stands One whom you do not know - Not is the ou signifying absolutely do not know. This is almost like a prophecy, for most of the Jews in Jesus' day would in fact never come to know Him as their Messiah and Redeemer. John is saying the One for Whom he was clearing the way was already on the scene (being born 6 months after John's birth). Stands is in the perfect tense signifying a past completed act (I would submit the virgin birth might be that "act", but see also Rev 13:8NIV+) with ongoing effect or impact (for example, when Jesus gave His life "a ransom for many." Mk 10:45+, the atoning work of His blood sacrifice resulted in an "ongoing effect" which will be eternally efficacious!). 

It is interesting that John had in a sense been in the position of these Jews, for Jn 1:31 says “I did not recognize Him" but his eyes were opened spiritually the next day when "he saw Jesus coming" and made his famous declaration in John 1:29. 

Kostenberger comments "that, by his own acknowledgment, not even John himself knew Jesus’ true identity apart from divine revelation (John 1:31, 33)....John’s self-confessed “ignorance” is a further instance of humility that throws into even starker relief the one who possesses original knowledge (John 1:18; John 7:27–28). (BECNT-Jn)

Leon Morris makes an excellent point that John's not going into detail about his baptism "should not be taken as indicating that he does not regard his baptism as important. He does. He does not depreciate it. But his baptism is not an end in itself. Its purpose is to point people to Christ (Jn 1:31). John’s interest is in the Christ and in nothing less." (Ibid)

A T Robertson on do not know - This was the tragedy of the situation (Jn 1:11+). Apparently this startling declaration excited no further inquiry from the committee.

Henry Morris on Whom you do not know - Nor did they want to know (John 1:10,11+). This conversation evidently occurred sometime after Jesus' baptism, but either they had not been present on that day or had not understood what was happening. Jesus had now returned, however, and was there standing among them as they interrogated John.

Know (1492)(eido, oida - eido is used only in the perfect tense = oida) means in general to know by perception. Eido/oida is generally distinguished from ginosko (epiginosko, epignosis - the other major NT word group for knowing) because ginosko generally refers to knowledge obtained by experience or "experiential knowledge". On the other hand, eido/oida often refers more to an intuitive knowledge, although this distinction is not always clear cut (and not all experts agree with this distinction). Oida often connotes not only having knowledge but also being able to understand that knowledge (Luke 2:49; Acts 3:17; Ro 6:9). In the Gospel of John, knowing often connotes having the ability to fully understand what one is seeing (John 1:26; 13:7; 19:10). Not knowing what one is doing implies the lack of ability to understand the ramifications of one’s actions (Luke 22:34; Jude 10). 

John 1:27  "It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

  • Who: Joh 1:15,30 Ac 19:4 
  • Whose: Mt 3:11 Mk 1:7 Lu 3:16 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Matthew 3:11  “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:7  And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit (hikanos - adequate or qualified) to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.

Comment - Stoop down is kupto which means to bend down the ground and thus is word picture of the root meaning of the Greek word for humility, tapeinos (see below). 

Luke 3:16+ - John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Comment - "Good teaching repeats itself" The metaphor of untying a sandal thought makes for dramatic teaching on the depths (and height) of John's humility! 

Acts 13:25+ (PAUL TEACHING AT "Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day") “And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’ 


Dusty Roads, Dirty Feet, Dirty Job Untying Sandal!

JOHN'S EXTRAORDINARY HUMILITY:
LOWER THAN A SLAVE

One might accuse John of a touch of false humility (like Moses in Nu 12:3+), but I don't think so, because Jesus gave him a sterling "character reference" declaring  “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Why? Because believers have the indwelling Spirit of Christ which John did not have. We are not great per se, but have the "Greatest One" residing in our bodies, His temple!).” (Lk 7:28+ - see In what way was John the Baptist the greatest?). 

It is He who comes after me - John repeatedly points to the fact that Jesus was coming after him. John did not see himself as the "main attraction." He was like a band who warms up the audience before the internationally known band takes the stage. "John as the forerunner of the Messiah has preceded him in time, but not in rank as he instantly adds." (Robertson)

John 1:15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who COMES after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”

John 1:30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me COMES a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’

The thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie - John never "skipped a beat" as we often say -- whenever he might have had an opportunity to drawn attention to himself, he continually pointed to his Savior. John's statement emphasizes how great he considered Jesus by comparison. And what better way to highlight Christ then to "lowlight" himself (as he does here with honesty and sincerity). It reminds me of how they show off the sparkling diamond by setting it on a simply black felt cloth. John was the "black felt cloth" and Jesus Christ was/is the "Flawless Diamond!" His beauty is accentuated as it should be. John understood this principle. Do we? 

THOUGHT - Is this not one of the characteristics of his extraordinary humility. Are we "humble" in this way like John, continually pointing away from ourselves and to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ? That's real humility! 

To untie a sandal was a job relegated to a lowly slave. John is saying he is even below a slave!  (Babylonian Talmud Ketubot 96a = "Said R. Joshua b. Levi, “All acts of labor that a slave performs for his master, a disciple of a sage performs for his master, except for removing his shoe.” This makes Jesus' action in John 13:5 even more poignant and powerful, as He gave us an example of what we too should do (Jn 13:15)! 

COMMENT: So John was willing to stoop as low as a human can go, even lower than a slave, which is fascinating for the Greek word for humble is tapeinos which is found in an early secular document where it speaks of the Nile River in its low stage as “It runs low.” Thus tapeinos means “not rising far from the ground” a description that fits perfectly with John the Baptist in his self-description in this passage.

In a similar example of John's extraordinary humility, when Jesus came to him to be baptized, "John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Mt 3:14+).

John's ultimate goal in life was always to "lift Jesus higher" declaring "He must (present tense - continual necessity) increase (present tense - continually), but I must (present tense - continual necessity) decrease (present tense - continually)." (Jn 3:30+). Notice the order -- Jesus first, then John. It reminds me of the acronym J.O.Y., Jesus Others Yourself. When Jesus is exalted in our heart and mind and life, we progressively grow smaller and smaller by comparison. Like the hymn says "the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Let it be so continually in our/my life Lord Jesus. Amen. 

Making Christ known to the lost was supreme purpose of John's life.
He is a good example to follow.
-- Pastor Glen Spencer

FSB says that "Jewish tradition taught that a disciple must serve his teacher in every task that a slave would perform except for removing his shoe—a task deemed too menial for a disciple." 

LASB - according to Luke 7:28, Jesus said that John was the greatest of all prophets. If such a great person felt inadequate even to be Christ's slave, how much more should we lay aside our pride to serve Christ! When we truly understand who Christ is, our pride and self-importance melt away.

Jack Andrews - Vance Havner said, “We major nowadays on relevance and minor on reverence.” Not so for John the Baptist. He had the proper reverence for his Lord. He declared that he was not worthy to loose the sandals from the Lord’s feet. John understood who he was in light of who He is!
Jesus is Lord! He is King of kings! He is our Creator, Savior, Redeemer! We are to bow before Him in humble submission! John was in essence saying that he was not worthy to approach the Lord, touch the Lord, or be near to the Lord!

Leon Morris on not worthy to untie says that John is probably referring to the rabbinical saying that "Every service which a slave performs for his master shall a disciple do for his teacher except the loosing of his sandlethong.”

John 1:28  These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

  • in Bethany: Joh 10:40 Judges 7:24
  • where John was baptizing: Joh 3:23 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Bethany Beyond the Jordan 
(compare other Bethany near Mt of Olives on left side)

These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan (place Jesus later went in Jn 10:40) - This means to the east of the Jordan River so this was not the same Bethany near Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives (Mk 11:1+ - see map). Beyond (or across) means to the East of the Jordan River. 

HCSB Study Bible -  Luke 3:1+ places this event in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 14-37), or A.D. 29. John would have been about 33 years old. 

Where John was baptizing - Baptizing is in the present tense picture a continual stream of Jews coming  for baptism, for "Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan." (Mt 3:5+). John's "drawing power" or popularity incensed the wicked, jealous hearts of the Pharisees prompting them to send their emissaries to check him out. Later the apostle John records "John also was baptizing in Aenon (on western side of the Jordan - see map) near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized." (Jn 3:23+). 

Baptizing (present tense = continually baptizing)(907) see baptizo

John 1:29  The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Wuest On the next day he sees Jesus coming towards him and says, Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

BGT  John 1:29 Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.

NET  John 1:29 On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

NLT  John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

ESV  John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

NIV  John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

KJV  John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

YLT  John 1:29 on the morrow John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, 'Lo, the Lamb of God, who is taking away the sin of the world;

ASV  John 1:29 On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!

CSB  John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

NKJ  John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

NRS  John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

NAB  John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

NJB  John 1:29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

GWN  John 1:29 John saw Jesus coming toward him the next day and said, "Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


Behold the Lamb of God

THE SECOND DAY
THE GREAT PROCLAMATION

See the discussion below on the Lamb of God, past, present and future. 

The next day he saw (blepo) Jesus (Iesous) coming to (pros = towards) him and said - The next day after the visit of the Jews sent by the Pharisees. In this case, the next day introduces a series of events described in John 1:29 through John 2:1. We know from Jn 1:26 and Jn 1:32-33 that John recognized Jesus as the Messiah. 

Vincent on saw - Both horao and blepo denote the physical act of seeing, the former seeing in general, the latter the single look. The perception indicated by blepo is more outward; the perception of sense as distinguished from mental discernment, which is prominent in ὁράω . A look told the Baptist that the Mightier One had come. See note on John 1:18, and see note on Matthew 7:3.

Next day in John 1 

John 1:29  The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:35  Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
John 1:43   The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.”

John 2:1  On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;

John MacArthur comments - The phrase the next day introduces a sequence of days, which continues in verses 35, 43, and 2:1. Apparently, the events from John’s interview with the delegation from Jerusalem (vv. 19–28) to the miracle at Cana (Jn 2:1–11) spanned one week. On the day after he spoke to the delegation, John saw Jesus coming to him." (Ibid)

Henry Morris on the next day - This may have been about six weeks after Jesus' baptism following the forty-day testing in the wilderness (Mark 1:11-12), and shortly before Passover (John 2:13), when the people would be thinking about the coming slaying of the Passover lambs.

In support that the premise of Henry Morris is correct is the  fact that "The Fourth Gospel does not record, as the Synoptic Gospels do, the baptism of Jesus by John. However, the coming of Jesus mentioned in this verse was not his coming for baptism, because, as John 1:32–33 implies, John had already witnessed the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus when he had baptized him. John already knew who Jesus was," (Kruse - TOTC-Jn)

David Guzik on the next day -  By most reckonings, this was after John baptized Jesus and after the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. Jesus came back to see John in his baptizing work. “Some weeks probably had elapsed since Jesus received baptism at John’s hands; he had been away since then, but now he is back, and John draws the crowd’s attention to him.” (F F Bruce). “Since then verse 29 must be understood as happening after the baptism, it must have happened after the Temptation also. And in this supposition there is not the slightest difficulty.” (Henry Alford)

William Hendriksen seems to agree with Morris writing "Jesus returns from the desert where he has been tempted." (BNTC-John)

Calvin on next day - There can be no doubt that John had already spoken about the manifestation of the Messiah; but when Christ began to appear, he wished that his announcement of him should quickly become known, and the time was now at hand when Christ would put an end to John’s ministry, as, when the sun is risen, the dawn suddenly disappears. After having testified to the priests who were sent to him, that he from whom they ought to seek the truth and power of baptism was already present, and was conversing in the midst of the people, the next day he pointed him out to the view of all. For these two acts, following each other in close succession, must have powerfully affected their minds. 

Godet on next day - But this detail implies simply that Jesus, after having been baptized, had, previously to this meeting, separated Himself from John for a certain time, and that after this interval He, on this very day, returned to the presence of His forerunner, hoping to find in His presence those whom God should give to Him in order to begin His work. And we know, in fact, from the Synoptical account, that Jesus, after His baptism, had withdrawn into the solitude of the desert, where He had passed several weeks; it was now the moment, therefore, when He reappeared to take up His work as Redeemer. Nothing is more natural than that, with this design, He should return to the presence of John. Was not he the one who had been sent to open the way for Him to Israel? Was it not at his hands that He could hope to receive the instruments which were indispensable to Him for the accomplishment of His task? Jesus Himself (John 10:3) designates John as the porter who opens to the Shepherd the door of the sheepfold, so that He does not have to climb over the wall of the inclosure like the robber, but can enter without violence into the sheepfold.

Robertson says saw...coming is a "Dramatic historical present indicative (blepei) with vivid present middle participle (erchomenon). Graphic picture." Addendum note - Verbs in present tense in the context of the so-called historical present call for a vivid imagination on the part of the reader. The historical present describes a past event as though it were actually taking place. Here the present is a pictorial tense, displaying the action vividly before our eyes. In English we often use the historical present when recounting personal experiences such as "then he says to me" even though what he said occurred in the past. The Gospel of Mark frequently uses historical present - see peculiarities of Mark. Mark wants us to picture these Pharisees surrounding Jesus like a "brood of vipers" with serpentine precision surrounding Jesus, as if preparing their "victim" for a kill! 

Behold (see idou below) is a command to look, see, perceive. This command is in aorist imperative which means "Look now!," "Don't delay!," "Do not procrastinate!" In short John was saying Look at the Lamb. See Who the Lamb actually is. Perceive His purpose (e.g., Jews knew that literal lambs were sacrificed as sin offerings).

There is a passage in the King James version in Isaiah 45 which commands OT readers to "Look", Isaiah writing 

Look (a command; Lxx = epistrepho in the aorist imperative = turn to Me [aka "be converted"] ) unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Comment: Some 1900 years later a 15 year old boy under amazing providential circumstances was confronted by a layman substituting for the absent preacher (because of a fierce snowstorm) with Isaiah 45:22KJV and implored to "Look!" Spurgeon later records this untrained laymen's words as he remembered them "My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.” Then he pointed out that the text says, “Look unto Me,” not to yourself. He went on about ten minutes or so telling everyone who Christ was that they were to look to. He seemed to be at the end of his tether when he looked directly at young Spurgeon and said (1:88), “Young man, you look very miserable. And you always will be miserable-miserable in life, and miserable in death-if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Then he shouted, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.” Spurgeon said that he had been waiting to do fifty things, but that word “look” cleared away the clouds. He looked to Christ and the boy who would go on to become the greatest preacher of the 19th century was saved! And you will be saved too, if you look in faith to Jesus, the Lamb that God provided to take away your sins. (Adapted from Steven Cole).

THOUGHT - This incredible story of Spurgeon's salvation begs the question - Have you looked at the Lamb, the only One Who can save you from a Christ-less eternity? (Eph 2:8-9+, Jn 8:24) If not, then, like Spurgeon, procrastinate no further. Simply Look to Jesus by faith and be saved eternally. 

Guzik At the dawn of His ministry, Jesus was greeted with words declaring His destiny – His sacrificial agony and death on the cross for the sin of mankind. The shadow of the cross was cast over the entire ministry of Jesus.. John didn’t present Jesus as a great moral example or a great teacher of holiness and love. He proclaimed Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. It wasn’t “Behold the great example” or “Behold the great teacher”

The ISBE (old edition) has an interesting note - In Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs an apocryphal book, probably of the 2nd century - we have the term used for the Messiah, "Honor Judah and Levi, for from them shall arise for you the Lamb of God, saving all nations by grace." But the term does not seem to have been of any general use until it received its distinctly Christian significance. It has been generally understood as referring to the prophetic language of Jeremiah 11:19 , and Isaiah 53:7.

Henry Morris has a good thought on the significance/meaning of the phrase Lamb of God - Jesus is called "the Lamb" by the Apostle John twice in his gospel (John 1:29, 36) and twenty-eight times in Revelation. The title is derived from the multitude of sacrificial lambs offered in atonement for sins in the old dispensation, soon to be superseded by Christ's "one sacrifice for sins for ever" (Hebrews 10:12+). Note also Isaiah 53:7; Acts 8:32; and 1 Peter 1:19, where Christ's substitutionary sacrifice is also compared to the shedding of the innocent blood of a lamb. (Defender's Study Bible)


The Lamb of God

The Lamb of God in Greek is "ho amnos tou theou" and in Latin is the well known phrase "Agnus Dei" which is used in liturgies in several denominations. Michael W Smith wrote a well-known Christian song entitled "Agnus Dei." I love the words of the song and have used it for personal worship times but am embarrassed to say that I never knew the meaning of "Agnus Dei" until I wrote these comments on John!  The lyrics of Agnus Dei are simple but Scriptural. Take a moment to worship the Worthy Lamb of God in spirit and in truth. Alleluia means "Praise the Lord." Note also that "Lord God Almighty" in Hebrew is Jehovah EL Shaddai. Finally especially notice that the words of the song are directed heavenward, unto the Lamb, for He alone is worthy to receive our praises - “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  (Rev 5:12+)

Alleluia Alleluia
For our Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia Alleluia
For our Load God Almighty reigns
Alleluia

Holy Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
You are Holy

Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Amen

Holy Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
You are Holy

Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Amen

Steven Cole adds that "Some think that (LAMB OF GOD) was referring to the Passover lamb, whose blood spared the Israelites from the loss of their firstborn (John connects Jesus with the Passover lamb in John 19:36). It could refer to the lambs that were offered as morning and evening sacrifices at the temple (Ex 29:36-42+). Others say that it refers to the lamb of Isaiah 53:7, who died to bear the sin of many (see Isa. 53:3-12+). Or, it could refer to the lamb that God provided as a substitute so that Abraham did not have to sacrifice his “only” son Isaac (Gen. 22:7-13). Leon Morris is probably correct when he states (The Gospel According to John [Eerdmans], p. 147), “He used an expression which cannot be confined to any one view. He is making a general allusion to sacrifice.” He adds (p. 148), “All that the ancient sacrifices foreshadowed was perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ. J. C. Ryle (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], 3:55) wrote, “It meant that Christ was the great sacrifice for sin, who was come to make atonement for transgression by His own death upon the cross.” He adds (3:57), “He is describing our Lord’s official character as the great propitiation for sin.”"

Guzik on Lamb of God The Lamb of God: John used the image of the sacrificial lamb, represented many times in the Old Testament. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of every time that image is displayed.

  • He is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
  • He is the animal slain in the Garden of Eden to cover the nakedness of the first sinners.
  • He is the lamb God would Himself provide for Abraham as a substitute for Isaac.
  • He is the Passover lamb for Israel.
  • He is the lamb for the guilt offering in the Levitical sacrifices.
  • He is Isaiah’s lamb to the slaughter, ready to be shorn
  • Each of these lambs fulfilled their role in their death; this was an announcement that Jesus would die, and as a sacrifice for the sin of the world.

The power of the Word of God in John 1:29 - 

George Cutting, British author and soul-winner, was bicycling one day through a certain English village when he felt impressed to shout out the words, “Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” No sooner had he spoken those syllables when he suddenly felt he should repeat them.

A half-year passed, and Cutting returned to evangelize door-to-door in the area. When a woman came to the door of one cottage, Cutting asked if she was saved. “Oh yes!” she exclaimed. “Six months ago I was in great distress about the salvation of my soul. I pleaded for God’s help. Then a voice cried, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ I asked God to repeat what he had said, and the voice came again.”

A similar, better-known incident happened in the ministry of Charles H. Spurgeon. He was invited to preach in London’s Crystal Palace (see original picture) on the “Day of National Humiliation.” The meeting was described as “the largest ever addressed by a preacher of the gospel in Europe or the world.” Several days before the service, Spurgeon went to the Crystal Palace to walk around the platform, gaze over the empty seats, and test the acoustics. He stepped to the podium, raised his voice, and shouted the words, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Unknown to him, his words wafted through the hall and up into the rafters where a workman, busy in the upper galleries, heard them as though spoken from heaven. He was immediately smitten with conviction of sin and put down his tools, went home, and sought for Christ until he found Him. (From this Verse - Robert Morgan)

The Lamb of God - John does not say Behold me. "John doesn’t say, “Look at me! I’m a great prophet!” He doesn’t say, “Look at your good works; they will save you.” He doesn’t say, “Look at your religious rituals; they will put you in good stead on judgment day.” He doesn’t say, “Look at your religious heritage or your church attendance.” He says, “Look to the Lamb of God!” Jesus saves sinners who look in faith to Him." (Cole) In using this phrase, John described Jesus by the name Lamb, an animal which was recognized by all Jews as one used in the Temple sacrifices and in the celebration of Passover. It was as if John was saying behold the "Sacrifice." The implication is that John understood in some way that Jesus had come to die a sacrificial death. How John came to have this understanding is not clear. Of course, ultimately the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13; cf "illumination") opened the eyes of John's heart to "see" this spiritual truth. And surely John was familiar with the Old Testament and so would have some understanding of the metaphorical descriptions of coming Messiah depicted as a "lamb. He would also have understood there were passages that described a "Suffering Messiah," (see some of these passages below) a teaching that was not popular among most of the Jews of John's day who were looking for a "Conquering Messiah." (See the Jewish Tradition of Two Messiahs - very informative 34 page booklet) One other point to note is the definite article ("the", the Greek article "ho") precedes Lamb, . You may be asking "So what?" The importance is that the definite article preceding "Lamb" signifies that Jesus is THE UNIQUE Lamb, THE "ONE and ONLY" Lamb, that He is distinct and different and is not like other lambs Jews had been sacrifices for centuries. Hebrews 10:4+ explains why stating that "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." Only the blood of THE Lamb can take away the sin of the world! And do not miss the phrase of God which conveys the truth that Jesus' coming is not an accident, but is God-ordained as the Gift to the world of His only Son, His beloved Son, as the sacrificial offering for the sin of the world (John 3:16+). 

Titles of Jesus in John 1

  1. Lamb of God - John 1:29
  2. Rabbi - John 1:38, 49
  3. Messiah - John 1:41
  4. Son of God - John 1:34, 49
  5. King of Israel - John 1:49
  6. Son of Man - John 1:51
  7. Jesus of Nazareth - John 1:45

Steven Cole notes that John 1:29 "is so familiar that it doesn’t shock us, but it should. That was a radical thing for John to say about a young Galilean carpenter to a bunch of Jewish people who for centuries had offered their sacrificial lambs at the temple! “This man is the One Whom God has sent to be what all of those thousands of lambs over hundreds of years have symbolized! And He is not only the Lamb that God sent for Israel, but also for the whole world!”

John MacArthur - The concept of a sacrificial Lamb was a familiar one to the Jewish people. All through Israel’s history God had revealed clearly that sin and separation from Him could be removed only by blood sacrifices (cf. Lev. 17:11+). No forgiveness of sin could be granted by God apart from an acceptable substitute dying as a sacrifice. 

For centuries the Israel had been sacrificing two lambs daily, one in the morning and a second in the evening, first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple. John would have been very familiar with this practice as his father served as one of the priests and would have taught him about the sacrificial system and how the blood of the slain animals provided atonement for sins (cf sin offering - Lev 5:5-7+). But now John sees Jesus and recognizes Him as the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of the world. 

John would have read about the OT statute in Exodus which foreshadowed and pointed to the Lamb of God...

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs (Lxx = amnos- same word John uses here in Jn 1:29) each day, continuously. 39 “The one lamb (Lxx = amnos) you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb (Lxx = amnos) you shall offer at twilight; 40 and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb (Lxx = amnos). 41 “The other lamb (Lxx = amnos) you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering (minchah) and the same drink offering (necek) as in the morning, for a soothing aroma (nihoah reah - See foreshadowing of Jesus), an offering by fire (ishsheh) to the LORD. (Ex 29:38-41+)

“Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at their appointed time.’ 3 “You shall say to them, ‘This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs (Lxx = amnos- same word John uses here in Jn 1:29) one year old without defect (tamim cf 1 Pe 1:18-19+) as a continual burnt offering ('olah) every day (cf what Paul says we should do today - Ro 12:1-2+). 4 ‘You shall offer the one lamb (Lxx = amnos) in the morning and the other lamb (Lxx = amnos) you shall offer at twilight; 5 also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil. 6 ‘It is a continual burnt offering which was ordained in Mount Sinai as a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. 7 ‘Then the drink offering with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb (Lxx = amnos), in the holy place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the LORD. 8‘ The other lamb (Lxx = amnos) you shall offer at twilight; as the grain offering of the morning and as its drink offering, you shall offer it, an offering by fire, a soothing aroma to the LORD. (Numbers 28:2-8 = see in depth commentary on this daily offering as well as weekly, monthly and yearly offerings God commanded, all of which pointed to the Lamb of God proclaimed here in John 1:29, 36 by John the Baptist).

Lightfoot comments that Lamb of God "alludes plainly to the lamb of the daily sacrifice. Which in shadow took away the sins of Israel. It was commanded in the law that he that offered the sacrifice should lay his hand upon the head of the sacrifice, Leviticus 1:4, 3:2, 4:4, &c.. The reason of which usage was, that he might, as it were, transfer his sins and guilt upon the head of the offering, which is more especially evident in the scapegoat, Leviticus 16:22. Hence Christ is said "himself to have borne our sins in his own body on the tree," 1 Peter 2:24, as the offering upon the altar was wont to do. He was made by God a "sin for us," 2 Corinthians 5:21; that is, a sacrifice for sin.. The same rite was used about the lamb of the daily sacrifice that was offered for all Israel; "The stationary men [as they were called], or the substitutes of the people, laying their hands upon the head of the lamb." To this therefore the words of the Baptist refer: "The lamb of God, that is, the daily sacrifice, taketh away the sins of the world, as the sacrifice did for all Israel. But behold here the true Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world."

John Calvin - By the word Lamb he alludes to the ancient sacrifices of the Law. He had to do with Jews who, having been accustomed to sacrifices, could not be instructed about atonement for sins in any other way than by holding out to them a sacrifice. As there were various kinds of them, he makes one, by a figure of speech, to stand for the whole

Some other passages related to Jesus as the Lamb of God...

SUFFERING SERVANT - Isaiah 53 (commentary) - Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; LIKE A LAMB that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.  8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?  9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.  10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering (see asam), He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.  11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.  12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many (OUR SINS WERE PLACED ON THE LAMB OF GOD UPON THE CROSS!), And interceded for the transgressors.

PASSOVER LAMB - Ex 12:5-11 (commentary) Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month (NISAN), then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. (THE TIME OF THE DAILY SACRIFICE OF THE LAMB - COMPARE WHEN JESUS DIED IN THE AFTERNOON AS THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE - SEE Mt 27:45 = DARKNESS FROM NOON TO 3PM, ABOUT THE TIME OF THE SACRIFICES OF THE LITERAL PASSOVER LAMBS!) 7 ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 ‘They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 ‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste–it is the LORD’S Passover. 12‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD. 13‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. 

PROPHECY OF LAMB FULFILLED AND PROFITABLE - Acts 8:32-35+ (ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH READING ISAIAH'S PROPHECY AND IS BORN AGAIN) - Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.  “IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.”   34The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him (AND CLEARLY EXPLAINED THAT ISAIAH 53 WAS A PROPHECY FULFILLED BY JESUS.).

SACRIFICED PASSOVER LAMB - 1 Cor 5:7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Brian Bell gives us 4 Sacrifice examples:

  1. First sacrifice was for the Individual (Adam/Eve; “Tunics of skin”; Gen.3:21).
  2. Second was for a Family (Passover Lamb; Ex.12).
  3. Third was for the Nation (Day of Atonement; an offering made by fire; Lev.23:27).
  4. Fourth is for the World (Jesus for the world; Jn.1:29).

SIN BEARING LAMB - 1 Peter 2:21-24+ For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Revelation 5:6-13+  And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 

COMMENT - Lamb in the Revelation passages is arnion the diminutive of aren.  Aren signifies the young offspring of a sheep, and can speak of an animal for slaughter and is used only in Lk 10:3+Aren is used in the description of the Passover Lamb in Ex 12:5 "‘Your lamb (Lxx = aren) shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats." In the coming Millennium "the wolf will dwell with the lamb (Lxx = aren), And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. (Isa. 11:6+, cf Isa 65:25). The other uses of arnion  that refer to the Messiah are found in the Revelation - Rev 19:7, 9+ Rev 21:22, 2+ Rev 22:1-+ Rev 22:3+ 

Take a moment to WORSHIP the Lamb of God, remembering that the etymology of the word WORSHIP is "WORTHY!" HE ALONE IS WORTHY OF ALL OUR PRAISES...

WORTHY IS THE LAMB

Thank you for the cross, Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love, Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know
Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious

High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

Thank you for the cross, Lord (thank you)
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love, Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know
Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious

High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Treasure of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious

High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Treasure of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

And if that did not bless your heart enough,
take some more time and play
Shane & Shane's version of "IS HE WORTHY?" 

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)

Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy? Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
He is

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)
And does Jesus, our Messiah, hold forever those He loves? (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave (Re 5:5+)
He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From every people and tribe (People and tribe)
Every nation and tongue (Every nation and tongue) (Re 5:9+)
He has made us a kingdom and priests to God
To reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?

He is, He is
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
He is, He is
He is worthy, He is worthy
He is

As noted in the excursus below on the Lamb of God, John's declaration is the answer to the OT question "Where is the Lamb?" (Ge 22:7+) Note that even in Genesis 22 we see a statement by Abraham that could be taken as a prophecy when he answered Isaac's question "God will provide for Himself the LAMB for the burnt offering (THE CROSS WAS THE ULTIMATE "BURNT OFFERING"!), my son." (Ge 22:8+).

COMMENT - As an aside, some commentaries (e.g., D A Carson) suggest that John did not understand that Jesus was to be a Suffering Messiah and thus he (John the Baptist) did not understand what he was saying when he used the designation Lamb of God. I would strongly disagree with that premise, and would appeal to the immediate context to support the thought that John in fact did have some understanding of a Suffering Messiah. He certainly did not introduce Jesus as "Behold the Conquering King!" In other words, in the immediate context (context is king in accurate interpretation) the Baptist explains that Jesus the Lamb takes away the sin of the world. As a good Jewish boy, whose father Zacharias (Zechariah) was a priest, John would have repeatedly been taught that the blood of sacrificial lambs had to be shed daily, monthly and yearly in the Temple to effect the atonement (kapar) of sins of individual Jews and of the nation of Israel (although God made it clear that none of those sacrifices were sufficient to take away sin - see Heb 10:2-4+, cf Isaiah 1:11+). While John may not have fully understood that Jesus would be crucified, there is little doubt from the context that he understood to some degree that the Messiah was to suffer and, yea, even shed His precious blood to take away the sin of the world. If the OT repeatedly taught that animal blood must be shed for temporary covering of sins, how much more must the sinless Messiah's divine blood be shed for the permanent covering of the sin (Heb 10:12+) of the entire world, of every person ever born, whether Jew or Gentile? I submit John knew Jesus was the "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah 53:1-12+

Behold (2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which is a call for the audience to see, perceive, look. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Zodhiates writes that idou is a "demonstrative particle. “Lo and behold!”, serving to call attention to something external or exterior to oneself; usually used at the beginning of a clause. Spurgeon adds that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

John uses Behold 14x which is more than all of the synoptic Gospels combined - Mt 25:20; Mt. 25:22; Mt. 25:25; Mt. 26:65; Mk. 2:24; Mk. 3:34; Mk. 11:21; Mk. 13:1; Mk. 13:21; Mk. 15:4; Mk. 15:35; Mk. 16:6; Jn. 1:29; Jn. 1:36; Jn. 1:47; Jn. 3:26; Jn. 5:14; Jn. 7:26; Jn. 11:3; Jn. 11:36; Jn. 12:19; Jn. 16:29; Jn. 19:4; Jn. 19:14; Jn. 19:26; Jn. 19:27; Gal. 5:2

Lamb (286)(amnos) refers to a lamb used for sacrifice. The 4 NT uses are all figurative descriptions of Jesus depicted as a sacrificial Lamb (Jn. 1:29+; Jn. 1:36+; Acts 8:32+; 1 Pet. 1:19+). Amnos is used 96 times in the Septuagint and while the offering of sheep is alluded to in Ge 4:4 (flock which would probably include sheep), the sacrificial use of the amnos is not specified until the exodus of Israel from Egypt (Ex 12:5-7 but Lxx is not amnos but probaton - sheep). Nevertheless from this time onward in the Septuagint the amnos assumed a specific sacrificial role as in Ex 29:40,41, Lev 9:3+, Lev 12:6, 8+, etc). Of the 96 uses of amnos in the Septuagint, 75 are in context of a sacrificial offering. The amnos was to be without blemish (Lev 9:3+) and sacrificed twice daily (Ex 29:38-41). The most significant use of amnos in the OT is found in Isaiah 53:7+ which is quoted here in Acts 8:32+. The New Testament’s usage of amnos provides a clear picture of Christ as the “lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:19+ says we were redeemed "with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." So like the OT sacrifices of the lambs, Jesus was free of any defects as was His precious blood. He patiently endured His vicarious suffering (Acts 8:32, cf. Isaiah 53:7+), so that He might take away the sins of the world (John 1:29+). The other two words for lamb - Lamb (721arnion (See passages from Revelation above) and Lamb (704aren

It is notable that amnos is used repeatedly in the descriptions of the sacrifices in Exodus, Leviticus and most often in Numbers - Ex 29:38; Ex 29:39; Ex 29:40; Ex 29:41; Lev. 9:3; Lev. 12:6; Lev. 12:8; Lev. 14:10; Lev. 14:12; Lev. 14:13; Lev. 14:21; Lev. 14:24; Lev. 14:25; Lev. 23:18; Lev. 23:19; Lev. 23:20; Num. 6:12; Num. 6:14; Num. 7:15; Num. 7:21; Num. 7:27; Num. 7:33; Num. 7:39; Num. 7:45; Num. 7:51; Num. 7:57; Num. 7:63; Num. 7:69; Num. 7:75; Num. 7:81; Num. 7:87; Num. 15:5; Num. 15:11; Num. 28:3; Num. 28:4; Num. 28:7; Num. 28:8; Num. 28:9; Num. 28:11; Num. 28:13; Num. 28:14; Num. 28:19; Num. 28:21; Num. 28:27; Num. 28:29; Num. 29:2; Num. 29:4; Num. 29:8; Num. 29:10; Num. 29:13; Num. 29:15; Num. 29:17; Num. 29:18; Num. 29:20; Num. 29:21; Num. 29:23; Num. 29:24; Num. 29:26; Num. 29:27; Num. 29:29; Num. 29:30; Num. 29:32; Num. 29:33; Num. 29:36; Num. 29:37. 

Take a moment to worship the the Lamb Who Alone is worthy of your worship by playing (and singing to Him) Twila Paris' beautiful song...

The Lamb of God
Your only Son no sin to hide
But You have sent Him from Your side
To walk upon this guilty sod
And to become the Lamb of God

Your gift of love they crucified
They laughed and scorned Him as he died
The humble King they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God
I love the Holy Lamb of God
Oh wash me in His precious Blood
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God
I was so lost I should have died

But You have brought me to Your side
To be led by Your staff and rod
And to be called a lamb of God

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God
I love the Holy Lamb of God
Oh wash me in His precious Blood
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

Who takes away the sin of the world - Who refers to the Lamb (Jesus) and clearly links Him with the sacrificial system in the mind of the Jews, for all were familiar with the sacrifices for animals for sin, but there had never been a declaration in the OT that there was a sacrifice that could take away the sins of the world. So this was a radical concept to all who heard John's pronouncement. And yet  it was clear that John was linking Jesus with the Levitical sacrificial system. The verb takes away (airo same verb in 1 Jn 3:5+) means to lift up and carry away (bearing "up and away" forever our sin!), which gives us an incredible picture of Jesus lifted up on the Cross (Jn 3:14-16+, cf Nu 21:7-9+ = Col 2:17+) and like the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement (see Lev 16:8-10+), carrying away, blotting out, removing the sin debt we owed God (Ro 6:23+)! Amazing grace indeed!  Jamieson adds that "taketh up and taketh away. The word signifies both, as does the corresponding Hebrew word. Applied to sin, it means to be chargeable with the guilt of it (Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 5:1; Ezekiel 18:20), and to bear it away (as often). In the Levitical victims both ideas met, as they do in Christ, the people‘s guilt being viewed as transferred to them, avenged in their death, and so borne away by them (Leviticus 4:15+; Leviticus 16:15+, Leviticus 16:21+, Leviticus 16:22+; and compare Isaiah 53:6-12+; 2 Corinthians 5:21+)" 

Brian Bell - How startled was this crowd, when John pointed to Jesus & shouted from the edge of the Jordan river, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The Jews standing their must have immediately thought of: Abel & his propitiatory lamb; of Abraham & his memorable word, “God will provide Himself a Lamb”; of the Passover Lamb in Egypt; of the Levitical Lamb & the Tabernacle; & of the great prophecy in Isaiah, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.”Yes, they would have immediately thought of these things, & then gasped that John was identifying Jesus as the type & fulfillment!!!

Jamieson on the sin - The singular number being used to mark the collective burden and all-embracing efficacy.

Alexander Maclaren“John does not say ‘the sins,’ as the Litany, following an imperfect translation, makes him say. But he says, ‘the sin of the world,’ as if the whole mass of human transgression was bound together, in one black and awful bundle, and laid upon the unshrinking shoulders of "this better Atlas" Who can bear it ALL, and bear it ALL away!”

Note that John does not say Jesus came to take away the sin of the Jews, but of the world. This would have also been a radical concept to Jewish ears, because world would include Gentiles! Of course, the apostle John is not teaching "universalism" or that all the souls ever born into this world will be saved (See  Is universalism / universal salvation biblical?). John is saying that Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient for any person who receives His atoning sacrifice by grace through faith. Or stated another way we might say Christ invites all to come to the "salvation feast" which He has prepared (Luke 14:16-24+; Rev. 22:17+). The apostle in effect amplified or expanded the meaning of the world in Revelation 5:9+ writing that "they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You (THE LAMB in Rev 5:8+) to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (i.e., "take away the sin of the world"). Takes away (airo) is in the present tense "signifying the ongoing sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice and the fact that it is available at all times for every sinner who will trust in Him." (Cole) Robertson adds "The future work of the Lamb of God here described in present tense as in 1 John 1:7+ about the blood of Christ." Trapp says this present tense "should be as a perpetual picture in our hearts. As we multiply sins, he multiplieth pardons, Isaiah 55:7." Sin (hamartia) is singular and in essence depicts ALL of the variegated sins of ALL mankind for all time (Original Sin and Imputed Sin and Personal Sins - see chart comparing all three "classes" of sin), ALL collected together (so to speak). Christ's death was sufficient to take them ALL away, but of course only those who believe in His sin erasing death will be credited with His righteousness (right standing with God, blameless in Him). 

John MacArthur adds that "The use of the singular term sin (hamartia) with the collective noun world (kosmos) reveals that as sin is worldwide, so Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for all people without distinction (cf. 1 John 2:2+). But though His sacrificial death is sufficient for the sins of everyone (cf. John 3:16; 4:42; 6:51; 1 Ti 2:6; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 4:14), it is efficacious only for those who savingly believe in Him (John 3:15–16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:40; 11:25–26; Jn 20:31+; Luke 8:12; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Ro. 1:16; 3:21–24; 4:3–5; 10:9–10; 1 Cor. 1:21; Gal. 3:6–9, 22; Eph. 1:13; 1 John 5:1; 10–13). This verse does not teach universalism, the false doctrine that everyone will be saved. That such is not the case is obvious, since the Bible teaches that most people will suffer eternal punishment in hell (Mt. 25:41, 46; 2 Th 1:9+; Rev. 14:9–11; 20:11–15; cf. Ezek. 18:4, 20; Matt. 7:13–14+; Luke 13:23–24; John 8:24), and only a few will be saved (Matt. 7:13–14+)." (Ibid) (Bold added)

Jamieson on the world -  Wherever there shall live a sinner throughout the wide world, sinking under that burden too heavy for him to bear, he shall find in this “Lamb of God,” a shoulder equal to the weight. The right note was struck at the first - balm, doubtless, to Christ‘s own spirit; nor was ever after, or ever will be, a more glorious utterance.

Are these not some of the most wonderful words ever spoken/written? And so here at the outset of Jesus' ministry, John in essence describes the ultimate purpose for Jesus' incarnation as the God-Man - He is the Sin Bearer of the world. 

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It Is Well with My Soul - Horatio G. Spafford

Henry Morris on takes away has an interesting thought - The figure here is that of the two goats (Leviticus 16:7-22), offered on the annual Day of Atonement. One would die for the sins of the people; the other ("the scapegoat") would carry away all their sins into the wilderness. But "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Sacrifices were offered every day, but they could "never take away sins" (Hebrews 10:11). Their blood could only provide a temporary "atonement" (or "covering"), until the one capable Lamb of God could come to take away the "sin," not just "sins" of the whole world!

Takes away (142) (airo) literally means to lift up something (Mt 17:27) and to carry it (Lxx - Ge 44:1, Ex 25:28 = the Ark). Figuratively in John 1:29 (and 1 John 3:5+airo speaks of the taking away of sins. Airo is used twice in Isaiah 53:8+ "By oppression and judgment He was taken away (Lxx = airo); And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut (Lxx = airo) off out of the land of the living (Lexham English Septuagint = "His life was taken from the earth; He was led to death...) For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?" In Jn 8:59 the Jews (who ostensibly "came to believe in Him" - Jn 8:30) "picked up (airo) stones to throw at Him" because He had declared" before Abraham was born, I am.”(I AM = EGO EIMI - The Jews recognized He was calling Himself God and sought to stone Him for what they thought was blasphemy!) (Jn 8:58)

Calvin on airo in John 1:29 - The verb airo  (to take away) may be explained in two ways; either that Christ took upon himself the load which weighed us down, as it is said that he carried our sins on the tree, (1 Peter 2:24;) and Isaiah says that the chastisement of our peace was laid on him, (Isaiah 53:5;) or that he blots out sins. But as the latter statement depends on the former, I gladly embrace both; namely, that Christ, by bearing our sins, takes them away. Although, therefore, sin continually dwells in us, yet there is none in the judgment of God, because when it has been annulled by the grace of Christ, it is not imputed

Sin (266) (hamartia) literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God."

World (2889)(kosmos related to the verb kosmeo = to order or adorn, to put in order [Mt 25:7 = "trimmed"], to adorn literally [1Ti 2:9], to adorn figuratively [Titus 2:9+]) means essentially something that is well-arranged, that which has order or something arranged harmoniously. Kosmos refers to an ordered system or a system where order prevails, which is amazing as it is used to refer to the world of humanity in general (AS USED IN John 1:29), and needless to say, our present "kosmos" is in 2020 more of a place where disorder prevails!  Although not used in this way in John 1:29, often kosmos is sometimes spoken of as that which is hostile to God, lost in sin, ruined, depraved (John 7:7; 8:23; 12:31; 15:18f; 16:33; 17:25; 18:36; 1 Cor 2:12; 3:19; 11:32; 2 Cor 5:19; Gal 6:14; Js 1:27; 1 Jn 4:17; 5:4f, 19 — See An Out-of-this-World Experience A Look at Kosmos in the Johannine Literature)

Brian Bell - The blood of lambs covered the sins of the Jews Ps.32:1 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered." The blood of Jesus takes away the sins of the world -  Heb.10:4 it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin....Sacrifice examples:

  1. First sacrifice was for the Individual (Adam/Eve; “Tunics of skin”; Ge.3:21+).
  2. Second was for a Family (Passover Lamb; Ex.12).
  3. Third was for the Nation (Day of Atonement; an offering made by fire; Lev.23:27+).
  4. Fourth is for the World (Jesus for the world; Jn.1:29).

Warren Wiersbe notes that the Images John's Gospel gives us - John pictures our Lord’s death as the slaying of the lamb (Jn 1:29), the destroying of a temple (Jn 2:19), the lifting up of a serpent (Jn 3:14), the voluntary death of a shepherd (Jn 10:11–18), and the planting of a seed (Jn 12:20–25).

Related Resources:

THE LAMB OF GOD
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

GENESIS: In the Old Testament, the question is “WHERE IS THE LAMB?” In Genesis 22 God commanded Abraham "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." (Ge 22:2+) On the way to the mountain, Isaac asked his father “Where is the LAMB for the burnt offering?” (Ge 22:7+) to which Abraham replied "God will provide for Himself the LAMB for the burnt offering, my son." (Ge 22:8+). As Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac whom he loved, he “raised his eyes and looked and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of (as a "substitute" for) his son." (Ge 22:13) "Abraham called the name of that place the LORD WILL PROVIDE, (JEHOVAH JIREH) as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided." (Ge 22:14+) JEHOVAH JIREH is more literally "Jehovah will see,” which conveys the idea that Jehovah sees the need before it arises and provides for the need! The Omniscient One sees your need beloved. The amazing God of all grace (1Pe 5:10+) not only foresaw Abraham's need for ”A” lamb, but even more amazing, foresaw our need for “THE” LAMB OF GOD to be our Substitute. And so Paul could testify that “God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works (not because of any “merit” or because we deserved it), but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus from all eternity (Jehovah saw our need for the LAMB OF GOD, even before time began!)” (2Ti 1:9+) Spurgeon writes that we "admire Abraham's giving up his son to God. Much more admire Jehovah's giving up His Son for sinners. Jehovah is the great Provider, and He provides the offering, not only for us, but for Himself, for the sacrifice was necessary to God as well as to man. And it is a burnt offering, not only a sin-offering but an offering of a sweet savor unto Himself."

EXODUS: In Exodus Israel was groaning because of enslavement by Egypt and in great need, a need which Jehovah saw, declaring “I will DELIVER you from bondage. I will REDEEM you with an outstretched arm (In light of the Cross, ponder God's redemption by His “outstretched arm!”) and with great judgments.” (Ex 6:6+) God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt with the blood of a LAMB, instructing Moses “your LAMB shall be an unblemished male a year old…You shall keep it until the 14th day of (Nisan), then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts (vertical motion) and on the lintel (horizontal part of the doorframe) (ponder the application of blood vertically and horizontally – could this foreshadow the Cross?) of the houses in which they eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that same night….it is the LORD'S Passover… For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you." (Exodus 12:5-8,11, 23+) Clearly Christ's death on the Cross was foreshadowed in Exodus 12+ by the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb whose blood was applied to the entry door, for centuries later Paul recorded the inspired words that “Christ our PASSOVER [LAMB] has been sacrificed.” (1Cor 5:7Amplified+) Paul adds that "now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Eph 2:13+ Beloved, may God grant each of us the Spirit's power to “conduct ourselves in (reverent) fear during the time of our (relatively short) stay upon earth, knowing that we were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile (useless in light of eternity) way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with PRECIOUS BLOOD, AS OF A LAMB unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1Peter 1:17-19-note)

Spurgeon comments on the precious blood of the Lamb of God: "Standing at the foot of the Cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is “PRECIOUS” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Christ’s blood is also “PRECIOUS” in its cleansing power; it “cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jn 1:7+) “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isa 1:18+) Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:6KJV+), notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise “PRECIOUS” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “PRECIOUS” also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “PRECIOUS,” unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “They overcame through the BLOOD OF THE LAMB.” (Rev 12:11KJV+, cf 1Jn 5:4-5+) How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!"

ISAIAH: "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (literally "laid on Him with a death-dealing blow"). He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a LAMB that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7+) Centuries later when the Ethiopian Eunuch ask Phillip “of Whom does the prophet Isaiah speak?” “Philip opened his mouth and beginning from (Isaiah 53:7+) he preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:32-35+)

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN: John the Baptist answers the Old Testament question, declaring “Behold the LAMB OF GOD Who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29+). The renowned preacher C H Spurgeon once tested an auditorium in which he was to speak that evening. Stepping into the pulpit, Spurgeon loudly proclaimed, "Behold the lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world." Satisfied with the acoustics, he left and went his way. Unknown to him, there were two men working in the rafters of that large auditorium, neither one a Christian. One of the men was pricked in his conscience by the verse Spurgeon quoted and became a believer later that day! May Spurgeon's experience encourage all of us to boldly, unashamedly proclaim the Gospel of the Lamb, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Ro 1:16+).

THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST: Keep in mind that the most common Name for Jesus in the Revelation is "THE LAMB." (Lamb -29x, Jesus-14x!) After our Lord Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures (1Cor 15:4+), He came into the room in the presence of the 11 disciples, and encouraged Thomas (who was doubting the truth of His resurrection) to “Reach here your finger and see My hands and reach here your hand, and put it into My side and be not unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:27-28+) Those same nail-scarred hands John saw in that room on earth, were the very scars he saw in his glorified Lord's hands in heaven when he testified “I saw between the throne and the elders a LAMB standing, as if SLAIN (The same Greek verb [sphazo] was used to describe the slaughter of the Passover lamb in Ex 12:6!)” (Revelation 5:6+). Spurgeon asks "Why should our exalted Lord appear in His wounds in glory? The wounds of Jesus are His glories, His jewels, His sacred ornaments. Jesus wears the appearance of a SLAIN LAMB as His court dress in which He wooed our souls, and redeemed them by His complete atonement. Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are the trophies of His love and of His victory. He has divided the spoil with the strong. He has redeemed for Himself a great multitude whom no man can number, and these SCARS are the memorials of the fight. Ah! if Christ thus loves to retain the thought of His sufferings for His people, how precious should His wounds be to us!"

In Isaiah Jehovah declared “Behold, I have inscribed (engraved) you on the palms of My hands.” (Isa 49:16+) Spurgeon asks "What are these wounds in Thy hands, these sacred stigmata, these ensigns of suffering? The graver’s tool was the nail, backed by the hammer. He must be fastened to the Cross, that His people might be truly graven on the palms of His hands. There is much consolation here. We know that what a man has won with great pain he will keep with great tenacity. Child of God, you cost Christ too much for Him to forget you." Spurgeon goes on to add "It does not say, “Thy name.” Yes, the name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven THEE.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon His own palms?" See also onsite devotional Inscribed on His Hands).

In the face of such amazing love, how could God ever forget His people? Do you ever feel like He has forgotten you or your difficult circumstances? Then take heart, for He Himself has declared “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Heb 13:5+) and the scars on the Lamb that was slain seal His promise forever! Augustus Toplady spoke of this great truth writing "My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase; Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace. Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n; More happy, but not more secure, then even the glorified spirits in Heav’n." (Hymn: A Debtor to Mercy Alone) As Spurgeon remarks "How loving, then, how full of superlative, super-excellent affection is God toward you and toward me in so recording our names." In view of so great a sacrifice procured by the meek and gentle Lamb of God, let us join now with that heavenly throng singing with a loud voice “Worthy is the LAMB that was SLAIN to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing… To Him who sits on the throne, and to the LAMB, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Revelation 5:12-13+)

THOUGHT: The question in the OT was “WHERE IS THE LAMB?” The answer in the NT is “BEHOLD THE LAMB!” Our cry throughout eternity will be “ WORTHY IS THE LAMB!” (See this charted out below) And all God’s children said “Hallelujah! Amen!

In the mysterious working of God, the LAMB Who died to redeem us and give us new life in Himself is now our SHEPHERD (cf Rev 7:17+) Who ever lives to make us, His SHEEP, lie down in green pastures, to lead us beside still waters, to restore our soul, to guide us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, to walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death, to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies, to anoint our head with oil, to cause our cup to overflow. “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow (us) all the days of (our) life, and (we) will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Ps 23:1-6+)

Father, as we BEHOLD THE LAMB "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8KJV+) and ponder with wonder and awe the REDEMPTION wrought by our REDEEMER’S precious blood, may Your Spirit use this eternal Word of Truth to enable us to daily die to self and lovingly follow the Good Shepherd all the days of our life. Amen

Worship the Lamb singing  MY REDEEMER LIVES - NICOLE C MULLEN

Redemption by
the Lamb of God

The Question in
the Old Testament was...


Where is
the Lamb?

The Answer in
the New Testament is...


Behold
the Lamb!

The Cry throughout eternity is...

Worthy
is the Lamb!

The ram in
the thicket

The Passover
Lamb

The Lamb
of God

Christ our Passover

The Lamb
that was slain

Ge 22:1, 2, 7, 8, 13, 14
Jehovah Jireh: The LORD Will Provide

Ex 12:5, 6, 7, 13, 14+
[Read Ex 12:1-51]
430 yr in Egypt, 30 yr free,
400 in bondage
cp Ex 12:40+ (430)
with Acts 7:6+ (400)

Jn 1:29, 36+
Jn 19:31, 32, 33, 36,
Ps 34:19, 20
(See study of Jehovah Roi - The LORD is my Shepherd)

1Cor 5:7
Isa 53:7+
Acts 8:32, 33, 34, 35+
1 Pe 1:18-19+
1 Pe 2:24+

Jn 20:20, 27
Rev 5:6+
Re 5:12+
Re 19:7, 9+
Re 21:22, 2+
Re 22:1-+
Re 22:3+


Come Let Us Worship
Here I Am to Worship
We Bow Down

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Listen, watch and worship the Lamb of God!
 


The Lamb John 1:29 - Sermon Starters - John Butler

John the Baptist was the herald of Jesus Christ. He, therefore, knew Who Jesus was and proclaimed it without hesitation. Here is a good example, John sees Jesus and tells those about him, Who Jesus is. We note three things about this announcement made by John the Baptist.

FIRST—THE WORTH OF THE LAMB

"Behold." John was watching for Jesus. When he saw Him, it was "Behold." This signifies importance. It speaks of the worth of the Lamb. The Lamb/Jesus is what we need most, for He takes away out sins and brings us eternal life. You may have many needs in your life but none is as great as your soul salvation. And the Lamb of God was provided to bring us soul salvation. Therefore, His worth is impossible to calculate in human terms. To deliver us from eternal hellfire to the glories of eternal heaven make Jesus worth more than anything else. In the final book of the Bible we read, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:12). No one is so worthy as the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

SECOND—THE WORK OF THE LAMB

"Who taketh away the sin of the world." The primary work of Jesus Christ was to "take away the sin of the world." He was a great teacher, healer and example but that was not the main reason He came into the world. The main reason was to provide a way of salvation for sinners via the crucifixion. We note two important things about this crucifixion of the Lamb.

• The way of the Lamb. "Lamb of God." Our text talks about only one Lamb. God only provided One Lamb. There is only one way of salvation (Acts 4:12, I Timothy 2:5). Christ alone is the way of salvation (John 14:6). It is His blood and none other that brings redemption (I Peter 1:18, 19).
• The world for the Lamb. "World." Christ is able to save anyone in the world. We do not need to incorporate other religions of the world into the Gospel message. It is Christ or eternal damnation. He is the only Savior for the entire world.

THIRD—THE WANTING OF THE LAMB

"Lamb." Many folk in Jesus day, like many in every day, really did not want a Lamb. They wanted a Lion. One day Jesus will come back to earth as the "Lion" (Revelation 5:5). The Lion will conquer and rule the world. But before the Lion comes the Lamb. The sin problem must be dealt with first. Many folk want to conquer people, not passions; they want position, prestige, and possessions, not purity. They want earthly power not spiritual power and so reject the Lamb which takes away their sin and makes the Lion part possible. Before Jesus is our Sovereign, He must first be our Savior.


Ian Paisley - A Text A Day Keeps the Devil Away - The Lamb of God in Scripture 

       "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." I Peter 1:19

The Bible gives us seven pictures of the Lamb of God.

I. The Lamb Specified
"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." (Genesis 22:8).
"Where is the Lamb," cried Isaac. Abraham replied "God shall provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering." Note three things about the specified lamb. 1, Of God's provision; 2, For God Himself; 3, For the fire of sacrifice—a burnt offering.

II. The Lamb Typified
"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house." (Exodus 12:3).
Christ is the Passover Lamb sacrificed for us.

III. The Lamb Personified
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)
The Person of the Son of God is the Lamb of God.

IV. The Lamb Identified
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world... And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptise with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost... And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." (John 1:29, 33, 34).
Here is the dearest possible identification of the Lamb of God.

V. The Lamb Crucified
"But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (I Peter 1:19)
O the Bleeding Lamb! O the Bleeding Lamb! He was found worthy!

VI. The Lamb Glorified
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (Revelation 5:6).
A Slain lamb standing in the midst of God's Everlasting Throne. What glory is this. Ah, the Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel's Land,

VII. The Lamb Satisfied
"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27).
The Lamb will bring every son of God to heaven and satisfy them and Himself in the Paradise of God. Those in the Lamb's book of life will partake forever of the Lamb's water of life.


James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose -  JOHN’S TESTIMONY OF CHRIST JOHN 1:29–34

      “Who follows in His train?
    Who best can drink His cup of woe
      Triumphant over pain;
    Who patient bears His cross below,
      He follows in His train.”
—Heber.

“Coming events cast their shadows before them.” The coming of the solitary and suffering Christ was foreshadowed by the appearing of the solitary and suffering Baptist. John’s confession of himself prepared the way for his testimony of his Lord: “I am not the Christ;” “I am not Elias.” “I am the voice of Him who is the Word of God,” crying, “Make straight the way of the Lord” (vv. 19–23). It is needful that we should know ourselves if we would bear a true testimony for Christ. He who said, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me,” also said, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” In these verses John tells us seven things about the Lord Jesus Christ, unto which we may well give heed. Observe that—

I. He is the Lamb of God (v. 29). God’s chosen Lamb to bear away the sin of the world, to which all the sacrifices of the old dispensation pointed. It was then “a lamb for an house,” it is now a Lamb for a world (1 John 2:2). The Lamb of God was God’s manifestation of his own meekness and submissiveness to the awful necessity of Divine suffering for the atonement of sin. This is the Lamb who, in the purpose of God, was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). If it was needful that “your lamb shall be without blemish,” it is certainly so of His. The Blood of Christ shed upon the Cross is a token to the whole world of God’s willingness to “pass over,” in forgiving grace, all who believe in Him (Exod. 12; 1 John 4:10).

II. He was Before Me (v. 30). Yes, a long time before John, for He is “before all things.” Although John was conscious that he was the forerunner of Christ, he was conscious also of the deeper truth that Christ was before him, as a father is before his son. John’s ministry was of God’s appointment, but only because of the greater ministry of His Son. It is easy for us to believe that Christ was before us, but how easy it also is for us to forget that we are called to be His servants, by virtue of this fact.

III. He is Preferred Before Me (v. 30). “A man which is become before me (R.V.). In all things He must have the pre-eminence. The Lamb of God must ever stand in the front of all our purposes, as He does in the forefront of all God’s plans and purposes. When a servant of Christ becomes more anxious to get himself than his Master into the place of eminence before the people, he has begun to play the traitor. God prefers His Son above all His servants, therefore let not the servant insult Him by preferring himself.

IV. He would be Made Manifest to Israel (v. 31). The Paschal lamb was laid up on the tenth day of the month, and manifested on the fourteenth (Exod. 12). There were three stages in the manifestation of the Lamb of God: (1) His Baptism; (2) His Transfiguration; (3) His Crucifixion. In the first we have the proof of His Divine mission; in the second we have a revelation of His blameless character as a Lamb; in the third we have the accomplishment of His substitutionary work as a sin offering.

V. He is the Anointed One. “I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him” (v. 32). The dove-like Spirit came from an “opened Heaven,” and was accompanied with the assuring voice: “Thou art My beloved Son” (Matt. 3; Luke 3). Him did God the Father seal unto that day of redemption, accomplished on Calvary’s Cross. With the Holy Spirit there came the Divine attesting voice. Whenever the holy anointing comes, the voice of God must be distinctly heard. With Pentecost came the tongues of fire. Every baptism of the Holy Spirit will be followed with the testimony of God. “Ye shall be witnesses unto me when the power of the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

VI. He is the Baptiser with the Holy Ghost. “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending … the same is He which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost” (v. 33). John bears emphatic witness to the two great aspects of Christ’s work: (1) He shall take away sin; (2) He shall baptise with the Holy Ghost. The one is the correlative of the other. We have the same ground for expecting Christ to baptise us with the Holy Ghost as that He should take away our sins. Surely these are two distinct experiences, and ought to be definitely enjoyed by each believer in Jesus. Pentecost is the counterpart of Calvary.
VII. He is the Son of God. “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (v. 34, R.V.). As the Lamb, He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; as the Son, He is almighty to save. John was a man sent from God, that He might bear witness that He is the Son of God, so that Israel, as a nation, may recognise Him as the promised Messiah. It was as “the Son of God” that Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Because He is the Son of God, with power, He is well able to fulfil every promise He has made. “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).


Behold the Lamb - Bob Gass

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  (John 1:29)

When Adam sinned, God took a lamb and shed its blood to cover his sin. That day the principle of substitution was established: “The just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18). God told Noah to take two of each unclean animal, but seven of each clean animal, so that there would be a blood sacrifice when the world started again. In the Old Testament tabernacle, God arranged the furniture (the altar, the laver, the mercy seat, etc.) in the shape of a cross: four pieces down and three pieces across. Then He told Moses to sprinkle each piece with the blood of a lamb. For 1,400 years God looked down and saw a blood-stained cross in the midst of His people. How wonderful!

But one day John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Did you hear that? Not just the sin of an individual or a family or a nation—but the sin of the whole world! That includes you and me. Listen: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

TODAY HE’S WAITING TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR SINS;
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CALL ON HIM—HE’LL DO THE REST!


Billy Apostolon -  THE LAMB OF GOD John 1:29

 I.      THE LAMB PROPHESIED.
      1.      Moses prophesied concerning Him; Gen. 3:15; Num. 24:17.
      2.      Isaiah prophesied concerning Him; Isa. 53:4–12.
      3.      Jeremiah prophesied concerning Him; Jer. 23:5, 6.

II.      THE LAMB TYPIFIED.
      1.      He was typified by the Ark; Gen. 6:14.
      2.      He was typified by the Brazen Serpent; Num. 21:9.
      3.      He was typified by the Passover Lamb; Ex. 12:3–10.

III.      THE LAMB PERSONIFIED.
      1.      His conception was by the Holy Spirit; Luke 1:34, 35.
      2.      His body was prepared by the Father; Heb. 10:5.
      3.      His birth was by the Virgin Mary; Luke 2:7.

IV.      THE LAMB MAGNIFIED.
      1.      He had power over disease; Mark 1:31.
      2.      He had power over devils; Mark 9:25–27.
      3.      He had power over death; Mark 5:41.

V.      THE LAMB DESPISED.
      1.      He was despised by Herod; Matt. 2:8, 16.
      2.      He was despised by the Jews; John 1:11; 19:14, 15; Matt. 27:41–43.
      3.      He was despised by the governor’s soldiers; Matt. 27:27–31.

VI.      THE LAMB CRUCIFIED.
      1.      The blood of Christ atones; 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
      2.      The blood of Christ preserves; Rom. 3:25.
      3.      The blood of Christ is sufficient; Heb. 2:9.

VII.      THE LAMB GLORIFIED.
      1.      He was glorified to become our High Priest; Heb. 8:1.
      2.      He was glorified to become our Advocate; 1 John 2:1.
      3.      He was glorified to offer salvation; Heb. 7:25.

John 1:30  "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'

BGT  John 1:30 οὗτός ἐστιν ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον· ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται ἀνὴρ ὃς ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν.

NET  John 1:30 This is the one about whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is greater than I am, because he existed before me.'

NLT  John 1:30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, 'A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'

ESV  John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.'

NIV  John 1:30 This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

GNT  John 1:30 οὗτός ἐστιν ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον, Ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται ἀνὴρ ὃς ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν.

KJV  John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

YLT  John 1:30 this is he concerning whom I said, After me doth come a man, who hath come before me, because he was before me:

ASV  John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is become before me: for he was before me.

CSB  John 1:30 This is the One I told you about: 'After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.'

NKJ  John 1:30 "This is He of whom I said,`After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'

NRS  John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'

NAB  John 1:30 He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'

NJB  John 1:30 It was of him that I said, "Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because he existed before me."

GWN  John 1:30 He is the one I spoke about when I said, 'A man who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.'

Related Passages:

John 1:15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”

John 1:27 “It is He Who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

This is He on behalf of whom I said - This is He refers to the prior verses and once emphasizes John's absolute laser-like focus of lifting up his Lord. "John never grew weary of reminding people that he was only preparing the way for Someone greater than himself who was coming." (MacDonald) And beloved, neither should we grow weary of proclaiming the One greater! 

Matthew Henry on of whom I saidHe refers to what he had himself said of him before: This is He of Whom I said. Note, Those who have said the most honourable things of Christ will never see cause to unsay them; but the more they know Him the more they are confirmed in their esteem of Him. John still thinks as meanly of himself, and as highly of Christ, as ever.

Regarding this is He recall the prophecy of Balaam in Numbers 24:17+I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A Star (MESSIAH) shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth." As Matthew Henry says "This honour John had above all the prophets, that, whereas they spoke of him as one that should come, he saw him already come. Such a difference there is between present faith and future vision. Now we love one whom we have not seen then we shall see him whom our souls love, shall see him, and say, This is he of whom I said, my Christ, and my all, my beloved, and my friend."

Merrill Tenney has an interesting note on Man - The Greek term anēr is introduced here; it means “man” with emphasis on maleness—an emphasis that is lost in the more generic anthrōpos. This use of anēr intimates the headship of Christ over his followers in the sense of the man-woman relationship in marriage (TDNT, 2:563). (EBC)

After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me - This is the third time in this opening chapter (especially verse 15 - "‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”) that the Baptist emphasizes Jesus' preeminence and priority. After me is another way for John to say he was only the forerunner, the voice crying in the wilderness, pointing the Jews to the "main attraction," Christ Jesus.  And for the most part, Jesus' actual ministry came after John's preparatory ministry. Notice that he affirms both the humanity (a Man) and deity (existed before me). John existed in the womb 6 months before Jesus (Lk 1:36+), and yet John says Jesus existed before him. John was created in time. Jesus was the Creator of time (and John!) Jesus would later affirm His preexistence declaring "before Abraham was, I Am (Ego Eimi - as in Lxx of Ex 3:14+ description of Jehovah). (Jn 8:58) Note also that Jesus is call God in Jn 1:1-2 and here is called Man. He is the God-Man. (Related Resource: Does the Bible support the pre-existence of Jesus? | GotQuestions.org

John MacArthur - John was created. Jesus’ higher rank was infinite. He was the One who created everything (John 1:1–3), including John. Though John was actually born before Jesus, Jesus existed before him. 

John was the the "rising star," the personality that Jerusalem was going out to see (Mt 3:5+), but he says Jesus had the higher rank. Can you see the humility of John? He was content for Jesus to receive higher status. John clearly knew that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, God in the flesh. 

Matthew Henry - Those who have said the most honourable things of Christ will never see cause to unsay them but the more they know him the more they are confirmed in their esteem of him. John still thinks as meanly of himself, and as highly of Christ, as ever.

THOUGHT -  This is true humility, the basis for greatness in preaching, teaching, or any other work we do for Christ. When you are content to do what God wants you to do and let Jesus Christ be honored for it, God will do great things through you. (LASB)

John 1:31  "I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."

BGT  John 1:31 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ Ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον ἐγὼ ἐν ὕδατι βαπτίζων.

NET  John 1:31 I did not recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel."

NLT  John 1:31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel."

ESV  John 1:31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."

NIV  John 1:31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

GNT  John 1:31 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ Ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον ἐγὼ ἐν ὕδατι βαπτίζων.

KJV  John 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

YLT  John 1:31 and I knew him not, but, that he might be manifested to Israel, because of this I came with the water baptizing.

ASV  John 1:31 And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water.

CSB  John 1:31 I didn't know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel."

NKJ  John 1:31 "I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."

NRS  John 1:31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel."

NAB  John 1:31 I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."

NJB  John 1:31 I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptise with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.'

GWN  John 1:31 I didn't know who he was. However, I came to baptize with water to show him to the people of Israel."

  • I did not recognize Him: Joh 1:33 Lu 1:80 2:39-42 
  • but: Joh 1:7 Isa 40:3-5 Mal 3:1 4:2-5 Lu 1:17,76-79 
  • I came baptizing in water: Mt 3:6 Mk 1:3-5 Lu 3:3,4 Ac 19:4
  • Map of ministry of John the Baptist
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Related Passages: 

Mark 1:7-12 (see commentary) And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  12 Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.

COMMENT: Notice the sequence - Jesus is baptized by John. The Spirit descends on Him. The Father declares He is His beloved Son. The Trinity is manifest. Jesus immediately leaves for 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. As stated previously, all of these events preceded the Baptist's testimony about Jesus in John chapter 1. 


John the Baptist Preaches "Repent"

MESSIAH TO BE
MANIFESTED TO ISRAEL

I did not recognize Him - The Baptist repeats this in Jn 1:33. John is now going back in time, to the time when he did not know Who Jesus was. John is not saying he had never met Jesus because he had in one sense "met" Him when Mary visited "the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby (FUTURE JOHN THE BAPTIST) leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.(Lk 1:40-41+). However "Whether John knew Jesus personally before the baptism we do not know." (Robertson) So in what sense did John not recognize Jesus? The context helps us understand in what sense John did not recognize Jesus, for at His baptism he saw the Spirit descending as a dove and remaining upon Jesus and then fully understood that this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. In short he came to understand that Jesus was the Messiah. 

As Spurgeon said "The secret sign of the descent of the Spirit, in dovelike form, upon our Lord, was given to John; and as soon as he saw it, he knew of a surety that Jesus was the Sent One, the Messiah, and that he must point him out to the people." 

Robertson - He had predicted the Messiah and described him before he met him and baptized him. 

Gilbrant explains "What John was saying was that he had not recognized Jesus for what He was. Knowing Christ for who He is is a work of the Holy Spirit. The recognition of who Christ was was not to be John's alone." (Complete Biblical Library – John) 

But so that (purpose clause) - What is one purpose of John's baptizing? John now gives us the purpose. 

He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water - The point the Baptist makes here is that one of the purposes of his baptizing ministry was that the Messiah would be publicly identified. John does not record the baptism of Jesus for it happened several weeks prior and was followed by Jesus 40 days temptation. 

Mark 1:5+ describes John's work "And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins." 

Might be manifested (disclosed, revealed) (5319)(phaneroo from phanerós = manifest, visible, conspicuous in turn from phaino = give light; become visible in turn from phos = light) is literally "to bring to light" and primarily means "to make visible" or to cause to become visible. The basic meaning of phaneroo is to make known, to clearly reveal, to manifest (see Vine's below), to cause to be seen or to make something clear. Wuest - It was the invisible God Who in the Person of His Son was made visible to human eyesight by assuming a human body and human limitations." A person may “appear” in a false guise or without a disclosure of what he truly is; to be manifested is to be revealed in one’s true character; this is especially the meaning of phaneroo.

COMMENT - John's Gospel uses phaneroo 8x, more than all other Gospels combined - Jn. 1:31; Jn. 2:11 = manifested His glory; Jn. 3:21 = so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God; Jn. 7:4 = show Yourself to the world.; Jn. 9:3 = so that the works of God might be displayed in him.; Jn. 17:6 = I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me; Jn. 21:1 =  After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples; Jn. 21:14 = the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples

Baptizing (present tense = continually baptizing)(907) see baptizo

John 1:32  John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.

BGT  John 1:32 Καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων ὅτι τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν.

NET  John 1:32 Then John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.

NLT  John 1:32 Then John testified, "I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him.

ESV  John 1:32 And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

NIV  John 1:32 Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.

GNT  John 1:32 Καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων ὅτι Τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν.

KJV  John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

YLT  John 1:32 And John testified, saying -- 'I have seen the Spirit coming down, as a dove, out of heaven, and it remained on him;

ASV  John 1:32 And John bare witness, saying, I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him.

CSB  John 1:32 And John testified, "I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him.

NKJ  John 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

NRS  John 1:32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

NAB  John 1:32 John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.

NJB  John 1:32 And John declared, 'I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him.

GWN  John 1:32 John said, "I saw the Spirit come down as a dove from heaven and stay on him.

Related Passages: 

Matthew 3:13-17+ Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.

Luke 3:21-22+  Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.

Mark 1:10+ Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;


John Baptism of Jesus

SURE SIGN OF SPIRIT
SETTLING ON SAVIOR

John testified saying - The Baptist fulfilled his purpose as the Forerunner and repeatedly testified about Jesus (witnessed, gave testimony) in John 1:7, 15, 19, 29, 35, 36. 

Testified (witnessed) (3140) see note on martureo

I have seen - This is the Baptist's affidavit to which he solemnly attests. Vincent says have seen "denotes calm, continuous contemplation of an object which remains before the spectator" and thus means "calmly and thoughtfully" saw the Spirit descending, adding that the perfect tense signifies "the abiding effect of the vision." "John is not writing of something that he saw once and that soon passed away, but of something that had continuing effects." (L. Morris) Barclay adds "As the fathers of the church saw centuries ago, it was something which only the eye of the mind and soul could see. But John saw it and was convinced." (Commentary)

Hendricksen - what John saw was the visible manifestation of the anointing of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. This anointing, as the references indicate, includes two elements: a. that the Mediator was ordained by God for his specific task, and b. that he was qualified to carry it out. (BNTC-Jn)

F B Meyer rightly points out the analogy - “What this scene was in the life of the Lord, Pentecost was for the Church. Then she was anointed for her divine mission among men; the unction of the Holy One rested upon her, to be continued and renewed as the centuries slowly passed.” (From "Behold My Servant" Isaiah 42:1)

Have seen (2300)(theaomai from tháomai = to wonder) means to have an attentive look, to have regard for something, to contemplate, to take in with one's eyes (implying that one is impressed by what he sees - see use in Mt 22:11). Theaomai implies an intent contemplative gaze. The point is that it is not a mere glance or quick look, but a long, searching gaze (e.g., Lk 23:55), an intelligent beholding, a "careful and deliberate vision which interprets its object" (G. Abbott-Smith). It means to gaze at a show or demonstration or to watch as in a theater. (thus giving us the origin of our English "theater"). Theaomai is used in Jn 1:14, Jn 1:32, Jn 1:38. 

The Spirit descending (katabaino) as a dove out of heaven - Note John is speaking in the past tense describing not a "vision" but something that he literally, actually beheld. This is the Baptist's testimony. He tells us what he had actually seen with his own eyes, which was the sign described in Jn 1:33. This is the first mention of the Spirit in John. How did John see the Spirit? As a dove is a term of comparisonAs is specifically a simile and in this case describes the Spirit as visible in some sort of bodily representation. Clearly the normally invisible Spirit of God manifested Himself in some way as a dove so that John would recognize Him. And he also had the auditory revelation from the Father that Jesus was His Beloved Son (Mt 3:17+; Lk 3:22+)

The question is what is the significance of the Spirit descending upon Jesus? Did Jesus not have the Spirit indwelling Him? Of course He did, for Jesus always had the Spirit. So while there may be several answers, one that strikes me is that this event presents a pattern for believers to live a supernatural life. Spurgeon affirmed that “It was the Spirit of God Who gave success to Jesus Christ’s ministry.” In short, the descending of the Spirit on Jesus demonstrates that from the outset of His public ministry Jesus is giving us His pattern of perfect reliance on the empowering presence of the Spirit to fulfill ministry. As discussed below, for believers to successively fulfill the "good works" ministry that God has pre-prepared for them in Christ Jesus (read Eph 2:10+, cf 2 Ti 2:21+), they need to learn the secret of relying wholly on the Holy Spirit! 

Descending (2597)(katabaino rom kata = down + baino = go, step) literally means to step down and so to move down or descend. Descending is the opposite of "ascending" ("coming out of the water"). 

Peter alluded to Jesus' baptism in a passage which summarizes the inauguration and enablement of His earthly ministry declaring...

You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (REFERRING TO JOHN'S BAPTISM OF JESUS AND THE SPIRIT DESCENDING) and with power (dunamis), and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (THE SPIRIT FILLED HIM, cf Lk 4:1+). 39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. (Acts 10:37-41+)

Comment Anointed in Acts 10:38 is chrio which means to consecrate/set apart for sacred work as by unction. The idea is to assign a person to task, with implication of supernatural sanctions, blessing, and endowment. And so fittingly Jesus is also given the title of Christos (from chrio), also called the Messiah - Anointed One.  John uses the related word chrisma describing the believer's anointing in 1 John 2:20+ and 1 John 2:27+ which in context refers to our "anointing" with the Holy Spirit, this "anointing" occurring the moment we were regenerated by grace through faith. Have you ever considered yourself to be an anointed saint? You are! See interesting CARM.org article 1 John 2:27, You are anointed of God and here is a brief quote to "wet your appetite" - "It is this anointing that opens your mind, teaches you, guides you, calls you to pray, empowers you, and enables you to be stronger Christians, more powerful Christians. Not just people who are saved, but people who are saved, indwelt, and empowered." 

In the schematic below Jesus came (incarnation and first 30 years basically in seclusion) and then came to the Jordan to inaugurate His 3 year public ministry (not specifically shown). The Spirit coming upon Jesus in essence "anointed" Him with the Spirit and with power to successfully carry out his 3 year ministry. Here was the perfect Man presenting us with the perfect pattern to imitate, even as John says "the one who says he abides in Him (CHRIST) ought  (MUST) himself walk (LIVE) in the same manner as He walked."(1 Jn 2:6+). How did Jesus walk these 3 years? Filled with the Spirit (cf Lk 4:1+) and with the power of the Spirit (Lk 4:14+). And so just as Jesus' relied wholly on the Holy Spirit for His supernatural ministry, so too all believers must rely on the same Spirit and same power (Acts 1:8+) to live a supernatural life for the glory of God. Note in the schematic when Jesus left (ascension after crucifixion and resurrection), He sent the promise of the Spirit from the Father (Lk 24:49+, cf Jn 14:16-17, Jn 15:26, Jn 16:7, Acts 2:33+) which was dramatically demonstrated at the Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4ff+. Subsequently the reception of the Spirit and power is the experience of every believer at the moment of conversion (cf Ro 8:9+, 1 Cor 12:13). See more discussion of this critically important Biblical truth - The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked! and A Spirit Filled Church

THOUGHT - Are you trying to live the Christian life in your own (old) natural power, or the Spirit's (new) supernatural power? Are you attempting to fulfill your ministry in your power or in reliance on His power? The former leads to utter futility, the latter to unbelievable fruitfulness!


Click chart to enlarge

Related Resource:

Robertson makes an interesting point that "we know that he recognized Jesus as Messiah when he came for baptism before the Holy Spirit came (Read Mt. 3:14-16+). But this sight of the Spirit descending as a dove upon Jesus at his baptism (Mk 1:10=Matt. 3:16=Luke 3:22) became permanent proof to him." (Bolding added) Comment - It appears that God fully revealed Jesus as the Messiah through this prearranged sign.

THOUGHT- The point is that Jesus' true identity as Messiah and Son of God was not discerned by John naturally by his intelligence but was revealed to him supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, even as in the case of Peter in Mt 16:17 when Jesus declared "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven." And the same is true of all believers of all ages -- the revelation of Jesus Christ is supernatural not natural. One can know about Jesus intellectually but sadly never know Him experientially until the Spirit opens the eyes of one's heart (cf Mt 7:21-23+). Do you know Jesus personally? Or do you just know about Him? The former brings eternal life, while the latter eternal death. Do not be deceived by "religion" about Jesus but seek "relation" with Jesus by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9+, Ro 10:9-10+). 

Vincent on as a dove -  In the form of a dove, and not, as some interpret, referring merely to the manner of the descent—swiftly and gently as a dove (compare Luke 3:22+ “In a bodily form, as a dove”). The dove was an ancient symbol of purity and innocence, adopted by our Lord in Mt 10:16. It was the only bird allowed to be offered in sacrifice by the Levitical law. In Christian art it is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and that in his Old Testament manifestations as well as in those of the New Testament. (WSNT)

Robertson - The Semites regarded the dove as a symbol of the Spirit." (Note however that C. K. Barrett does not agree the dove was considered by the Jews as a symbol of the Holy Spirit).

William Barclay on dove - In Palestine the dove was a sacred bird. It was not hunted and it was not eaten. Philo noticed the number of doves at Ascalon, because it was not permitted to catch and kill them, and they were tame. In Genesis 1:2 we read of the creative Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. The Rabbis used to say that the Spirit of God moved and fluttered like a dove over the ancient chaos breathing order and beauty into it. The picture of the dove was one which the Jews knew and loved.

Robertson - this sight of the Spirit descending as a dove upon Jesus at his baptism (Mark 1:10=Matt. 3:16=Luke 3:22) became permanent proof to him. John’s allusion assumes the Synoptic record. The Semites regarded the dove as a symbol of the Spirit. (WPNT)

And He remained upon Him - Remained is in the present tense signifying He continually remained upon Jesus Visibly? There is nothing in the NT which would suggest that Jesus walked around with a halo or an aura or a dove-like glow over His head (compare "tongues as of fire" in Acts 2:3+ which certainly did not remain on the Spirit baptized disciples). The idea is that the Spirit's abiding presence was with the Man Jesus, continually empowering His ministry.  This is one of those divine mysteries that we should be careful to not do too much speculation. John saw something indicative of the Spirit and tells us he saw it and that is enough. Perhaps one day in Heaven we will have a further clarification, but for now this truth is enough. God said it, so we believe it, whether we can fully comprehend it or not. 

Don't be confused by this passage. Jesus ALWAYS had the Holy Spirit, for Jesus was God even as babe and as a young boy. So from the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah to the NT passage in Revelation, Jesus ALWAYS had the Spirit. 

Lenski on Jesus' baptism - The truth is: no new relation was established; what happened was an act of God, that great act by which he inaugurated Jesus into his mighty office of Prophet, High Priest, and King....We are not told what became visible when the heavens were suddenly opened as we are told in the cases of Ezekiel and of Stephen. We may say that the heavenly glory became visible, and that Jesus, John, and any others who were present beheld its radiance (cf Jn 1:32-34) (The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel)

In Isaiah 11:2+ we read "The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him (MESSIAH), The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD."  Rev 3:1+ describes Jesus "Who has the seven Spirits of God" where "Seven Spirits" refers to the Holy Spirit. (cf Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 61:1+, Lk 4:18,19+)

The descending of the Spirit in a sense fulfills the prophecy uttered by Isaiah... 

Isaiah 11:2+ - The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him (MESSIAH - Lxx = anapauo used figuratively here of the Spirit's resting in place, remaining -- anapauo is used in this same sense in 1 Pe 4:14+), The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  (Isaiah's point is that that He would be supernaturally energized by the Spirit!)

Isaiah 61:1+ - The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me (MESSIAH), Because the LORD has anointed Me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; (Quoted in Luke 4:18+)

COMMENT - Note here the Spirit upon Messiah is paralleled with His anointing.

Isaiah 42:1 - “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. 

NET NOTE - Isaiah 42:1–7 contain the first of Isaiah's "servant songs," which describe the ministry of a special, ideal servant who accomplishes God's purposes for Israel and the nations. This song depicts the servant as a just king who brings justice to the earth and relief for the oppressed. 

Leon Morris on remained - "The verb is emeinen, aorist of meno, a characteristic word of this Evangelist, here denoting the beginning of the Spirit’s permanent dwelling in Jesus and the inception of the new order: the whole of Jesus’ ministry is accomplished in the power of the Spirit." (NICNT-Jn)

Remained (continued, stayed) (3306)(meno) in simple terms means to remain in the same place or position over a period of time. It means to reside, stay, live, lodge, tarry or dwell. Menō describes something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures. Meno can mean "to take up permanent residence." More than one half of the uses of meno are by John in his Gospel and letters. One of the greatest is Jesus instruction in John 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides (meno) in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (OF ETERNAL VALUE)."

NET Note - John says the Spirit remained on Jesus. The Greek verb meno is a favorite Johannine word, used 40 times in the Gospel and 27 times in the Epistles (67 together) against 118 times total in the NT. The general significance of the verb meno for John is to express the permanency of relationship between Father and Son and Son and believer. Here the use of the word implies that Jesus permanently possesses the Holy Spirit, and because He does, He will dispense the Holy Spirit to others in baptism (Jn 16:7, Acts 2:33+). 

Meno used 67 times by John - Jn. 1:32; Jn. 1:33; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 1:39; Jn. 2:12; Jn. 3:36; Jn. 4:40; Jn. 5:38; Jn. 6:27; Jn. 6:56; Jn. 7:9; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 8:35; Jn. 9:41; Jn. 10:40; Jn. 11:6; Jn. 11:54; Jn. 12:24; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 12:46; Jn. 14:10; Jn. 14:17; Jn. 14:25; Jn. 15:4; Jn. 15:5; Jn. 15:6; Jn. 15:7; Jn. 15:9; Jn. 15:10; Jn. 15:16; Jn. 19:31; Jn. 21:22; Jn. 21:23; 1 Jn. 2:6; 1 Jn. 2:10; 1 Jn. 2:14; 1 Jn. 2:17; 1 Jn. 2:19; 1 Jn. 2:24; 1 Jn. 2:27; 1 Jn. 2:28; 1 Jn. 3:6; 1 Jn. 3:9; 1 Jn. 3:14; 1 Jn. 3:15; 1 Jn. 3:17; 1 Jn. 3:24; 1 Jn. 4:12; 1 Jn. 4:13; 1 Jn. 4:15; 1 Jn. 4:16; 2 Jn. 1:2; 2 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 17:10


Matt Slick has an interesting thought regarding why Jesus received the baptism of John asking "Have you ever wondered why Jesus was baptized into John's baptism of repentance?

  1. Some say it was to identify with us; there is much truth in that.
  2. Others say it was to be an example; there is also much truth there, too.
  3. Probably the main reason that Jesus was baptized was because it was at His baptism that He began His ministry and entered into the Melchizedek priesthood so He could become the High Priest and be the Holy Sacrifice.
    1. Amos 3:7 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets."
    2. Exodus 29:1,4-7+ "This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests:... (after offering a blood sacrifice) 4 Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. 5 Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breast piece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. 6 Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred diadem to the turban. 7 Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head" (NIV).
    3. Numbers 4:3 "Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting" (NIV).
      1. So Jesus was probably 30 years old when He began His ministry (ED: Lk 3:23+) . (Carm.org Reference)

HERETICAL ERROR - Robertson says "The Cerinthian Gnostics took the dove to mean the heavenly aeon Christ that here descended upon the man Jesus and remained with him till the Cross when it left him, a sort of forecast of the modern distinction between the Jesus of history and the theological Christ." Hiebert adds "Cerinthus (c. A.D. 100), a late contemporary of John the Apostle at Ephesus, separated Jesus from Christ. He taught that the “Christ spirit” came upon the man Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary, at his baptism and empowered his ministry but left him before his crucifixion; it was only the man Jesus who died and rose again. Cerinthus thus rejected the doctrine of the incarnation and consequently obliterated the Christian doctrine of the atonement."


Question:  Why is the dove often used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit?

Answer: All four Gospel accounts refer to the baptism of Jesus by John at the Jordan River (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). Luke says, “And the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily shape, like a dove on Him.” Because the Holy Spirit is just that—spirit—He is not visible to us. On this occasion, however, the Spirit took on a visible appearance and was doubtless seen by the people. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16), and the form of the dove at Jesus’ baptism signified that the Spirit with which Jesus was endowed was one of holiness and innocence.

Another symbol involving the dove comes from the account of the Flood and Noah’s ark in Genesis 6-8. When the earth had been covered with water for some time, Noah wanted to check to see if there was dry land anywhere, so he sent out a dove from the ark; the dove came back with an olive branch in her beak (Genesis 8:11). Since that time, the olive branch has been a symbol of peace. Symbolically, the story of Noah’s dove tells us that God declared peace with mankind after the Flood had purged the earth of its wickedness. The dove represented His Spirit bringing the good news of the reconciliation of God and man. Of course, this was only a temporal reconciliation, because lasting, spiritual reconciliation with God only comes through Jesus Christ. But it is significant that the Holy Spirit was pictured as a dove at Jesus’ baptism, thereby once again symbolizing peace with God.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit assumed the form of “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3) to signify the miraculous power of the apostles’ message and their radically changed lives. The Spirit’s appearance as the dove at Jesus’ baptism symbolizes the gentle Savior bringing peace to mankind through His sacrifice. (GotQuestions.org)

John 1:33  "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'

BGT  John 1:33 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι εἶπεν· ἐφ᾽ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ.

NET  John 1:33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining– this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

NLT  John 1:33 I didn't know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, 'The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'

ESV  John 1:33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

NIV  John 1:33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'

GNT  John 1:33 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι εἶπεν, Ἐφ᾽ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ.

KJV  John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

YLT  John 1:33 and I did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water, He said to me, On whomsoever thou mayest see the Spirit coming down, and remaining on him, this is he who is baptizing with the Holy Spirit;

ASV  John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.

CSB  John 1:33 I didn't know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on-- He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

NKJ  John 1:33 "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me,`Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

NRS  John 1:33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

NAB  John 1:33 I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.'

NJB  John 1:33 I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit."

GWN  John 1:33 I didn't know who he was. But God, who sent me to baptize with water, had told me, 'When you see the Spirit come down and stay on someone, you'll know that person is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

  • I did not recognize Him: Joh 1:31 Mt 3:13-15 
  • He who sent me to baptize in water said to me: John 3:5,34 Mt 3:11,14 Mk 1:7,8 Lu 3:16 Luke 24:49 Acts 1:4-5 Acts 2:1-4 Acts 10:44-47 Acts 11:15,16 19:2-6 1Co 12:13 Titus 3:5,6 
  • Map of ministry of John the Baptist
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SIGN OF THE SPIRIT
PROMISED

Related Passages:

Luke 24:49+ (JESUS PREDICTS THE BAPTISM AND GIVES THE PLACE IT WILL OCCUR) “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (JERUSALEM) until you are clothed with power (dunamis) from on high (NOTE SPIRIT IS EQUATED WITH POWER - cf Acts 1:8+).”

Acts 1:4-5+  (JESUS PREDICTS THE BAPTISM AND GIVES THE TIMING OF WHEN IT WILL OCCUR) Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

Acts 2:1-4+  (THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT TAKES PLACE IN JERUSALEM) When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place (IN JERUSALEM). 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like (Term of comparisonsimile) a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire (Term of comparisonsimile) distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 

I did not recognize Him - The Baptist repeats Jn 1:31+ "I did not recognize Him." As explained, John did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah until he baptized Him as explained in this passage. 

But He Who sent me to baptize in water said to me - Who sent John to baptize in water? By implication this must refer to God the Father's directive to John. 

He upon Whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him - This is divine revelation. Note that the Baptist gives a clear testimony regarding the Trinity (He Who sent = Father; He upon Whom = Jesus; The Spirit descending). The Trinity is a mystery but it is a true mystery! Passages such as this strongly refute the dangerous, deadly false teaching of Oneness Pentecostalism (Jesus Only) See also resources below

THOUGHT - Just as the Baptist could not know Jesus unless the Spirit revealed Him to John, so too we as spiritually blinded sinners cannot know or recognize Jesus unless the Spirit opens the eyes of our heart, the spiritual eyes as He did Lydia in Acts 16:14+

This is the One Who baptizes in the Holy Spirit - This sums up Jesus' ministry for He came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10+). In order for one to be baptized with the Spirit, He must first believe in the Savior, so they are intimately, integrally related. Note that the critical point is that one is baptized in the Spirit, not that he or she is baptized in water. The former is a supernatural work, while the latter is a human work and no one will be saved by their works! (Titus 3:5+; see also  Is baptism necessary for salvation?).  See "Related Passages" above.

John's baptism was literally in water, whereas Jesus' baptism is figuratively in the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit in Acts 2:1-4 on the Day of Pentecost resulted in the birth of the Church. All believers since that time have been baptized with the Spirit the moment they place their faith in Jesus. (See below for further explanation of baptism in/with the Holy Spirit) As an aside the question often arises as to whether those being baptized by John were genuinely saved? The short answer is not necessarily. See explanations.

Mattoon  on baptizes - This word was used of clothes that were dipped in dye. It was used to describe a ship that was submerged beneath the waves of the sea or of a person that was so drunk, he was considered to be soaked in drink. John baptized with water, but Jesus baptized men with the Holy Spirit of God. He brought the Spirit of God to us in such a way that we are saturated with His Spirit. Our life and being are flooded with God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit illumines and strengthens us. He fills us when we are yielded to Him. He is grieved by sin, hate, and bitterness in our lives.

NIVSB has practical note on baptizes in the Holy Spirit - John baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Spirit—by which He would cause those who believe in Him (JESUS) to participate in the power and grace of the new life He came to give (Jn 20:22; Ac 1:5; 2:4; 11:15–16; 19:4–6; 1 Co 12–14; Gal 3:5, 14; 4:6; 5:16–25; Eph 1:13; 3:16; 5:18; Php 3:3; 1 Th 4:8). (Related - See our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey the NT commands; The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked!Filled with His Spirit/Richly Indwelt with His Word

Baptizes (present tense = continually)(907) see baptizo

Related Resources: 


Question: What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Answer: The baptism of the Holy Spirit may be defined as that work whereby the Spirit of God places the believer into union with Christ and into union with other believers in the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was predicted by John the Baptist (Mark 1:8+) and by Jesus before He ascended to heaven:

For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5+).

This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4+); for the first time, people were permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and the church had begun.

1 Corinthians 12:12–13 is the central passage in the Bible regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Notice that we “all” have been baptized by the Spirit—all believers have received the baptism, synonymous with salvation, and it is not a special experience for only a few. While Romans 6:1–4+ does not mention specifically the Spirit of God, it does describe the believer’s position before God in language similar to the 1 Corinthians passage: “

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

The following facts are necessary to help solidify our understanding of Spirit baptism:

  1. First, 1 Corinthians 12:13 clearly states that all have been baptized, just as all been given the Spirit to drink (the indwelling of the Spirit).
  2. Second, nowhere in Scripture are believers told to be baptized with, in or by the Spirit, or in any sense to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This indicates that all believers have had this experience.
  3. Third, Ephesians 4:5+ seems to refer to Spirit baptism. If this is the case, Spirit baptism is the reality for every believer, just as “one faith” and “one Father” are.

In conclusion, the baptism of the Holy Spirit does two things, 1) it joins us to the body of Christ, and 2) it actualizes our co-crucifixion with Christ. Being in His body means we are risen with Him to newness of life (Romans 6:4+). We should then exercise our spiritual gifts to keep that body functioning properly as stated in the context of 1 Corinthians 12:13. Experiencing the one Spirit baptism serves as the basis for keeping the unity of the church, as in the context of Ephesians 4:5+. Being associated with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection through Spirit baptism establishes the basis for our separation from the power of indwelling sin and our walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-10; Colossians 2:12).(GotQuestions.org Bolding and numbering added)


Norman Geisler - JOHN 1:33—Did John the Baptist know Jesus before His baptism or not?

PROBLEM: Before His baptism John said categorically, “I did not know Him.” Yet in Matthew 3:13–14 John recognized Jesus before he baptized Him and said, “I have need to be baptized by You.”

SOLUTION: John may have known Jesus before His baptism only by reputation, not by recognition. Or, he may have known Jesus only by personal acquaintance, but not by divine manifestation. After all, Jesus and John were relatives (Luke 1:36), even though they were reared in different places (Luke 1:80; 2:51). However, even though John may have had some previous family contact with Jesus, He had never known Jesus as He was revealed at His baptism when the Spirit descended on Him and the Father spoke from heaven (Matt. 3:16–17). The context indicates that, up to His baptism, no one really knew Jesus as He would then “be revealed to Israel” (John 1:31). (When Critics Ask)

John 1:34  "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."

BGT  John 1:34 κἀγὼ ἑώρακα καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.

NET  John 1:34 I have both seen and testified that this man is the Chosen One of God."

NLT  John 1:34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God. "

ESV  John 1:34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

NIV  John 1:34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

GNT  John 1:34 κἀγὼ ἑώρακα καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.

KJV  John 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

YLT  John 1:34 and I have seen, and have testified, that this is the Son of God.'

ASV  John 1:34 And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.

CSB  John 1:34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!"

NKJ  John 1:34 "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

NRS  John 1:34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."

NAB  John 1:34 Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

NJB  John 1:34 I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.'

GWN  John 1:34 I have seen this and have declared that this is the Son of God."

  • this is the Son of God: John 1:18,49 3:16-18,35,36 5:23-27 6:69 10:30,36 11:27 19:7 20:28,31 Ps 2:7 89:26,27 Mt 3:17 4:3,6 8:29 11:27 16:16 17:5 26:63 Mt 27:40,43,54 Mk 1:1,11 Lu 1:35 3:22 Ro 1:4 2Co 1:19 Heb 1:1,2,5,6 7:3 1Jn 2:23 3:8 4:9,14,15 5:9-13,20 2Jn 1:9 Rev 2:18 
  • Map of ministry of John the Baptist
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

John 20:30,31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (MESSIAH), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

ONCE AGAIN JOHN
GIVES PERSONAL TESTIMONY

I myself have seen - This testimony follows based on the fact that the Baptist had seen the Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus. 

And have testified - Testified is perfect tense signifying completed action in the past with ongoing or continuing effect. It speaks of his abiding testimony. John is like a witness in a court of law giving personal testimony. Six times in this first chapter, the Baptist testifies or bears witness concerning Christ (John 1:7,8,15,19,32,34). John knew what (Who) he had seen and wanted everyone to know Him! We too should have the same passion and purpose as the Baptist, for we too have "seen" Jesus with the eyes of faith! Have you (under grace, not law) witnessed to anyone this past year?

Have testified (witnessed) (3140)(martureo from martus/martys = witness = one who has information or knowledge of something and can bring to light or confirm something. English = martyr) in its most basic sense refers to a legal witness. Thus the verb martureo means to be a witness, to testify, to give evidence, to give solemn testimony, to bear record, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something. It refers to speaking or acting to confirm information about oneself or others. To offer evidence of actual events, evidence based on direct personal knowledge. Richards adds "The emphasis in Greek culture and in the Bible on one’s personal experience of objective reality as a basis for one’s witness or testimony, makes an important statement about Christian faith. Our faith is based on historic events. The resurrection of Jesus was not some subjective experience but an objective event that took place in the real world." (NIEBW) Martureo or testify/testimony is clearly a major emphasis in the Gospel of John (31 of 74 verses with martureo are in John's Gospel) - Jn. 1:7; Jn. 1:8; Jn. 1:15; Jn. 1:32; Jn. 1:34; Jn. 2:25; Jn. 3:11; Jn. 3:26; Jn. 3:28; Jn. 3:32; Jn. 4:39; Jn. 4:44; Jn. 5:31; Jn. 5:32; Jn. 5:33; Jn. 5:36; Jn. 5:37; Jn. 5:39; Jn. 7:7; Jn. 8:13; Jn. 8:14; Jn. 8:18; Jn. 10:25; Jn. 12:17; Jn. 13:21; Jn. 15:26; Jn. 15:27; Jn. 18:23; Jn. 18:37; Jn. 19:35; Jn. 21:24. Note also that 14 of 33 NT verses that use the related noun marturia/martyria are found in the Gospel of John - 

That this is the Son of God - In the passage above (Jn 20:30,31) we see that one of the main purposes for writing John's Gospel is to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. John now identifies the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29+) as the Son of God. The Lamb is the Son. The Sacrifice is God. Recall that in John 1:18+ we read that "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." And now John explains how the Son can "explain" the unseen God and the answer is because He too is God! As Jesus declared in Jn 10:30 “I and the Father are one.” In John 14 Jesus answered Philip's request to "show us the Father" declaring "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (Jn 14:8,9)" In a sense John's declaration is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14+, which Matthew quoted writing “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US." (Mt 1:23+)

Tenney writes "John’s emphatic declaration was the reason why the disciples left him to follow Jesus." (EBC)

Robertson son Son of God - Nathanael uses it as a Messianic title (John 1:49) as does Martha (Jn 11:27). The Synoptics use it also of Christ (Mark 3:11; Matt. 14:33; Luke 22:70). Caiaphas employs it to Christ as a Messianic title (Matt. 26:63) and Jesus confessed under oath that he was (verse 64), thus applying the term to himself as he does in John’s Gospel (Jn 5:25; 10:36; 11:4) and by implication (the Father, the Son) in Matt. 11:27 (=Luke 10:22). Hence in the Synoptics also Jesus calls himself the Son of God. The phrase means more than just Messiah and expresses the peculiar relation of the Son to the Father (John 3:18; 5:25; 17:5; 19:7; Jn 20:31+) like that of the Logos with God in John 1:1.

Son of God - 43x in 43v - Matt. 4:3; Matt. 4:6; Matt. 8:29; Matt. 26:63; Matt. 27:40; Matt. 27:43; Matt. 27:54; Mk. 1:1; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 15:39; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 3:38; Lk. 4:3; Lk. 4:9; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 22:70; Jn. 1:34; Jn. 1:49; Jn. 3:18; Jn. 5:25; Jn. 10:36; Jn. 11:4; Jn. 11:27; Jn. 19:7; Jn. 20:31+; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:4; 2 Co. 1:19; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:13; Heb. 4:14; Heb. 6:6; Heb. 7:3; Heb. 10:29; 1 Jn. 3:8; 1 Jn. 4:15; 1 Jn. 5:5; 1 Jn. 5:10; 1 Jn. 5:12; 1 Jn. 5:13; 1 Jn. 5:20; Rev. 2:18

John MacArthur - Although believers are in a limited sense children of God (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 8:14, 19; Gal. 3:26; cf. John 1:12; 11:52; Rom. 8:16, 21; 9:8; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 3:1–2, 10), Jesus is uniquely the Son of God in that He alone shares the same nature as the Father (John 1:1; 5:16–30; 10:30–33; 14:9; 17:11; 1 John 5:20). (MNTC-Jn)

Henry Morris  - John gives his final, definitive answer to the Pharisees who were challenging his right to baptize in water. God Himself had sent him to do so (John 1:33), so that when Jesus also would come for baptism (Luke 3:21,22) to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15), God could identify Him by sending the Holy Spirit upon Him in the form of a dove (John 1:32,33), in order that "he should be made manifest to Israel" (John 1:31).

Henry Morris on Son of God.  John thus recognizes Jesus Christ as Creator (John 1:1), as the life and light of all men (John 1:4,9), as the Word incarnate (John 1:14), as preexistent (John 1:15,30), as the One bringing God's grace and truth into the world (John 1:14,17), as the Savior of those who believe (John 1:12), as the One in whom sinners could be "born again" (1 Peter 1:23) to become children of God (John 1:13), as the One who reveals the Father (John 1:18), as the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14,18), as the sin-bearing, sin-removing Lamb of God (John 1:29), and as the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). This is surely a fully developed Christology, not an Old Testament prophecy, as many expositors have claimed. John was indeed a prophet but not of the Old Testament. John the Baptist was the first Christian prophet, the first Christian gospel preacher, the first to administer Christian baptism, the first Christian witness, the first Christian filled with the Spirit, the first Christian missionary, the first Christian pastor and, finally, the first Christian martyr. It is remarkable that so few Christians recognize his unique greatness, as Christ did (Matthew 11:9-11).

Swindoll applies the truth of Jesus the Man, and Jesus the Son of God - The truth of Christ’s dual nature—His unblemished deity and His complete humanity—is vitally important theologically, but it’s crucial in a practical sense as well. When I feel tempted to shake a fist at the heavens or wonder if God is being cruelly indifferent while I suffer down here on earth, John’s gospel reminds me of an important truth. When Adam brought sin into the world, and death with sin (Ro 5:12+), the Lord could have incinerated the world as just punishment and He would have been no less holy or righteous. But He didn’t. Furthermore, when we sin—as individuals and collectively as humans—God has every right to turn His back and say, “Fine. Run the world your way. The mess you make of it is yours to bear.” But He doesn’t. On the contrary, the Creator voluntarily became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ, who suffered as we suffer, who was tempted as we are tempted, and who endured injustice as we will never know—yet without sin. I am comforted to know that God understands and empathizes. Through His incarnation, we can appreciate His compassion more fully. Because he lived and died as a man, we can more easily accept that, in His resurrection, the Son is for us even while we feel abandoned, mistreated, or punished by God. (Insights on John)


Question: What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?

Answer: Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of a human father and a son. God did not get married and have a son. God did not mate with Mary and, together with her, produce a son. Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is God’s Son in that He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35+ declares,

“The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”

During His trial before the Jewish leaders, the High Priest demanded of Jesus,

“I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” “‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Matthew 26:63, 64).

The Jewish leaders responded by accusing Jesus of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65-66). Later, before Pontius Pilate, “The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God’” (John 19:7). Why would His claiming to be the Son of God be considered blasphemy and be worthy of a death sentence? The Jewish leaders understood exactly what Jesus meant by the phrase “Son of God.” To be the Son of God is to be of the same nature as God. The Son of God is “of God.” The claim to be of the same nature as God—to in fact be God—was blasphemy to the Jewish leaders; therefore, they demanded Jesus’ death, in keeping with Leviticus 24:15. Hebrews 1:3 expresses this very clearly, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”

Another example can be found in John 17:12 where Judas is described as the “son of perdition.” John 6:71 tells us that Judas was the son of Simon. What does John 17:12 mean by describing Judas as the “son of perdition”? The word perdition means “destruction, ruin, waste.” Judas was not the literal son of “ruin, destruction, and waste,” but those things were the identity of Judas' life. Judas was a manifestation of perdition. In this same way, Jesus is the Son of God. The Son of God is God. Jesus is God made manifest (John 1:1, 14). (GotQuestions.org)

John 1:35  Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,

BGT  John 1:35 Τῇ ἐπαύριον πάλιν εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰωάννης καὶ ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ δύο

NET  John 1:35 Again the next day John was standing there with two of his disciples.

NLT  John 1:35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples.

ESV  John 1:35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,

NIV  John 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.

GNT  John 1:35 Τῇ ἐπαύριον πάλιν εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰωάννης καὶ ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ δύο

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

YLT  John 1:35 On the morrow, again, John was standing, and two of his disciples,

ASV  John 1:35 Again on the morrow John was standing, and two of his disciples;

CSB  John 1:35 Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples.

NKJ  John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

NRS  John 1:35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,

NAB  John 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples,

NJB  John 1:35 The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus went past,

GWN  John 1:35 The next day John was standing with two of his disciples.

EVENTS BEGINNING ON
THE THIRD DAY

Again the next day - Next day in Jn 1:29 (second day), Jn 1:35 (third day), Jn 1:43 (fourth day). The first day begins in Jn 1:19 = "This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites...." So in John 1:19-43 we have the events of four consecutive days. Swindoll summarizes the events of these first four days writing "On the first day, John the Baptizer announced the imminent revelation of the Messiah. On the second day, John identified Jesus as the Messiah. On the third and fourth days, Jesus called His first five disciples, which the gospel writer describes in quick, rapid-fire succession." (Ibid)

MacArthur on next day - This is now the third day in the sequence, the second one after John’s encounter with the investigative delegation from Jerusalem. The third group is the smallest one, consisting only of two of John’s disciples (Andrew [Jn 1:40], and John [who never names himself in his gospel]). (MNTC-Jn) (Ed: Although MacArthur may be correct in identifying the second disciple as John, the text does not tell us for certain. The fact that one disciple is later identified as Andrew and the second not specifically identified is very much in keeping with the fact that the apostle John never mentioned himself by his first name in this Gospel.)

John was standing with two of his disciples - Although not named here, we learn that from John 1:40 that one was Andrew. 

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics" - see matheteuo) describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Another sources says mathetes is from from math- which speaks of "mental effort that thinks something through" and thus describes is a learner; a follower who learns the doctrines and the lifestyle of the one they follow. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. As discussed below mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus as well as of genuine believers. The Lord calls everyone to grow as a disciple (a learner of Christ; cf. also Mt 11;29,30), one who lives in faith, who lives in and by His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Ralph Earle - As followers of Jesus we are to be, first of all, learners. We are to learn from Him by listening to Him, learn the truth that will set us free (John 8:32) and keep us from error. But we are also to learn from Him by looking at Him‑ learn how to live a life of beauty and blessing.


James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose -THE FIRST DISCIPLES JOHN 1:35–42

    The perfect way is hard to flesh,
      It is not hard to love:
    If thou wert sick for want of God,
      How swiftly wouldst thou move.

    Be docile to thine unseen Guide;
      Love Him as He loves thee;
    Faith and obedience are enough,
      And thou a saint shalt be.”
—Faber.

“It is safer to obey than to govern,” although our own foolish hearts would rather lead than follow. There is something like a halo of glory about these two men, who first ventured to “follow Jesus.” It is easy to follow Jesus in a crowd, but in almost every company or family there is need for some one with courage enough to take the initiative, and step out for Christ, and as an example to others. These early disciples became followers of Jesus in much the same way in which disciples are made now. How was that? There was—

I. A Simple Testimony. “John stood and, looking upon Jesus as He walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God” (vv. 35, 36). The preacher was “John.” His attitude was, “looking upon Jesus.” His subject was “The Lamb of God.” His manner was earnest—he “stood,” concentrating his whole soul upon the message. He was also practical—“Behold.” See him now. It was a short message, but it was a word spoken in season, full of power, and was immediately fruitful.

II. An Act of Faith. “The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus” (v. 37). Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. They heard and they followed. They had been following John, but now, on the testimony of John himself, they leave the servant of Christ and follow his Master. John’s desire should be the desire of every herald of the Lord Jesus Christ. “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). He preached not himself, but Christ the Lamb of God, and so they believed. Their faith was evidenced by their following. It may have cost them much to turn their backs upon their late beloved master, but the sacrifice is readily made for the fellowship of Him who can put away sin. There was no time to delay. The choice had to be made at once, for Jesus “walked,” and would soon be out of sight.

III. A Heart-Searching Question. “Jesus turned and said unto them, What seek ye?” (v. 38). Jesus will test the motives of those who follow Him before He commits Himself to them. What seek ye? Do you expect worldly honour and preference by following Me? Is it some earthly gift from Me, or is it ME ye seek? I am the way, the Truth, and the Life. In following me are you seeking the Way to God, the Truth of God, and the Life of God? What seek ye? Let this question search our own hearts. As professed disciples of Christ, what are the secret motives that animate our Christian life? Are we more anxious to be honoured by Christ than to honour Him? “If any man would follow Me, let him deny himself” (Matt. 16:24).

IV. An Anxious Inquiry. “They said unto Him, Master, where dwellest Thou?” (v. 38). Perhaps they feel that the Master’s question is difficult to answer in full, and if they knew where He abode they might go and have a lengthened interview with Him, so that they could calmly unburden their whole hearts unto Him. This answer reveals the deep sincerity of their souls. They wish to know HIM as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Where dwellest thou? He dwells (spiritually) in the bosom of the Father (v. 18). and those who would abide with Him will also dwell in God.

V. A Gracious Invitation. “He saith unto them, Come and see.” They gladly accepted His invitation, and “came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him” (v. 39). This was a blessed and memorable experience, and so John mentions the very hour of the day—“the tenth hour.” “Come and see.” What grace and privilege those sweet words convey to their anxious souls. It is the opening of a wide and effectual door into fullness of blessing. How sad for them if they had failed to enter in. Is not this same privilege ours, in a deeper sense? “Come unto Me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Believe, and thou shalt see.

VI. A Willing Service. “Andrew findeth his own brother Simon, … and he brought him to Jesus” (vv. 40–42). That quiet time of close fellowship with Jesus results in immediate fruit-bearing. “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Companying with Christ leads to clearness of views and boldness of action. He could say, “We have found the Messias.” They had sought and found, so their testimony is clear and persuasive. Their work for Him began after they had been with Him. “This is My beloved Son, hear Him” (Matt. 17:5.), then serve Him. Quiet Andrew did a great work when he brought the boisterous Peter to Jesus. Can we be truly following Christ if our lives are not constraining others to follow Him? Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be My disciples” (John 15:8).


J H Jowett - COMMONPLACE PEOPLE
John 1:35-47.

OUR Lord delights to glorify the commonplace. He loves to fill the common water-pots with His mysterious wine. He chooses the earthen vessels into which to put His treasure. He calls obscure fishermen to be the ambassadors of His grace. He proclaims His great Gospel through provincial dialects, and He fills uncultured mouths with mighty arguments. He turns common meals into sacraments, and while He breaks ordinary bread He relates it to the blessing of heaven.

And “this same Jesus” is among us to-day, with the same choices and delights. He will make a humdrum duty shine like the wayside bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. He will make our daily business the channel of His grace. He will take our disappointments, and, just as we sometimes put banknotes into black-edged envelopes, He will fill them with treasures of unspeakable consolation. He will use our poor, broken, stammering speech to convey the wonders of His grace to the weary sinful souls of men.

John 1:36  and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

BGT  John 1:36 καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.

NET  John 1:36 Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

NLT  John 1:36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, "Look! There is the Lamb of God!"

ESV  John 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

NIV  John 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

GNT  John 1:36 καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει, Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.

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

YLT  John 1:36 and having looked on Jesus walking, he saith, 'Lo, the Lamb of God;'

ASV  John 1:36 and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God!

CSB  John 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look! The Lamb of God!"

NKJ  John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"

NRS  John 1:36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!"

NAB  John 1:36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God."

NJB  John 1:36 and John looked towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God.'

GWN  John 1:36 John saw Jesus walk by. John said, "Look! This is the Lamb of God."

LOOK THERE IS
THE LAMB OF GOD! 

NET Note is interesting - This section (Jn 1:35–51) is joined to the preceding by the literary expedient of repeating the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus being the Lamb of God (Jn 1:36, cf. Jn 1:29). This repeated testimony (Jn 1:36) no longer has revelatory value in itself, since it has been given before; its purpose, instead, is to institute a chain reaction which will bring John the Baptist’s disciples to Jesus and make them Jesus’ own disciples.

And he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said - The Baptist looked attentively at Jesus, fixing his gaze with a searching look on the Lamb of God. 

Robertson adds that this verb for looked at "vividly pictures the rapture of John in this vision of Jesus, so far as we know the third and last glimpse of Jesus by John (the baptism, Jn 1:29, and here)."

Looked (1689)(emblepo from en = in or on + blépo = to look) means to look in the face, fix the eyes upon and so to stare at. It includes the idea of to contemplate or consider. One of the most dramatic NT uses is when "The Lord turned and looked at Peter" (Lk 22:61+) after he had denied Him three times! 10v in NT - Matt. 6:26; Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:21; Mk. 10:27; Mk. 14:67; Lk. 20:17; Lk. 22:61; Jn. 1:36; Jn. 1:42; Acts 22:11

Walked (present tense) (4043)(peripateo) means literally to walk around as in Jn 1:36 and with a connotation of spending some time in a place. Figuratively it refers to one's conduct, behavior, lifestyle as in 1 John 2:6 where believers are called to follow Jesus' example - "the one who says he abides (present tense) in Him ought (dei in present tense = not optional, but obligatory!) himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (present tense)."

Behold, the Lamb of God - As noted above behold is actually a command (aorist imperative) so John is addressing two of his very own disciples charging them not just to "look" at Jesus, but in essence (from the context) to follow Him. John's humility should not be missed! How tempting it would have been for John to desire to keep these two disciples under his charge, for he was man with a nature just like we have (fallen flesh is selfish and desires "self-glorification"). And yet he encouraged (in essence commanded) them to follow Jesus. John's "mantra" clearly was "He (present tense = continually) must (not optional!) (dei in present tense = continually) increase (present tense = "be increasing"), but I must (dei in present tense = continually not optional!) decrease (present tense = continually be decreasing)!" (John 3:30+). Beloved, enabled by the Spirit of Jesus, may we be imitators of John's humility (cf Heb 6:12+), remembering that "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble!" (James 4:6+). 

Behold (2400) see previous note on idou

Lamb (286) see note above on amnos

Spurgeon - This was the same text from which he had preached the day before, and it was the same sermon, somewhat shortened. So should it be with us.


ILLUSTRATION - Story: A tourist visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold. His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured. How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower at the time, and he landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved. To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell. I know a Lamb that broke man’s fall(sin) and in the process was crushed to deathbut the man was saved...that Lamb’s name was Jesus Christ! Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain. Rev. 5:12+


Robert Hawker - 7.—Behold the Lamb of God!—John 1:36.

WHO is it calls upon thee, my soul, to this most gratifying and enriching of all employments? Is it not God the Holy Ghost, by the ministry of his servant John? And doth not God thy Father do the same, by the ministry of his servant Isaiah, when he bids thee behold Him, in whom his soul delighteth? And is not Jesus himself calling, again and again, in the ministry of his word and ordinances, upon thy poor forgetful heart, when he saith, “Behold me! behold me! Look unto me, and be ye saved!” And wilt thou not obey the sweet and gracious calls, on which all thy present peace and everlasting happiness depend? Precious, precious Jesus! Yes, my Lord! I would, methinks, so look unto thee, and so behold thee, until my whole heart, and all its affections, followed my eyes, and left not a thought behind for a single object beside thee. I would eye thee, thou dear Redeemer, as the Lamb of God! both where thou once wast, and where thou now art, and follow thee whithersoever thou goest! I would behold thee, as the Lamb of God, set up in the decrees of eternity, from everlasting; for thou art the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I would behold thee, set forth in all the representations of thy redeeming blood, in the innumerable sacrifices of the law, and in the Lamb of the morning, and the Lamb of the evening, through the intermediate ages, to thy coming. I would behold thee, oh! thou unequalled pattern of excelling meekness! when, in the days of thy flesh, thou walkedst through the streets of Jerusalem; and when, as a Lamb, thou wert led to the slaughter. I would eye thee, oh! thou Lamb of God! until my eye-strings could hold no longer, when as the lamb of God, and my soul’s surety, thou didst hang upon the tree, putting away sin, and satisfying divine justice, by the sacrifice of thyself. And never would I take off my eyes from thy cross, until called by thee to behold thee as the Lamb in the midst of the throne, where thou art feeding thy church above, and dispensing blessings to all thy church below. Yes, yes, blessed triumphant Lamb of God! thou art the Lamb still. Change of place hath made no change in thy nature, or thy love, or the efficacy of thy redemption. Thou still appearest as a Lamb that has been slain. And still thou bearest on thy glorified body, the marks of thy redemption. Shall I not behold thee, then, dearest Jesus? Shall I not unceasingly behold thee, thus called upon by the Father, Son, and Spirit; and thus finding every thing that can satisfy my most unbounded desires, for time and for eternity? Help me, blessed Jesus! so to look, and so to live upon thee; and oh! do thou behold me, and bid me live, and make me thine own for ever.


THE LAMB OF GOD JOHN 1:36, 37 - James Smith

1. The Testimony of John. “Behold.” A new Revelation.
2. The Character of Christ. “Lamb of God.” He belonged to God; was given by God as a Sacrifice to God.
3. The Mission of Christ. “Take away the sin of the world” (v. 29).
4. The Result of Faith. “Followed Jesus.”


Ian Paisley - A Text a Day Keeps the Devil Away -  The Lamb, the Bleeding Lamb 

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

I. The Foreordination of the Bleeding Lamb
"But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." (I Peter 1:19-20)

   Lamb of God, Thy Father's bosom
   Ever was Thy dwelling place;
   His delight in Him rejoicing
   One with Him in power and grace,
   Oh what wondrous love and mercy—
   Thou didst lay Thy glory by,
   And for us didst come from heaven,
   As the Lamb of God to die.

II. The Incarnation of the Lamb
"Behold the Lamb of God."

What a birth was that, the birth of the Lamb of God!

   Lamb of God when we behold Thee,
   Lowly in the manger laid,
   Wandering as a homeless stranger
   In the world Thy hands had made;
   When we see Thee in the garden,
   In Thine agony of blood,
   At Thy grace we are confounded,
   Holy, Spotless, Lamb of God.

III. The Propitiation of the Bleeding Lamb
"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." I John 2:20.

       "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29

   When we see Thee as the victim,
   Bound for us upon the tree,
   For our guilt and folly stricken,
   All our judgment borne by Thee—
   Lord we own with hearts adoring
   Thou hast loved us unto blood,
   Glory, Glory, everlasting
   Be to Thee, Thou Lamb of God.

IV. The Coronation of the Bleeding Lamb
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Revelation 5:6

A lamb newly slain, standing in the midst! This is the Miracle of miracles and the Majesty of majesties. How could a slain lamb stand?

   Lamb of God our souls adore Thee,
   While upon Thy face we gaze;
   There the Father's love and glory
   Shine in all their brightest rays,
   Thine Almighty power and wisdom
   All redemption's works proclaim
   Heaven and earth alike confess Thee,
   As the ever great, I AM.


Myth, Man, or Messiah - P H Welshimer
Text: John 1:36; 19:5.

Introduction:
      1.      There are three possible views of Christ.
         a.      He was a myth.
         b.      He was merely a man.
         c.      He was the Messiah.
      2.      The position that Jesus was a myth is not tenable.
         a.      A myth takes time to develop.
         b.      Myths are filled with wildly imaginative and incredible elements.
         c.      Jesus left three memorials: the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and the Lord’s Day.
         d.      In Venice a red line of bricks set in the street lead to Saint Mark’s Cathedral. So in history, a red line leads back to Christ.
      3.      Pilate took the position that Jesus was only a man.
      4.      John hailed Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” the Messiah.

I.      Pilate Saw Jesus As a Man—“Behold the Man!”
      A.      Pilate saw that Jesus was not a fanatic.
         1.      A fanatic has only one idea. Christ did not so act and talk.
         2.      If Christ had been a fanatic, Christianity would be fanaticism, which it is not.
      B.      Pilate saw that Jesus was not an imposter.
         1.      Jesus made no false promises to entice followers.
         2.      Instead, He made stern demands.
      C.      Pilate saw Jesus as a good man.
         1.      “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4).
         2.      Pilate’s wife: “Have thou nothing to do with that just man” (Matthew 27:19).
      D.      But Jesus was more than just a good man.
         1.      Statement of Rabbi Brickner: “Christ was the best man that ever lived but was only that.”
         2.      If only a good man, how do we account for His statements?
           a.      “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
           b.      “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).
           c.      “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
           d.      “All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
           e.      He had glory before the world was.
           f.      Judgment was committed to Him.
         3.      If only a good man, how do we account for His life?
           a.      “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).
           b.      His teachings have never been changed, they never need revising.
           c.      The impact He had on His followers.
           d.      The impact He has had in history, poetry, biography, art.

II.      John Saw Jesus As the Messiah—“Behold the Lamb of God.”
      A.      John was a specially prepared messenger of God.
         1.      His birth and early life.
         2.      John saw the descent of the dove, the Holy Spirit.
         3.      John heard the voice say, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
      B.      Other evidences of Jesus’ deity and His messiahship.
         1.      More than three hundred Old Testament prophecies tell of Him.
         2.      His miracles.
         3.      His teaching.
         4.      His bodily resurrection.

Conclusion:
      1.      Jesus is either a myth, a mere man, or the Messiah.
      2.      All the Biblical evidence acclaims Him as the Messiah.
      3.      Since He is the Messiah, all should hear Him and heed Him.

John 1:37  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

BGT  John 1:37 καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος καὶ ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.

NET  John 1:37 When John's two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.

NLT  John 1:37 When John's two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.

ESV  John 1:37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

NIV  John 1:37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.

GNT  John 1:37 καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος καὶ ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.

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

YLT  John 1:37 and the two disciples heard him speaking, and they followed Jesus.

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

CSB  John 1:37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus.

NKJ  John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

NRS  John 1:37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

NAB  John 1:37 The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

NJB  John 1:37 And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

GWN  John 1:37 When the two disciples heard John say this, they followed Jesus.

DISCIPLESHIP IS
FOLLOWING JESUS

The two disciples heard him speak - Literally heard him speaking so he was not necessarily directly addressing the two disciples but they were able to hear what he said. Note that they heard ("Behold, the Lamb of God", where "Behold" is a command to look, see, pay attention) and they "beheld" Him and they heeded! The Baptist's call to "behold" did not go "in one ear and out the other." Do not miss the words two disciples. Whose disciples were they? In context these were disciples or followers of the Baptist. And yet John does nothing to deter them from following Jesus. In fact based on John's own words in Jn 1:36, the two disciples followed Jesus! This is another example of the incredible humility of this man John the Baptist! 

Robertson - These two disciples of the Baptist (Andrew and John) took him at his word and acted on it. John the Baptist had predicted and portrayed the Messiah, had baptized him, had interpreted him, and now for the second time had identified him.

THOUGHT - How often we hear God's clear word of caution or command and yet fail or refuse willfully to heed! Woe!

Leon Morris says "The disciples of John recognize the Messiah and spontaneously attach themselves to Him." Although I agree with the first part of Morris' comment, the word "attach" implies they began to follow Jesus as disciples at this time, but that is difficult to prove from the text. 

And they followed Jesus - Note that revelation (they heard John's description of Jesus as the Lamb of God) calls for a response. Revelation without a response is of no value (except that we will be held accountable for the truth we have heard, regardless of whether we respond to it or not! cf Lk 12:48+Followed (akoloutheo) means literally to follow after someone physically which is the main sense in this context. This use of followed does not signify Andrew and the second disciple (probably John but not provable from the text) became disciples at this time. However, as time went on these two disciples (assuming unnamed disciple was John) of the Baptist did become true followers of Jesus as His disciples, as documented in Mt 4:18-22+ (cf Jn 1:43+).

It is notable that most of the uses of the follow (akoloutheo) are in the Gospels and thus this verb is firmly linked with the life of Jesus, for ultimately He is the only One Who should be followed! The verb akoloutheo is used in John's gospel to describe following as a disciple of Jesus (see Jn 8:12, Jn 10:27, Jn 12:26, Jn 21:19). 

Johann Bengel may be a bit premature but still makes the interesting observation that this is "The origin of the Christian Church.”

MacArthur comments that "John’s third emphasis follows logically from his first two. Since the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, is here, the only proper response is to follow Him." (Ibid)

Followed (190)(akoloutheo from a = expresses union with, likeness + keleuthos = a road, way) means to walk the same road (Ponder that simple definition dear believer - Am I willing to walk the same road as Jesus?) Literally to follow (like the crowds followed Jesus) and in a figurative sense to follow Jesus as a disciple. (Mt. 4:20, 22; 9:9; Mk 1:18; Jo 8:12) To follow (closely) and was used of soldiers, servants and pupils, cleaving steadfastly to one and conforming to his example. To go after someone or something (not as a true disciple however as we see with the crowds who physically followed Jesus, following however without a willingness to commit wholly to Him! cf John 6:60-65, 66)  Akoloutheo is a technical term for the relationship of a disciple to his teacher. The essence of Christianity in fact lies in the words "to follow Jesus." When we walk with Him, He promised we would never walk in darkness! (Jn 8:12). He is our Lamp wherever we walk, always walking with us, His Spirit within us enabling us to "Walk by the Spirit." (Gal 5:16+) Paul expressed walking after Jesus as being His imitator  (1 Cor 11:1) When He says go, I go. When He says stop, I stop. His sheep know His voice and follow Him (Jn 10:27) Sadly , some declined to follow (Mt 19:21-23). Uses of akoloutheo in John - Jn. 1:37; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 1:40; Jn. 1:43; Jn. 6:2; Jn. 8:12; Jn. 10:4; Jn. 10:5; Jn. 10:27; Jn. 11:31; Jn. 12:26; Jn. 13:36; Jn. 13:37; Jn. 18:15; Jn. 20:6; Jn. 21:19; Jn. 21:20; Jn. 21:22;


Norman Geisler -  JOHN 1:37–49—Were the apostles called at this time or later?

PROBLEM: John records that Jesus called Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and another disciple at this time. However, the other Gospels record their call as taking place much later (cf. Matt. 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20; Luke 5:1–11). When were they called?

SOLUTION: The first passages indicate Jesus’ initial interview of the disciples, not their permanent call. As a result of this first contact they only stayed with Jesus “that day” (John 1:39), after which they returned to their homes and regular employment. The later passages indicate the time they left their former jobs and took up their full-time ministry as disciples of Christ. (When Critics Ask)

John 1:38  And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?"

BGT  John 1:38 στραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ θεασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἀκολουθοῦντας λέγει αὐτοῖς· τί ζητεῖτε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ῥαββί, ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον διδάσκαλε, ποῦ μένεις;

NET  John 1:38 Jesus turned around and saw them following and said to them, "What do you want?" So they said to him, "Rabbi" (which is translated Teacher), "where are you staying?"

NLT  John 1:38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. "What do you want?" he asked them.They replied, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?"

ESV  John 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

NIV  John 1:38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

GNT  John 1:38 στραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ θεασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἀκολουθοῦντας λέγει αὐτοῖς, Τί ζητεῖτε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Ῥαββί, ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον Διδάσκαλε, ποῦ μένεις;

KJV  John 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?

YLT  John 1:38 And Jesus having turned, and having beheld them following, saith to them, 'What seek ye?' and they said to them, 'Rabbi, (which is, being interpreted, Teacher,) where remainest thou?'

ASV  John 1:38 And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? And they said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), where abideth thou?

CSB  John 1:38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, "What are you looking for?" They said to Him, " Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are You staying?"

NKJ  John 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek? " They said to Him, "Rabbi " (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?"

NRS  John 1:38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

NAB  John 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

NJB  John 1:38 Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, 'What do you want?' They answered, 'Rabbi' -- which means Teacher -- 'where do you live?'

GWN  John 1:38 Jesus turned around and saw them following him. He asked them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which means "teacher"), "where are you staying?"

  • And Jesus turned and saw them following Lu 14:25 15:20 19:5 22:61 
  • What do you seek: Joh 18:4,7 20:15,16 Lu 7:24-27 18:40,41 Ac 10:21,29 
  • Rabbi: Joh 1:49 3:2,26 6:25 Mt 23:7,8 
  • where are You staying: Joh 12:21 Ru 1:16 1Ki 10:8 Ps 27:4 Pr 3:18 8:34 13:20 Song 1:7,8 Lu 8:38 10:39 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JESUS' FIRST WORDS
IN GOSPEL OF JOHN

And Jesus turned and saw them following - Jesus turned depicts Him suddenly turning upon hearing their steps behind Him. Jesus did not just "look" but gazed steadfastly at them as if studying them.  

Saw (2300) see note on theaomai speaks of beholding with attentive regard.

Following (190) see note on akoloutheo

and said to them, "What do you seek (zeteo in present tense)?" - These are the first recorded spoken words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, but His words in  Mt 3:15+; Mk 1:15+; Lk 2:49+ were spoken before this. Compare the first recorded words of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels - Mt 3:15+; Mk 1:15+; Lk 2:49+. Note that Jesus does not say "WHO" do you seek (as in Jn 18:4, Jn 20:15) but WHAT do you seek. Note the disciples respond with a "who" response -- "Where are YOU staying?" 

MacDonald on What do you seek? - He knew the answer to the question; He knew all things. But He wanted them to express their desire in words. (BBC)

As MacArthur points out "He did not ask that question for His benefit, since in His omniscience He already knew what the two wanted. That they were followers of John the Baptist indicated that they were convicted of their sin and seeking the forgiveness and righteousness Messiah would bring. Instead, the Lord asked the question to challenge them to consider their motives; He did not ask them whom they were seeking, but what they were seeking....Jesus knew their hearts, that they were honest, sincere seekers. They had already been drawn to Him by the Father (6:44) and convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:8). The honest seeker will always find Him (Deut. 4:29; 1 Chron. 28:9; 2 Chron. 15:2; Jer. 29:13) because, as He promised, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17). On the other hand, Jesus will not commit Himself to the insincere and hypocritical, no matter what their outward profession may be. Jesus never put off the sincere, Spirit-prompted seeker. He was never too busy to show compassion for lost sheep who were seeking a Shepherd (Matt. 9:36). To one so desperate to see Him that he cast aside his dignity and climbed a tree Jesus said, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). (MNTC-Jn)

Ray Stedman on What do you seek? -  Those are the first words of Jesus in the Gospel of John and they are very remarkable. According to this, they are also the very first words Jesus uttered in his public ministry; and they come in the form of a question. I have always been fascinated by the questions God asks of man. These four words go right to the heart of life. In them Jesus asks the most profound question in anyone's life: "What are you looking for?" Did you ever ask yourself, "Why am I here? What do I really want out of life?" That is the most penetrating question you can ask yourself. Anyone who works knows what it is to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, work all day, come home in the evening, have dinner, read the paper, listen to television, talk to the family, whatever; go to bed, get up in the morning, have breakfast, go to work, work all day, come home in the evening, have dinner, read the paper, listen to television, talk to the family, whatever, get up in the morning, etc. Have you ever asked yourself, "Why? What do I want out of this?" That is what Jesus is asking in this question. He nailed those men immediately with the profundity of it. "What do you seek?" Not, "Whom do you seek?" That would be the natural question to ask under the circumstances. No, Jesus asked What? What are you looking for? What do you really want? That is the supreme question in life: What do you want? This reminds us of that first question in the Bible, asked by God of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after the Fall: "Adam, where are you?" (Genesis 3:9b). That question was designed to make Adam ask himself, "Yes, where am I? How did I get here? What has happened to me?" Adam and Eve were hiding in bushes. I do not think Adam asked himself why until God asked the question, "Where are you? What are you doing? Why are you there?" That is the most important question to answer when you are far away from God. When you answer it, you are on your way back to the God who made you.

R. C. H. Lenski has a sage comment on Jesus' question What do you seek? -  This first word spoken by Jesus [in John’s gospel] is a master question. It bids them look searchingly at their inmost longings and desires.… A hidden promise lies in the question “What are you seeking?” Jesus has the highest treasure any man can seek, longs to direct our seeking toward that treasure in order that he may bestow it for our everlasting enrichment. (The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel)

Ray Stedman - Jesus' response shows how well he understood Andrew. He said to him, "Come and see." That is an invitation to investigate. "Come and find out. Take your time; ask what you want; make up your own mind." What a tremendous response to the kind of men that John and Andrew are! They are men who need time, men who do not move quickly; they need to investigate. Our Lord is instantly responsive to that need. I know men like that today. You cannot push them, or drive them; they need time to make up their minds. All they need is an invitation to investigate.

They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" - Their answer to what do you seek is another question -  Their question where are You staying implies that they wanted to converse with Him. The two disciples address Jesus as Rabbi/Teacher even though they have never heard Him teach! Vincent has "My great one (Hebrew rab = great one), my honorable sir." John tells us Rabbi means Teacher. Jesus confirms this "definition" of Rabbi in Mt 23:8 declaring “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers."

MacArthur on where are You staying? - By asking the question, where are You staying? Andrew and John were not merely asking where He was residing. They were courteously requesting an extended private interview with Him. The question also signaled their willingness to become His disciples. (MNTC-Jn)

Steven Cole writes that Rabbi, where are You staying? "seems like an odd reply to Jesus’ question. Probably they wanted more time with Him than a roadside talk would provide (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John [Eerdmans], p. 156). John Calvin (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], p. 71) saw in their reply the lesson that “we ought not to be satisfied with a mere passing look, but that we ought to seek his dwelling, that he may receive us as guests.” He explains, “For there are very many who smell the gospel at a distance only, and thus allow Christ suddenly to disappear, and all that they have learned concerning him to pass away.” The point is, if you have met Christ as your Savior, then you’ll want to spend more time with Him to learn more about Him. It was only after Andr and John spent that evening with the Lord that they became witnesses to the others."

(which translated means Teacher) - John frequently adds parenthetical explanations like this one or as Robertson says "John often explains Aramaic words (John 1:38, 41, 42; 4:25; 9:7, etc.)" 

Translated (interpreted)(3177)(methermeneuo from meta = after, with + hermeneuo = translate, interpret) means literally to translate with and thus to translate from one language to another. The KJV translates it as "interpreted" (or "interpretation") which is accurate.  Methermeneuo - 8x in 8v - Matt. 1:23; Mk. 5:41; Mk. 15:22; Mk. 15:34; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 1:41; Acts 4:36; Acts 13:8. No uses in the Septuagint.

Rabbi (4461rhabbi from Hebrew rab 07227 = >400x in OT - great one, master, chief) means my master (most common rendering in KJV) or my teacher. It was an respectful title of honor by which one would address a teacher who was recognized for their expertise in the Mosaic Law or Scriptures. Jesus' disciples repeatedly address Him as Rabbi (Jn. 4:31; Jn. 6:25; Jn. 9:2; Jn. 11:8). In John 1:38 rabbi equates with the Greek didaskalos or teacher.  The suffix -bi signified "my master" "and was a title of respect by which teachers were addressed. The suffix soon lost its specific force, and in the NT the word is used as courteous title of address." (Vine) It is interesting that In Mt. 23:7-8 Jesus forbade His disciples to desire to use it ("do not be called Rabbi")." Zodhiates says Rabbi "was introduced as a title into the Jewish schools under a three-fold form, Rab, as the lowest degree of honor; Rab with the first person suffix i, Rabbi, my master, with higher dignity; and Rabboni, meaning my great master, the most honorable of all. This was publicly given to only seven persons, all of the school of Hillel and of great eminence.... In the days of Christ the title (RABBI) was misused by Jewish teachers in that they used it to require implicit obedience to their decisions and traditions and words rather than to those of the law and the prophets. Our Lord charged the Jewish scribes and Pharisees with being very fond of this presumptuous title, but commands His disciples not to be called Rabbi in the Jewish acceptance of the word (Mt. 23:7, 8). Although the title Rabbi was often given to the Lord Jesus, we do not find that He ever rebuked those who gave it to Him because He was in truth the Teacher sent from God, even that great Prophet who should come into the world, and of whom the Lord had said by Moses in Dt. 18:18, 19: "It shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." (Complete Word Study Dictionary) (Was Jesus a rabbi?)

Rabbi - 15 verses - Matt. 23:7; Matt. 23:8; Matt. 26:25; Matt. 26:49; Mk. 9:5; Mk. 11:21; Mk. 14:45; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 1:49; Jn. 3:2; Jn. 3:26; Jn. 4:31; Jn. 6:25; Jn. 9:2; Jn. 11:8

Teacher (1320)(didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught. Someone has said that "The great teacher is the one who turns our ears into eyes so that we can see the truth." Henry Brooks added that "A (Bible) teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Didaskalos refers to Jesus (the Master Teacher) in 41 of 58 NT uses. Twice Jesus calls Himself Teacher (Mt 26:18, Jn 13:13-14). He is referred to as Teacher by His disciples (Mk 4:38+; Mk 9:38+; Mk 13:1+; Lk 7:40+; Lk 21:7+), by the Pharisees (Mt 8:19, 12:38), by Pharisees and Herodians (Mt 22:16); Sadducees (Mk 12:19+), a teacher of the law (Mk 12:32+), Jewish deceivers (Lk 20:21+); the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18+), tax collectors (Lk 3:12+) and His friend Martha (Jn 11:28+). As an aside someone has said our great Teacher writes many of His best lessons on the blackboard of affliction. All of John's uses of didaskalos -  Jn. 1:38; Jn. 3:2; Jn. 3:10; Jn. 8:4; Jn. 11:28; Jn. 13:13; Jn. 13:14; Jn. 20:16


Henry Mahan - The Master turned and asked, ‘What seek ye?’ At first it may seem strange that the all-knowing Lord should ask such a question of them. His question was to reveal the true motive and purpose of these men. He asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother?’ He asked Adam, ‘Where art thou?’ In those days many followed him for various reasons – the miracles (John 2:23), the loaves and fishes (John 6:26), or because it was the popular thing to do. But some followed him because of their need and because they believed (John 6:66-69). The question is, ‘What seek ye?’ or ‘On what is your heart set?’ (Psalm 42:1).

Their reply was, ‘Master, where dwellest thou?’ It was not a ‘what’ but a ‘whom’ that their hearts were set upon. It was not a blessing, but the blesser himself they were interested in (2 Tim. 1:12).


James Smith -WHAT SEEK YE?

  “Then Jesus turned and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?” (John 1:38).

Jesus did not say, “Whom seek ye?” because He knew they sought Himself; but, “What seek ye?” What is it in Me that ye seek? Ah, this opens a wide door of entrance, there is so much in Jesus worth seeking. Some only seek to look at Him, others seek His forgiving smile. There are others who seek to know His dwelling-place, that they might abide with Him. What seekest thou, O my soul? Seek His wisdom to guide thee. Seek His peace to possess thee, His power to keep thee, His Spirit to abide in thee and transform thee into His Divine image. Seek that His will may be done in thee as it is done in Heaven, and that His presence may be an abiding reality with thee. Seek, and ye shall find.


Henry Blackaby - Come and See

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are You staying?”

“Come and you’ll see,” He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day.—John 1:38b–39 

There comes a time for each of us when merely talking about the Christian pilgrimage is not sufficient. We must actually set out on the journey! We can spend many hours debating and discussing issues related to the Christian life, but this means little if we never actually step out and follow Christ!

For generations, the coming of the Messiah had been pondered and predicted by the nation of Israel. Perhaps no topic garnered more discussion among Jews than the nature and work of the Messiah. Andrew had listened to John the Baptist and had heard of the coming Messiah. Now, suddenly, he was face to face with the One he had yearned to see! Andrew's mind was filled with questions he longed to ask. Instead of entering into a theological dialogue with Andrew, however, Jesus turned and began to walk. Andrew's questions would not be answered by discussion alone, but by walking with Him.

Christianity is not a set of teachings to understand. It is a Person to follow. As he walked with Jesus, Andrew watched Jesus heal the sick, teach God's wisdom, and demonstrate God's power. Andrew not only learned about God; he actually experienced Him!

Moments will come when you stand at a crossroads with your Lord. You will have a hundred questions for Him. Rather than answering the questions one by one, Jesus may say, “Put on your shoes, step out onto the road, and follow Me.” As you walk daily with Him, Jesus will answer your questions, and you will discover far more than you even knew to ask.


Warren Wiersbe - JOHN 1:38

Great crowds gathered to hear John the Baptist, and many believed and were baptized, among them John and Andrew. The quiet drama that played out on the day described in John 1:35–42 was actually part of God’s plan for redeeming a lost world.

Act 1—following the Lamb. It was John the Baptist’s purpose to point people to Jesus and not to gather permanent disciples around himself. “He must increase,” John said, “but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Among the men in John’s congregation were John and Andrew, two partners in a fishing business in Capernaum. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God!” the two men left the crowd and followed Jesus (vv. 36–37). Trusting Jesus is the beginning of the Christian life, but only the beginning.

Act 2—facing a decision. Knowing that the two men were following him, Jesus turned and asked them, “What do you seek?” (v. 38). Why did people follow Jesus when he was ministering here on earth? Some wanted to be entertained by his miracles, while others sincerely sought his teaching. Some were only members of the crowd, while others stepped out of the crowd and identified themselves personally with the Savior. Jesus saves and transforms people one at a time, not en masse. We must examine our hearts to determine if our motives are right as we seek to follow the Lord and serve him. Right actions can be defiled by wrong motives.

Act 3—obeying a command. Perhaps the two men did not really know what they were seeking, and that’s why they replied with a question of their own, “Teacher, where are you staying?” (v. 38). A young Jewish student asked his rabbi, “Why is it whenever I ask you a question, you always answer with another question?” The rabbi replied, “And why shouldn’t I?” It’s likely that Andrew and John wanted to accommodate themselves to our Lord’s schedule and therefore offered to visit him later, so they asked where he lived. But Jesus wanted to speak with them now. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). “Come” is a familiar word from the lips of Jesus, a gracious invitation from his heart. “Come and see” leads to “Come and drink” (John 7:37–39), and “Come and eat” (21:12). Where does Jesus dwell? Not in temples or shrines made by human hands (Acts 7:48–50), but “in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15). John and Andrew were humble fishermen who had no idea what the Lord would do for them and through them in the years to come. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).

Act 4—sharing the good news. Listening to Jesus convinced the two men that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, and they had to tell others. Andrew found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus, and we have every reason to believe that John found his brother James as well. The four men returned to their fishing business until that day when Jesus called them to become fishers of men (Luke 5:1–11).

Jesus has stayed in many places, but the one place he enjoys the most is the contrite and humble heart of his obedient disciples who are proclaiming to the world, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Revelation 3:20

John 1:39  He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

BGT  John 1:39 λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἔρχεσθε καὶ ὄψεσθε. ἦλθαν οὖν καὶ εἶδαν ποῦ μένει καὶ παρ᾽ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην· ὥρα ἦν ὡς δεκάτη.

NET  John 1:39 Jesus answered, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. Now it was about four o'clock in the afternoon.

NLT  John 1:39 "Come and see," he said. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

ESV  John 1:39 He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

NIV  John 1:39 "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

GNT  John 1:39 λέγει αὐτοῖς, Ἔρχεσθε καὶ ὄψεσθε. ἦλθαν οὖν καὶ εἶδαν ποῦ μένει καὶ παρ᾽ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην· ὥρα ἦν ὡς δεκάτη.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:39 He saith to them, 'Come and see;' they came, and saw where he doth remain, and with him they remained that day and the hour was about the tenth.

ASV  John 1:39 He saith unto them, Come, and ye shall see. They came therefore and saw where he abode; and they abode with him that day: it was about the tenth hour.

CSB  John 1:39 "Come and you'll see," He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day. It was about 10 in the morning.

NKJ  John 1:39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

NRS  John 1:39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.

NAB  John 1:39 He said to them,"Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.

NJB  John 1:39 He replied, 'Come and see'; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.

GWN  John 1:39 Jesus told them, "Come, and you will see." So they went to see where he was staying and spent the rest of that day with him. It was about ten o'clock in the morning.

  • Come, and you will see: Joh 1:46 6:37 14:22,23 Pr 8:17 Mt 11:28-30 
  • they stayed with Him that day: Joh 4:40 Ac 28:30,31 Rev 3:20 
  • it was about the tenth hour  Lu 24:29 
  • John 1:39 20:12 Two Loving Invitations - Spurgeon
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JESUS SAYS
COME AND SEE

Jesus issued this call then and continues to issue this call to all who have ears to hear. Matthew records the famous passage 

Matthew 11:28-30+ “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take (aorist imperative) My yoke upon you and learn (aorist imperative) from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Wiersbe adds that "When Nathanael hesitated and argued, Philip adopted our Lord’s own words: “Come and see” (John 1:39). Later on, Jesus would invite, “Come and drink!” (John 7:37+) and, “Come and dine!” (John 21:12) “Come” is the great invitation of God’s grace." (BEC)

He said to them, "Come (present imperative) and you will see" - "Polite invitation and definite promise." (Robertson) Come is in the present imperative, command to continue to come. Jesus gives them an open invitation, one which is also connected with a profound promise you will see! Jesus simple answer would change forever these two men's lives!

Lenski writes that "Jesus places himself and the humble place where he lodges at their service without delay. This readiness is generous on his part and kind and satisfying for them. There never was a time when Jesus was not eager to satisfy hearts that truly sought his blessings. His answer is, “Come, and you shall see.” They would have been happy if Jesus had said, “Come tomorrow or the next day and see me.” But he opens the door to them on the instant just as if he had been waiting for them. Kings and the great men of the earth hedge themselves about with servants and ceremony, so that it is difficult to reach them and get speech with them; one must arrange an interview in advance to secure audience at all. Nothing is easier than to get an audience from the King of kings at once....To be sure, if the disciples would come, they would see the little place where Jesus stayed. But their desire went far beyond seeing this place. The entire conversation deals with deeper things. “You shall see” means: the place where you can speak to me and learn from me and about me all that prompts your hearts to follow me. The promise is broad, but the sequel shows that it was fully redeemed. We have an echo of this invitation and promise of Jesus in Philip’s word to (ISJG)

THOUGHT - Jesus' invitation is still apropos to all men and women who are dead in their trespasses and sins and yet who are desperately seeking answers to the most important question in life - where will I spend eternity? To all who are honestly seeking, His answer is always "Come and you will see." Are you seeking truth? Then Jesus invites you to come and spend some time with Him, for He alone is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (Jn 14:6). 

Believer's Study Bible on come - It is often John's desire to communicate multiple truths by a single statement in his Gospel. "Come and see" may be intended to communicate theological truth which lies beneath the surface of the literal nature of the statement. If one will come to Jesus, then he will see who He really is. (Believer's Study Bible) 

So - Therefore (oun) - Term of conclusion. "This connecting particle is found in John’s Gospel as often as in the other three combined, and most commonly in narrative, marking the transition from one thing to another, and serving to connect the several parts of the narrative." (Vincent) 

Oun in Gospels - Note prevalence in John's Gospel - Matt. 1:17; Matt. 3:8; Matt. 3:10; Matt. 5:19; Matt. 5:23; Matt. 5:48; Matt. 6:2; Matt. 6:8; Matt. 6:9; Matt. 6:22; Matt. 6:23; Matt. 6:31; Matt. 6:34; Matt. 7:11; Matt. 7:12; Matt. 7:24; Matt. 9:38; Matt. 10:16; Matt. 10:26; Matt. 10:31; Matt. 10:32; Matt. 12:12; Matt. 12:26; Matt. 13:18; Matt. 13:27; Matt. 13:28; Matt. 13:40; Matt. 13:56; Matt. 17:10; Matt. 18:4; Matt. 18:26; Matt. 18:29; Matt. 18:31; Matt. 19:6; Matt. 19:7; Matt. 21:25; Matt. 21:40; Matt. 22:9; Matt. 22:17; Matt. 22:21; Matt. 22:28; Matt. 22:43; Matt. 22:45; Matt. 23:3; Matt. 23:20; Matt. 24:15; Matt. 24:26; Matt. 24:42; Matt. 25:13; Matt. 25:27; Matt. 25:28; Matt. 26:54; Matt. 27:17; Matt. 27:22; Matt. 27:64; Matt. 28:19; Mk. 10:9; Mk. 11:31; Mk. 12:9; Mk. 13:35; Mk. 15:12; Mk. 16:19; Lk. 3:7; Lk. 3:8; Lk. 3:9; Lk. 3:10; Lk. 3:18; Lk. 4:7; Lk. 7:31; Lk. 7:42; Lk. 8:18; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 11:35; Lk. 11:36; Lk. 12:26; Lk. 13:7; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 14:33; Lk. 14:34; Lk. 16:11; Lk. 16:27; Lk. 19:12; Lk. 20:15; Lk. 20:17; Lk. 20:29; Lk. 20:33; Lk. 20:44; Lk. 21:7; Lk. 21:14; Lk. 22:70; Lk. 23:16; Lk. 23:22; Jn. 1:21; Jn. 1:22; Jn. 1:25; Jn. 1:39; Jn. 2:18; Jn. 2:20; Jn. 2:22; Jn. 3:25; Jn. 3:29; Jn. 4:1; Jn. 4:5; Jn. 4:6; Jn. 4:9; Jn. 4:11; Jn. 4:28; Jn. 4:33; Jn. 4:40; Jn. 4:45; Jn. 4:46; Jn. 4:48; Jn. 4:52; Jn. 4:53; Jn. 5:10; Jn. 5:18; Jn. 5:19; Jn. 6:5; Jn. 6:10; Jn. 6:11; Jn. 6:13; Jn. 6:14; Jn. 6:15; Jn. 6:19; Jn. 6:21; Jn. 6:24; Jn. 6:28; Jn. 6:30; Jn. 6:32; Jn. 6:34; Jn. 6:41; Jn. 6:52; Jn. 6:53; Jn. 6:60; Jn. 6:62; Jn. 6:67; Jn. 7:3; Jn. 7:6; Jn. 7:11; Jn. 7:15; Jn. 7:16; Jn. 7:25; Jn. 7:28; Jn. 7:30; Jn. 7:33; Jn. 7:35; Jn. 7:40; Jn. 7:43; Jn. 7:45; Jn. 7:47; Jn. 8:5; Jn. 8:12; Jn. 8:13; Jn. 8:19; Jn. 8:21; Jn. 8:22; Jn. 8:24; Jn. 8:25; Jn. 8:28; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 8:36; Jn. 8:38; Jn. 8:41; Jn. 8:52; Jn. 8:57; Jn. 8:59; Jn. 9:7; Jn. 9:8; Jn. 9:10; Jn. 9:11; Jn. 9:15; Jn. 9:16; Jn. 9:17; Jn. 9:18; Jn. 9:19; Jn. 9:20; Jn. 9:24; Jn. 9:25; Jn. 9:26; Jn. 10:7; Jn. 10:24; Jn. 10:39; Jn. 11:3; Jn. 11:6; Jn. 11:12; Jn. 11:14; Jn. 11:16; Jn. 11:17; Jn. 11:20; Jn. 11:21; Jn. 11:31; Jn. 11:32; Jn. 11:33; Jn. 11:36; Jn. 11:38; Jn. 11:41; Jn. 11:45; Jn. 11:47; Jn. 11:53; Jn. 11:54; Jn. 11:56; Jn. 12:1; Jn. 12:2; Jn. 12:3; Jn. 12:7; Jn. 12:9; Jn. 12:17; Jn. 12:19; Jn. 12:21; Jn. 12:28; Jn. 12:29; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 12:35; Jn. 12:50; Jn. 13:6; Jn. 13:12; Jn. 13:14; Jn. 13:24; Jn. 13:25; Jn. 13:26; Jn. 13:27; Jn. 13:30; Jn. 13:31; Jn. 16:17; Jn. 16:18; Jn. 16:22; Jn. 18:3; Jn. 18:4; Jn. 18:6; Jn. 18:7; Jn. 18:8; Jn. 18:10; Jn. 18:11; Jn. 18:12; Jn. 18:16; Jn. 18:17; Jn. 18:19; Jn. 18:24; Jn. 18:25; Jn. 18:27; Jn. 18:28; Jn. 18:29; Jn. 18:31; Jn. 18:33; Jn. 18:37; Jn. 18:39; Jn. 18:40; Jn. 19:1; Jn. 19:5; Jn. 19:6; Jn. 19:8; Jn. 19:10; Jn. 19:13; Jn. 19:15; Jn. 19:16; Jn. 19:20; Jn. 19:21; Jn. 19:23; Jn. 19:24; Jn. 19:26; Jn. 19:29; Jn. 19:30; Jn. 19:31; Jn. 19:32; Jn. 19:38; Jn. 19:40; Jn. 19:42; Jn. 20:2; Jn. 20:3; Jn. 20:6; Jn. 20:8; Jn. 20:10; Jn. 20:11; Jn. 20:19; Jn. 20:20; Jn. 20:21; Jn. 20:25; Jn. 20:30; Jn. 21:5; Jn. 21:6; Jn. 21:7; Jn. 21:9; Jn. 21:11; Jn. 21:15; Jn. 21:21; Jn. 21:23; 

They came and saw where He was staying (meno- Come...see is now came...saw. "To come—to see—to abide with Jesus has well been called an epitome of the entire Christian life." (Lenski) Recall Jesus' home was in Nazareth which was a considerable distance to the north and John was baptizing east of Jerusalem, so that this is not referring to Jesus returning to Nazareth. While the text does not say it is likely they slept outdoors. Recall Jesus' words in Mt 8:20 "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 

And they stayed with Him that day - They spent the day with the Creator of the world, the Messiah of Israel! These must have been golden moments for Andrew and John. What did they speak about? The text does not say but earlier John (one of the two) had said "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14) There was the living Word dwelling with those two men and what they heard was "full of grace and truth."  The experience of Andrew and John reminds me of the two men on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24:32 "They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 

MacArthur - John does not record what they discussed that memorable evening, but the Lord undoubtedly “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45+) as “He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27+). Whatever He said was enough to persuade them that He was indeed Israel’s Messiah, as Andrew’s excited testimony to his brother Peter the next day indicates (see Jn 1:40–41). (Ibid)

Henry Mahan -The place where he dwelt is not given. They ‘abode with him.’ His abiding place is theirs too – wherever that is! (John 14:3.) It is not what that we seek but whom, for salvation is a person and a living union with him!

Lenski - Let us remember that they came from close association with another great master, the Baptist, the last great prophet of God whose disciples they had been and with whom they would inevitably compare Jesus. They had now found a greater—him of whom the Baptist had prophesied. (Ibid)

Staying...stayed (3306) see note on meno. Here the Baptist's disciples stayed with Jesus, but eventually they would become true disciples of Jesus, Who  later taught "If you continue (meno) in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." (Jn 8:31)

For it was about the tenth hour - "Now it was about four o'clock in the afternoon." (NET) John never forgot the hour he met and spent time with Jesus! Do you remember the day you first met Him with eyes of faith like a little child? What a glorious day it was! 

Robertson - To his latest day John never forgot the hour when first he met Jesus.

NET Note on why this was 4 PM (Jewish "clock") and not 10 A.M. (Roman "clock"). - Later in the Gospel’s Passover account (John 19:42, where the sixth hour is on the “eve of the Passover”) it seems clear the author had to be using Jewish reckoning, which began at 6 a.m. This would make the time here in 1:39 to be 4 p.m. This may be significant: If the hour was late, Andrew and the unnamed disciple probably spent the night in the same house where Jesus was staying, and the events of 1:41–42 took place on the next day. 

             HIMSELF

             Once it was the blessing,
             Now it is the Lord;

             Once it was the feeling,
             Now it is his word;

             Once his gifts I wanted,
             Now the Giver own;

             Once I sought for healing,
             Now himself alone.

             Once 'twas painful trying,
             Now 'tis perfect trust;

             Once a half salvation,
             Now the uttermost;

             Once 'twas ceaseless holding,
             Now he holds me fast;

             Once 'twas constant drifting,
             Now my anchor's cast.

             Once 'twas busy planning,
             Now 'tis trustful prayer;

             Once 'twas anxious caring,
             Now he has the care;

             Once 'twas what I wanted,
             Now what Jesus says;

             Once 'twas constant asking,
             Now 'tis ceaseless praise.

             Once it was my working,
             his it hence shall be;
            
             Once I tried to use him,
             Now he uses me;

             Once the power I wanted,
             Now the mighty one;

             Once for self I laboured,
             Now for him alone.

             Once I hoped in Jesus,
             Now I know he's mine;

             Once my lamps were dying,
             Now they brightly shine;

             Once for death I waited,
             Now his coming hail,

             And my hopes are anchored,
             Save within the veil.


COME. - James Smith

1. And Rest, Matt. 11:28
2. And See, John 1:39
3. And Drink, John 7:37
4. And Dine, John 21:12
5. And Follow Me, Mark 10:21
6. And Rest Awhile, Mark 6:31
7. And Inherit, Matt. 25:34


The Invitations of Scripture - Rod Mattoon

1. The invitation to Reason—
Isaiah 1:18—Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

2. The invitation to Rest—
Matthew 11:28—Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

3. The invitation to Reside with the Lord—
John 14:3—And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4. The invitation to Request your needs before the Lord—
Hebrews 4:16—Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

5. The invitation of Relinquishment or surrender to the Lord—
Mark 10:21—Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

6. The invitation to Revival—
2 Chronicles 7:14—If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

7. The Rearmost invitation or last one—
Revelation 22:17—And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


Oswald Chambers - Getting there

Where the self-interest sleeps and the real interest awakens: Master, where dwellest Thou?… Come and see.… Come with Me. John 1:39.

“They abode with Him that day.” That is about all some of us ever do, then we wake up to actualities, self-interest arises and the abiding is passed. There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.

“Thou art Simon, thou shalt be called Cephas.” God writes the new name on those places only in our lives where He has erased the pride and self-sufficiency and self-interest. Some of us have the new name in spots only, like spiritual measles. In sections we look all right. When we have our best spiritual mood on, you would think we were very high-toned saints; but don’t look at us when we are not in that mood. The disciple is one who has the new name written all over him; self-interest and pride and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.

Pride is the deification of self, and this to-day in some of us is not of the order of the Pharisee, but of the publican. To say ‘Oh, I’m no saint,’ is acceptable to human pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. It literally means that you defy God to make you a saint. ‘I am much too weak and hopeless, I am outside the reach of the Atonement.’ Humility before men may be unconscious blasphemy before God. Why are you not a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe God can make you one. It would be all right, you say, if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is just what He will do! “We will come unto Him, and make our abode with Him.” Make no conditions, let Jesus be everything, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for ever.


John 1:39 Come And See By David C. McCasland

Read: John 1:35-46
Come and see. —John 1:39

“Can you tell me where I can find the lightbulbs?”

“Sure. Come with me, and I’ll take you to them.”

In many large stores, employees are instructed to take customers to find what they are looking for rather than simply giving them verbal directions. This common act of courtesy and walking alongside an inquiring person may help us expand our concept of what it means to lead others to Christ.

In John 1, the phrase “come and see” occurs twice. When two curious disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus where He was staying, the Lord said, “Come and see” (v.39). After spending the day with Him, Andrew found his brother, Simon Peter, and brought him to Jesus (vv.40-41). Later, Philip told Nathanael he had found the Messiah. To Nathanael’s skeptical reply, Philip said, “Come and see” (v.46).

Witnessing for Christ can be a one-time event when we speak the good news about Him to others. But it may also involve walking alongside people who are seeking help and wholeness. Our genuine interest in their spiritual welfare, our prayers, and our involvement with them say without words, “Come and see. Let’s walk together, and I’ll take you to Him.” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The gospel has to be proclaimed,
Its truth we need to share;
But sometimes seekers also need
To see how much we care.
—Sper

  Kindness and compassion have led more people to Christ than proclamation alone.

John 1:40  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

BGT  John 1:40 Ἦν Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς Σίμωνος Πέτρου εἷς ἐκ τῶν δύο τῶν ἀκουσάντων παρὰ Ἰωάννου καὶ ἀκολουθησάντων αὐτῷ·

NET  John 1:40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus.

NLT  John 1:40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus.

ESV  John 1:40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

NIV  John 1:40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.

GNT  John 1:40 Ἦν Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς Σίμωνος Πέτρου εἷς ἐκ τῶν δύο τῶν ἀκουσάντων παρὰ Ἰωάννου καὶ ἀκολουθησάντων αὐτῷ·

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

YLT  John 1:40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard from John, and followed him;

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

CSB  John 1:40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him.

NKJ  John 1:40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

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

NAB  John 1:40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.

NJB  John 1:40 One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.

GWN  John 1:40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two disciples who heard John and followed Jesus.

RESPONSE TO REVELATION
"LAMB OF GOD" 

One of the two - Most writers agree that the second one was John, who wrote the Gospel, but who never identifies himself by name.

Who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother - The phrase heard John speak refers to John's words "Behold the Lamb of God" in John 1:36. Followed is in the plural so clearly not only Andrew followed Jesus, but so did the other disciple John. It is interesting that Simon Peter is mentioned even before he comes on the scene.

Vincent comments that "The mention of Simon Peter before he has appeared in the narrative indicates the importance which the Evangelist attaches to him. It seems to assume a knowledge of the evangelic narrative on the part of the readers." 

Robertson - The more formal call of Andrew and Simon, James and John, comes later (Mark 1:16ff+.=Matt. 4:18ff+=Luke 3:1–11+).

Vincent on Andrew - A name of Greek origin though in use among the Jews, from aner, man, and signifying manly. He was one of the two who came earliest to Christ (Matt. 4:18, 20; compare John 1:40, 41); and hence is always styled by the Greek fathers protokletos, first called.

Followed (190) see note on akoloutheo


Henry Morris - Truths to Live By

“He (Andrew) first findeth his own brother Simon…and he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:41,42)

The normal method of personal evangelism is for Christians to witness for Christ within the context of their daily lives. This does not mean that God never uses the “cold turkey” approach, that is, walking up to total strangers and presenting the Gospel to them. He does! But it is far more convincing when a believer witnesses to people who know him and who can see that Christ makes a difference in his life. This is what Simon did.

Walter Henrichsen tells of a young man who was extremely apprehensive about witnessing on his college campus. Henrichsen asked him, “Joe, how many students on campus do you know personally? By that I mean when they see you they know you by name.” After being there for a couple of months, he knew only two or three men.

“I said, ‘Joe, in the next four weeks, I want you to get to know as many students on campus as you can. Let’s set our goal at fifty students. You don’t have to witness to them. You don’t even have to tell them you are a Christian. All you have to do is get to know them. Stop by their rooms and chat with them. Play ping-pong with them. Go to athletic events with them. Go to meals together. Do anything you want, but get to know fifty men so that one month from today, when I return, you can introduce me to each one of them by name.’“

When Henrichsen met the young man a month later, this fellow had led six men to Christ. “We didn’t talk about whether he had gotten to know fifty people. We didn’t have to. He had discovered for himself that as he became friends with ‘the publicans and sinners,’ the Lord naturally provided opportunities for him to share his faith.”

With regard to this method of evangelizing within the context of our daily lives, two observations should be made. First, the life of the personal worker is important. It makes a difference whether he is walking close to the Lord. He may be ever so glib in presenting a prepackaged message, but if his life isn’t holy, it cancels out his message.

The second observation is that this method doesn’t put the emphasis on instant results, and that is in its favor. Jesus likened the salvation process to the growth of grain; you don’t harvest the crop the same day you plant the seed. It is true that some people are saved the first time they hear the gospel, but they represent a small fraction of the total. Generally speaking, conversion is preceded by a period of hearing the message, of being convicted of sin, and of resisting the voice of the Holy Spirit. 


James Smith - EVIDENCES OF SALVATION.

"That ye may know that ye have" (1 John 5:13).

Those who are in the enjoyment of salvation show it—

1. By praising God for it, 1 Peter 2:9.
2. By abhorring themselves, Job 42:5, 6.
3. By delighting in prayer, Acts 9:11.
4. By thirsting for the Word of God, Psa. 19:10.
5. By seeking to please the Lord, Col. 1:10.
6. By bringing others to Him, John 1:40-42


Question: Who was Andrew in the Bible?

Answer: Andrew in the Bible was a disciple of Jesus. Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother, and they were called to follow Jesus at the same time (Matthew 4:18). The Bible names Andrew as one of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2). Like Peter, Andrew was a fisherman by trade; they made their living on the Sea of Galilee. Peter and Andrew were from the city of Bethsaida (John 1:44) on the northwest coast of Galilee (John 12:21).

The call of Andrew in the Bible is a memorable story. Andrew and John were originally disciples of John the Baptist. They were present when John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:35–36), and they followed after Jesus (verse 37). Jesus noticed Andrew and John following and invited them to come spend the day with Him (verses 38–39). After spending the time with Jesus, Andrew became convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and he took action: “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” (verses 40–42). Thus Andrew was one of Jesus’ first two followers and the first to bring another person to Him.

Later, Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee when He came across Andrew and Peter, busy casting nets into the lake in search of fish. Jesus called to them: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The Bible says that Andrew and Peter “immediately” followed Jesus, leaving their nets behind (verse 20). Andrew and Peter already knew who Jesus was, based on their contact with Him in John 1, and now when He officially calls them to be disciples, they respond.

In leaving behind the family business, Andrew sets a good example for all who would follow Christ; we are all called to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), and we should not let anything get in the way of following Jesus’ call. When Jesus told Andrew and Peter they would be “fishers of men,” He promised that He would use them to save men’s souls. And that’s exactly what the apostles did.

There is at least one instance in Andrew’s life, recorded in the Bible, where he was a “fisher of men.” Some Greeks approached Philip, one of Andrew’s fellow disciples, wanting to see Jesus (John 12:20–21). Philip told Andrew what the Greeks wanted, and together Andrew and Philip brought the matter to Jesus (verse 22). In bringing Greeks to Jesus, Andrew had faith that Jesus’ intention was to save all men, and he was right: Jesus responded by referencing His crucifixion, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). His death and resurrection would be the way by which all men, from all races and creeds and families, would be saved. These are the “fish of every kind” from Jesus’ parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47–50), and Andrew was one of the first to be involved in an evangelical effort that extended beyond the Jewish people. The incident with the curious Greeks anticipated the day when God would reveal to Peter, Andrew’s brother, that all people are welcome to come to Jesus (Acts 10:1–48).GotQuestions.org


From this Verse - Robert Morgan - Operation Alice - John 1:40-43
August 27

Crotchety old Alice was a terror to neighborhood children, stray dogs, and delivery boys. Her face was sour and surly. She waved her garden trowels and hedge-clippers like weapons in the faces of visitors.

When James and Jean Mader moved next door, they mustered their courage to speak to Alice about the Lord, but she cut them off. “I’ve been a member of the church all my life,” she snorted. “I don’t need the Bible to tell me what to do.”

The Maders looked for ways of befriending Alice, and slowly the relationship thawed. Still, Alice wanted nothing to do with the gospel.

During a community evangelistic campaign, the Maders became involved with a plan called “Operation Andrew,” based on John 1:42, about Andrew’s introducing his brother, Simon, to Christ. They listed ten people to pray for and to invite to the meetings. Alice’s name was at the top of the list, but she spurned their appeals. Still they prayed and looked for chances to witness.

One summer, returning from vacation, the Maders found Alice’s house empty. She was in a nursing home, having suffered a stroke. They visited her, bringing flowers and news from the neighborhood. Alice was unable to speak. They returned frequently with their family photos and tasty snacks. One day several months later, when Jim asked if he could read Psalm 23, she nodded.

Jim and Jean stopped by often, always sharing a Scripture passage. They noticed that Alice began fixing her gaze on him as he read instead of staring straight ahead as she had previously done. Finally Jim felt the time was right and asked, “Alice, do you want the Lord Jesus to forgive your sins and give you peace with God?” Alice indicated that she did, bowing her head and praying silently as Jim led her. When she raised her head, her eyes were wet with tears.

It had taken over twelve years.


THE NEED OF TESTIMONY. - James Smith 

"Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee" (Mark 5:19).

Note concerning this Testimony—

1. Where is it to begin? "Go home to thy friends." The first disciples were commanded to begin at Jerusalem (John 1:40-42).

2. Who are to give it? "Those for whom the Lord has done great things." Personal experience must come before witness-bearing. This was David's order (Psa. 51:12, 13; 66:16).

3. What is the nature of it? The great things which the Lord had done for him implied many things. There was a deliverance from—

1. SELF. "No man could tame him" (v. 4). But Jesus did. He is able to subdue the most stubborn will.
2. THE DEVIL (v. 15). "And such were some of you; but ye are washed, sanctified, and justified in Name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor. 6:11).
3. INSANITY. "He was clothed and in his right mind" (v. 15) The prodigal was first brought to himself before he came to his father (Luke 15:17) A Christless life is a life of madness. "They know not what they do."
4. DEATH. "He dwelt among the tombs" (v. 3). The spiritually dead prefer the company of the dead, they walk according to the course of this world.
5. SUFFERING. "He was in the tombs cutting himself with stones." The life of unbelief is a life of self-destruction. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself. Every sin committed is a cut inflicted on the soul.
6. FEAR. When the Lord came near, he said, "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God?" (v. 7), but after his salvation he "prayed that he might be with Him" (v. 18). The result of his testimony was that "All men did marvel" (v. 20). Great and marvellous are Thy works, O Lord. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so" (Psa. 107:2)

John 1:41  He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).

Lenski (more literally) - This one as the first finds his own brother Simon and tells him, We have found the Messiah, which is, when interpreted, Christ.

BGT  John 1:41 εὑρίσκει οὗτος πρῶτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Σίμωνα καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον χριστός.

NET  John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah!" (which is translated Christ).

NLT  John 1:41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means "Christ").

ESV  John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).

NIV  John 1:41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).

GNT  John 1:41 εὑρίσκει οὗτος πρῶτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Σίμωνα καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Χριστός·

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

YLT  John 1:41 this one doth first find his own brother Simon, and saith to him, 'We have found the Messiah,' (which is, being interpreted, The Anointed,)

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

CSB  John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah!" (which means "Anointed One"),

NKJ  John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah " (which is translated, the Christ).

NRS  John 1:41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed).

NAB  John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed).

NJB  John 1:41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and say to him, 'We have found the Messiah' -- which means the Christ-

GWN  John 1:41 Andrew at once found his brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means "Christ").

  • He found first his own brother Simon: Joh 1:36,37,45 4:28,29 2Ki 7:9 Isa 2:3-5 Lu 2:17,38 Ac 13:32,33 1Jn 1:3 
  • We have found the Messiah: John 4:25+ Da 9:25,26+ 
  • which translated means Christ Ps 2:2 45:7 89:20 Isa 11:2 61:1 Lu 4:18-21 Ac 4:27 10:38 Heb 1:8,9 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ANDREW TELLS SIMON
ABOUT THE MESSIAH

He found first his own brother Simon (see below on Simon) and said to him - Andrew first told Simon Peter (see note below). Found is "vivid dramatic present" (ATR) Found (heurisko) is a key verb in this section - first they say we have found the Messiah (Jn 1:41), the next day the Messiah found Philip (Jn 1:43) and then Philip found Nathanael and told him they had found the One Who the OT prophesied to be the Messiah (Jn 1:45)! Where was Simon when Andrew found him? The text does not say, but he must have been nearby because Simon's fishing business was some 70 miles to the north and would have been a several days journey. 

THOUGHT - When a person finds Jesus, he usually wants his relatives to meet Him too. Salvation is too good to keep to oneself. I remember when I first met Jesus, I felt a deep compulsion to tell all my relatives. No one told me about "witnessing" and I was so persistent that some relatives warned me to stop talking about Jesus or they did not want to see me anymore! Have you told your relatives about Jesus? It is Christmas Day, 2020 as I write this note -- telling someone about Jesus is the very best Christmas present you could every give another soul! As MacDonald says "It was only five words—“We have found the Messiah”—yet God used it to win Peter. This teaches us that we do not have to be great preachers or clever speakers. We need only to tell men about the Lord Jesus in simple words, and God will take care of the rest."

Found (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover (Mt 7:7), to find accidentally or without seeking (Mt 12:44), to experience for oneself and to to obtain or procure (He 9:12). Figuratively, heurisko speaks of a spiritual or intellectual discovery gained through observation = reflection, perception, investigation (Ro 7:21). Because heurisko is such a common verb and has various meanings, always examine the context to help you discern the most appropriate definition.

THOUGHT Eureka is an exclamation of triumph on discovering or solving something and literally means"I have found (it)" (first person singular perfect indicative active of the verb heurisko) and was supposedly exclaimed by Archimedes upon discovering how to measure the volume of an irregular solid and thereby determine the purity of a gold object. In John chapter 1 Andrew and John in effect shouted "Eureka" as if they had struck "pure gold" for they had discovered someone infinitely more precious, the "Pure God," the Messiah, the Son of God. Men search for gold which too often blinds them to their more important need which is to search for God. Have you discovered the "Pure God" or are you still vainly searching for pure gold? The former search will end in everlasting bliss in Heaven, while the latter will end in eternal punishment in Hell. May the words of Jeremiah reflect the desire of your heart dear reader "'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13). Ponder the words of Jesus regarding the verb found (heurisko

Mt 13:44-46+ The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found (heurisko) and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding (heurisko) one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Lenski - At best our seeking is only like a blind groping which would be useless if God in his mercy did not lay the great treasure so near us, direct our groping hands and blind eyes to it until, touching it at last, lo, we find it! Andrew’s finding his own brother, John’s finding his, is an excellent example of home mission zeal. Also from the very start we see a communion of saints in the following of Jesus: first two, whose faith is so blended together in the moment of its origin that we cannot tell which was the first, that of John or that of Andrew. And at once the number doubles, and the two are increased to four with two more immediately to join the four. This is how the church has grown and still grows to the present day. (See Spurgeon's related comment)

We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ) - This is their "Eureka" moment, discovering the Treasure of treasures, the Messiah! Note the plural "WE" - Andrew and John. The fact that both were convinced would have fueled Simon's conviction of the same truth. It is easy to miss how startling this declaration must have been to Peter, because for centuries the nation of Israel had been looking for the Messiah! It must have shocked Peter. Found is in the perfect tense indicating they had discovered this truth in the past, but the effect of that grand truth was continuing in the present!

It is important to keep in mind that in the Jewish mindset in the first century, the Messiah was also considered to be the Son of God.

Matthew 26:63-64 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ (MESSIAH) the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” 

Mark 14:61-62+  But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”

Luke 22:67-70+ “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” 70 And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”

Jn 20:31+.but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (MESSIAH), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Wiersbe points out that "Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom.  There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53 - see Jewish Tradition of Two Messiahs), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35). Whether or not Jesus was indeed the Messiah was a crucial problem that challenged the Jews in that day (John 7:26, 40–44; 9:22; 10:24).(BEC)

Yes they found the Messiah, but the truth is the Messiah found them! Spurgeon writes "Do not get worrying yourselves, as some of you do, about God's eternal purpose, and about the secret working of the Holy Spirit, and about how this can be consistent with your following Christ when he bids you. They are perfectly consistent. Some persons have asked me at times to reconcile these two things; and I have said to them, "Very well, tell me the difficulties, and I will reconcile them . . .” There is no quarrel between them, and I have no time to waste on needless argument. Come you to Christ; and if you do, it will be because the Holy Spirit draws you. If you find the Saviour, it will be because the Saviour first found you. Perhaps, in heaven, you may see some difficulties, and get them explained; down here, you need not see them, and you need not ask to have them explained. Salvation is all of God's grace, from first to last; yet is it true that the grace of God leads men to do what Moses did, according to our subject this morning,—to make a choice and to choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. God grant that you may make an equally wise choice!

Related Resources:

Robertson - Andrew and John had made the greatest discovery of the ages, far beyond gold or diamond mines. The Baptist had told about him. “We have seen him.”

What did they understand about the Messiah at this time? We cannot be sure, but the term in its fullness spoke of  a "coming one," the expected "Anointed One" who was anointed prophet, priest and king. There is little question that Jesus "unpacked" the Old Testament Scriptures that spoke of Him as they stayed with Him in John 1:38 and from the Word of God it became clear that Jesus was the Messiah. And of course the Holy Spirit was at work in the background, opening the eyes of the hearts of Andrew and John to the Word of Truth. 

“We have found Him Whom all Israel has been looking for!”
- Lenski

Lenski - Let us not miss the tremendousness of the announcement. The verb states a fact not a supposition, not a surmise, not a deduction, but an unqualified fact. Andrew did not think he had found; he had found and he knew he had. John retains Andrew’s “the Messiah” in the Aramaic just as he keeps “Rabbi” in v. 38, and writes Cephas in v. 42, though in each case he translates for his Greek readers....The Messianic hope had in the first place drawn these men to leave their fishing nets up in Galilee and to come down to the lower reaches of the Jordan where the Baptist, the great herald of the promised Messiah, was baptizing. They had not been disappointed in him although he was only the advance herald. Now, however, their highest hopes were coming to fulfillment: they have found the Messiah himself

As MacArthur points out, while they came to have an understanding that Jesus was the Messiah, this "does not mean, however, that they fully understood the implications of Jesus’ messiahship; the disciples’ understanding of that would grow over the years they spent with Him." (Ibid)

Steven Cole -  You may wonder how the disciples knew at this early stage that Jesus was the promised Messiah when the Synoptic Gospels indicate that they didn’t seem to understand truly who He was until much later. It wasn’t until Matthew 16:16 when Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” But here Andrew is proclaiming Jesus as the Christ from the outset. The answer is probably that the disciples, like many in that day, were looking for the Messiah. But they had a different idea of what that Messiah would be and what He would do for them than what Jesus came to do (Morris, p. 160). You’ll recall that even right after Peter gave his great confession of Jesus as the Christ, he rebuked Jesus for saying that He was going to be killed and raised up on the third day (Matt. 16:21-23). That didn’t fit with Peter’s expectation of the Messiah as a conquering King whose rule would usher in a golden age for Israel. The disciples had to learn that He was the suffering servant of Isaiah 53+ before He would return as the King over the nations (Rev. 19:11-16+).

NET Note - Naturally part of Andrew’s concept of the Messiah would have been learned from John the Baptist (Jn 1:40). However, there were a number of different messianic expectations in 1st century Palestine (cf  “Who are you?” in Jn 1:19+), and it would be wrong to assume that what Andrew meant here is the same thing the author means in the purpose statement at the end of the Fourth Gospel, Jn 20:31+. The issue here is not whether the disciples’ initial faith in Jesus as Messiah was genuine or not, but whether their concept of Who Jesus was grew and developed progressively as they spent time following Him, until finally after His resurrection it is affirmed in the climactic statement of John’s Gospel, the affirmation of Thomas in Jn 20:28. Concerning the Christ, the term christos was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for Anointed One, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development (of CHRISTOS) starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the Gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.

While it was likely that the disciples were familiar with the OT, we cannot know for certain whether they had read and understood Messianic prophecies like Daniel 9 which prophesied the time when the Messiah would come to Israel and would be "cut off" (crucified).  It is certainly possible that Jesus opened their eyes to understand these passages as they stayed with Him.

So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah (mashiach; Lxx = Christos) the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah (mashiach; Aramaic = Meshiha; Lxx = Christos) will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. (Da 9:25,26+)

We also know that Messianic expectations were running high at this time, Luke 3:15+ recording

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ (THE MESSIAH)

We learn later in John's Gospel that even the Samaritan woman had some understanding of the Messiah declaring...

“I know that Messiah (messias) is coming (He who is called Christ  [Christos])); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us." John 4:25+ 

Comment - Note that John's parenthetical statement demonstrates that Christ was synonymous with Messiah in the eyes of the Jews in the time of Jesus. A number of English translations therefore often translate Christos as Messiah. For more discussion on Messiah as the Coming One see see Messianic Expectations.

Messiah (3323)(messias) is the Hellenized transliteration of mashiach/masiah and means a consecrated or anointed one. Messias is a masculine proper noun which corresponds to the Greek word Christos, Christ. Messias is used only twice in the NT (not at all in the Septuagint) both uses illustrating the correspondence of Messias and Christos - here and John 4:25 quoted above. In passages where the Hebrew mashiach is used it is translated with Christos,.(e.g. 1 Sa. 16:6; 2 Sa. 1:14). 

Translated (interpreted)(3177) see note on methermeneuo

In summary three English terms are virtually synonymous -- MESSIAH = THE ANOINTED ONE = THE CHRIST

In the Old Testament three major groups were anointed for consecrated (set apart) service - kings, priests and prophets. Jesus fulfilled all three offices - Prophet (Dt 18:15, 18), Priest (Heb 4:14+), and King (Rev 19:16+, Rev 17:14+).

Christ (Anointed One) (5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) properly is an adjective not a noun meaning "anointed." It describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). Christos describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. It is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah." Christos is used in the Septuagint describing everyone anointed with the holy oil, especially the priesthood (Lev. 4:5+, Lev 4:16+) and it is also a name applied to those who were acting as redeemers like Cyrus. Vincent adds that "To us “Christ” has become a proper name, and is therefore written without the definite article; but, in the body of the gospel narratives, since the identity of Jesus with the promised Messiah is still in question with the people, the article is habitually used, and the name should therefore be translated “the Christ.” After the resurrection, when the recognition of Jesus as Messiah has become general, we find the word beginning to be used as a proper name, with or without the article." 

Christ in John  - Jn. 1:17; Jn. 1:20; Jn. 1:25; Jn. 1:41; Jn. 3:28; Jn. 4:25; Jn. 4:29; Jn. 7:26; Jn. 7:27; Jn. 7:31; Jn. 7:41; Jn. 7:42; Jn. 9:22; Jn. 10:24; Jn. 11:27; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 17:3; Jn. 20:3


Spurgeon - Evening Thought - John 1:41

This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where spiritual life is vigorous. As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others. I will not believe that thou hast tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all thyself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and then others. Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual efforts. Andrew, thou didst well to begin with Simon. I doubt whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at other people's houses who would do well to give away a tract at their own-whether there are not some engaged in works of usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of usefulness at home. Thou mayst or thou mayst not be called to evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly thou art called to see after thine own servants, thine own kinsfolk and acquaintance. Let thy religion begin at home. Many tradesmen export their best commodities-the Christian should not. He should have all his conversation everywhere of the best savour; but let him have a care to put forth the sweetest fruit of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon would become. Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews so far as we can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental in bringing him to Jesus. You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service. Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go thou and do likewise.


John 1:41 Finding And Telling By Richard De Haan

Read: John 1:35-42

He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah." —John 1:41

Many years ago some prospectors were panning for gold in Montana when one of them found an unusual stone. Breaking it open, he saw that it contained gold. Working eagerly, the men soon discovered an abundance of the precious metal. With unrestrained delight they shouted, “We’ve found it! We’ve found gold! We’re rich!”

Before going into town for supplies, they agreed not to tell a soul about their find. While in town, not one of them breathed a word about their discovery. When they were about to return to camp, though, a group of men had gathered and were ready to follow them.

“You’ve found gold,” the group said. “Who told you?” asked the prospectors. “No one,” they replied. “Your faces showed it!”

It’s much like that when a person discovers Christ. The joy of sins forgiven and a new relationship with Him shows on that person’s face and in his transformed life.

Those miners, of course, wanted to keep quiet about their find, but we as Christians should be eager to let people know about ours. Finding Christ is life’s greatest discovery, and our joy increases when we share it with others. As believers, our highest delight is both in finding and in telling. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Let us serve the Lord with gladness
    And enthusiastic praise,
    Telling all who do not know Him
    Of His great and wondrous ways.
—Sper

The good news of Christ is too good to keep to yourself.


John 1:41 The Greatest Discovery

The renowned physician Sir James Simpson was the first to employ ether in obstetrics and to discover the important qualities and proper use of chloroform. A group of young scientists who highly respected Dr. Simpson asked him, "What do you count as the most outstanding discovery you have ever made?"

With tears welling up in his eyes he lifted his head and said, "Young men, the greatest discovery I have ever made is that Jesus Christ is my Savior; that is by far the most important thing a person can ever come to know!" Yes, one can make no greater discovery than this. Whenever men have "found" Jesus Christ they have learned that He makes good on His promises and by His transforming power does something wonderful for them, in them, and through them.

While it is true that for Andrew, Philip, John, Peter, and the rest of the Twelve, "finding Christ" meant poverty, hardship, suf­fering, persecution, and, in fact, death by execution for most; yet they also discovered in Him a Savior, Lord, Companion and Friend. Those who come to know the Lord today find Him equal­ly precious. As a pastor I have spoken to parents a few moments after a child was suddenly snatched from them by an automobile accident, a drowning, or a brief illness. I have been present as a husband or wife passed from time into eternity, thus disrupting the closest of all human ties; and yet the surviving loved ones experienced God's peace and comfort. I have stood at the bed-side of men who had suffered a severe coronary attack — when their life was still in jeopardy — who have calmly testified to our Lord's keeping and sustaining power. Several have exclaimed, "God's way is best. If He wishes to take me, I am ready." Yes, I have seen Christians experience all kinds of sorrow, heartache, and disappointment; but in every case when they were in fellow-ship with Jesus Christ, I have witnessed in their lives God's strengthening power. The Lord has never failed those who have put their trust in Him. Have you discovered Jesus Christ?

Christ is not valued at all, until He is valued above all! —Augustine


Question: Who was Peter in the Bible?

Answer: Simon Peter, also known as Cephas (John 1:42), was one of the first followers of Jesus Christ. He was an outspoken and ardent disciple, one of Jesus’ closest friends, an apostle, and a “pillar” of the church (Galatians 2:9). Peter was enthusiastic, strong-willed, impulsive, and, at times, brash. But for all his strengths, Peter had several failings in his life. Still, the Lord who chose him continued to mold him into exactly who He intended Peter to be.

Simon was originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and lived in Capernaum (Mark 1:29), both cities on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was married (1 Corinthians 9:5), and he and James and John were partners in a profitable fishing business (Luke 5:10). Simon met Jesus through his brother Andrew, who had followed Jesus after hearing John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35-36). Andrew immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), which means “rock” (John 1:40-42). Later, Jesus officially called Peter to follow Him, producing a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-7). Immediately, Peter left everything behind to follow the Lord (verse 11).

For the next three years, Peter lived as a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Being a natural-born leader, Peter became the de facto spokesman for the Twelve (Matthew 15:15, 18:21, 19:27; Mark 11:21; Luke 8:45, 12:41; John 6:68, 13:6-9, 36). More significantly, it was Peter who first confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” a truth which Jesus said was divinely revealed to Peter (Matthew 16:16-17).

Peter was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, along with James and John. Only those three were present when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Matthew 17:1). Peter and John were given the special task of preparing the final Passover meal (Luke 22:8).

In several instances, Peter showed himself to be impetuous to the point of rashness. For example, it was Peter who left the boat to walk on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29)—and promptly took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink (verse 30). It was Peter who took Jesus aside to rebuke Him for speaking of His death (Matthew 16:22)—and was swiftly corrected by the Lord (verse 23). It was Peter who suggested erecting three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matthew 17:4)—and fell to the ground in fearful silence at God’s glory (verses 5-6). It was Peter who drew his sword and attacked the servant of the high priest (John 18:10)—and was immediately told to sheath his weapon (verse 11). It was Peter who boasted that he would never forsake the Lord, even if everyone else did (Matthew 26:33)—and later denied three times that he even knew the Lord (verses 70-74).

Through all of Peter’s ups and downs, the Lord Jesus remained his loving Lord and faithful Guide. Jesus reaffirmed Simon as Peter, the “Rock,” in Matthew 16:18-19, promising that he would be instrumental in establishing Jesus’ Church. After His resurrection, Jesus specifically named Peter as one who needed to hear the good news (Mark 16:7). And, repeating the miracle of the large catch of fish, Jesus made a special point of forgiving and restoring Peter and re-commissioning him as an apostle (John 21:6, 15-17).

On the day of Pentecost, Peter was the main speaker to the crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14ff), and the Church began with an influx of about 3,000 new believers (verse 41). Later, Peter healed a lame beggar (Acts 3) and preached boldly before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4). Even arrest, beatings, and threats could not dampen Peter’s resolve to preach the risen Christ (Acts 5).

Jesus’ promise that Peter would be foundational in building the Church was fulfilled in three stages: Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Then, he was present when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). Finally, he was summoned to the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius, who also believed and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). In this way, Peter “unlocked” three different worlds and opened the door of the Church to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles.

Even as an apostle, Peter experienced some growing pains. At first, he had resisted taking the gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile. However, when he saw the Romans receive the Holy Spirit in the same manner he had, Peter concluded that “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34). After that, Peter strongly defended the Gentiles’ position as believers and was adamant that they did not need to conform to Jewish law (Acts 15:7-11).

Another episode of growth in Peter’s life concerns his visit to Antioch, where he enjoyed the fellowship of Gentile believers. However, when some legalistic Jews arrived in Antioch, Peter, to appease them, withdrew from the Gentile Christians. The Apostle Paul saw this as hypocrisy and called it such to Peter’s face (Galatians 2:11-14).

Later in life, Peter spent time with John Mark (1 Peter 5:13), who wrote the gospel of Mark based on Peter’s remembrances of his time with Jesus. Peter wrote two inspired epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, between A.D. 60 and 68. Jesus said that Peter would die a martyr’s death (John 21:18-19)—a prophecy fulfilled, presumably, during Nero’s reign. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome, and, although such the story may be true, there is no scriptural or historical witness to the particulars of Peter’s death.

What can we learn from Peter’s life? Here are a few lessons:

Jesus overcomes fear. Whether stepping out of a boat onto a tossing sea or stepping across the threshold of a Gentile home for the first time, Peter found courage in following Christ. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Jesus forgives unfaithfulness. After he had boasted of his fidelity, Peter fervently denied the Lord three times. It seemed that Peter had burned his bridges, but Jesus lovingly rebuilt them and restored Peter to service. Peter was a former failure, but, with Jesus, failure is not the end. “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Jesus patiently teaches. Over and over, Peter needed correction, and the Lord gave it with patience, firmness, and love. The Master Teacher looks for students willing to learn. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8).

Jesus sees us as He intends us to be. The very first time they met, Jesus called Simon “Peter.” The rough and reckless fisherman was, in Jesus’ eyes, a firm and faithful rock. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus uses unlikely heroes. Peter was a fisherman from Galilee, but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:10). Because Peter was willing to leave all he had to follow Jesus, God used him in great ways. As Peter preached, people were amazed at his boldness because he was “unschooled” and “ordinary.” But then they took note that Peter “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Being with Jesus makes all the difference. GotQuestions.org


What Do Orthodox Jews Believe about the Messiah?

"Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith (principle #12), the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service… The term "mashiach" literally means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days. The word "mashiach" does not mean "savior." The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. Unfortunately, this Christian concept has become so deeply ingrained in the English word "messiah" that this English word can no longer be used to refer to the Jewish concept. (Read the fill page - The Messiah)


Related Resources (several not Christian but included to give perspective):


John 1:41 Sharing the Gospel

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Alexander Whyte pastored a large church in Edinburgh. During that time, a salesman by the name of Rigby would travel to Edinburgh regularly just to hear him preach. He would often invite other businessmen to accompany him to the services.

One Sunday morning he asked a fellow traveler to go to church with him. Reluctantly, the man said yes. When he heard Whyte’s message, he was so impressed that he returned with Rigby to the evening meeting. As the preacher spoke, the man trusted Christ as his Savior.

The next morning, as Rigby walked by the home of Pastor Whyte, he felt impressed to stop and tell him how his message had affected the other man’s life. When Whyte learned that his caller’s name was Rigby, he exclaimed, “You’re the man I’ve wanted to see for years!” He went to his study and returned with a bundle of letters. Alexander Whyte read Rigby some excerpts—all telling of changed lives. they were men Rigby had brought to hear the gospel. Like the Samaritans who had been led to Jesus by the woman at the well, these men “believed in Him because of the word” of Rigby. Source unknown

John 1:42  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

BGT  John 1:42 ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωάννου, σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς, ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος.

NET  John 1:42 Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon, the son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

NLT  John 1:42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, "Your name is Simon, son of John-- but you will be called Cephas" (which means "Peter").

ESV  John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

NIV  John 1:42 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).

GNT  John 1:42 ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωάννου, σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς, ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:42 and he brought him unto Jesus: and having looked upon him, Jesus saith, 'Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas, thou shalt be called Cephas,' (which is interpreted, A rock.)

ASV  John 1:42 He brought him unto Jesus. Jesus looked upon him, and said, Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter).

CSB  John 1:42 and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, "You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which means "Rock").

NKJ  John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas " (which is translated, A Stone).

NRS  John 1:42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

NAB  John 1:42 Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas" (which is translated Peter).

NJB  John 1:42 and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas' -- which means Rock.

GWN  John 1:42 Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and said, "You are Simon, son of John. Your name will be Cephas" (which means "Peter").

  • You are Simon: Joh 1:47,48 2:24,25 6:70,71 13:18 
  • the son of John: Joh 21:15-17, Jonas, Mt 16:17, Barjona
  • called (KJV): 1Co 1:12 3:22 9:5 15:5 Ga 2:9 
  • which is translated Peter, Joh 21:2 Mt 10:2 16:18 Mk 3:16 Lu 5:8 6:14 
  • John 1:42 Everyday Usefulness - Spurgeon
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BRINGING A BROTHER
TO JESUS

He brought him to Jesus - NET = "Andrew brought Simon to Jesus." Some people are "goers" (a word some use for missionaries going overseas) but Andrew was a "bringer" so to speak! As MacArthur says "Here, as in his other two appearances in John’s gospel, Andrew brings someone to meet Christ. In Jn 6:8–9 he brought a young boy with barley loaves and fish to Him before the feeding of the 5,000, while in Jn 12:20–22 he brought some Greeks to meet Him." (MNTC-Jn) Lord, by Your Spirit empower all of Your children to be "bringers" of souls to Jesus. Amen.

Related Resources:

MacDonald - Andrew brought his brother to the right place and to the right Person. He did not bring him to the church, the creed, or the clergyman. He brought him to Jesus. What an important act that was! (BBC)

Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John - Note first from the context it appears as if Jesus spoke Simon's name before they were actually introduced. This surely would have arrested Simon's attention. Note also how we have the father's name added (the son of John) just as we saw above with Jesus (son of Joseph). Jesus looked (emblepo) at Simon, fixing his gaze upon him, just as the Baptist had looked (emblepo) at Jesus (Jn 1:36+). Simon's name is from the Hebrew shama meaning to hear. 

Steven Cole -  Jesus’ opening words to Peter must have been a bit jarring (1:42), “‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).” How would you feel if the first words out of the mouth of someone you just met were to change your name? Peter may have thought, “I need to run for cover!” But there was something so captivating about Jesus that Peter submitted to Jesus’ agenda for his life. Jesus has that kind of authority and power. He begins with us right where we’re at, but He changes us into what He wants us to be. If I were Jesus and knew what He knew about Peter, I might have said, “Nice to meet you, Simon,” and left it at that. Jesus knew beforehand that Peter would fail Him miserably, but He also knew how He would change Peter into the bold apostle who preached on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 were saved. In the same way, Jesus knows all about you and your future before you ever meet Him. He graciously begins with you in your immaturity and selfish reasons for following Him, but He gradually begins to teach you that following Him means denying yourself and taking up your cross (Matt. 16:24-27). He shows you how much you must suffer for His name’s sake (Acts 9:16+). We’ve seen that there is far more about Jesus than we can ever know. We begin with Him by trusting Him as our Lamb that God has provided to take away our sins. Jesus begins with us where we’re at, but He begins to change us into what He wants us to be.

Looked (1689) see note on emblepo in Jn 1:36 - Jesus looked attentively or with careful attention. It is fascinating that emblepo is used here at their first meeting and then in Luke 22:61+ when Peter denied Jesus three times and "The Lord turned and looked (emblepo) at Peter."

Simon (4613) (Simon) is a Greek form of the Hebrew name Simeon (from Hebrew shama = to hear.) and was a proper name common in Jesus' day. It is associated with 9 individuals in the Bible -   1. Simon Peter = Cephas Mt 4:18; Mk 1:16; Lk 4:38 and often. See Pe,troj.—2. Simon, another of the 12 disciples, called Simon (the Canaanite) the Zealot, Mt. 10:4; Mt 10:4; Mk 3:18  Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13 .—3. name of a brother of Jesus Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3.—4. Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26.—5. father of Judas Iscariot Jn 6:71; 12:4 26 .—6. Simon the leper Mt 26:6; Mk 14:3.—7. Simon the Pharisee Lk 7:40, 43f.—8. Simon the tanner in Joppa Ac 9:43 ; 10:6, 17, 32b.—9. Simon the magician Ac 8:9, 13, 18, 24

Simon - 76x in 70v - Simon(71), Simon Simon(1), Simon's(5). Matt. 4:18; Matt. 10:2; Matt. 10:4; Matt. 13:55; Matt. 16:16; Matt. 16:17; Matt. 17:25; Matt. 26:6; Matt. 27:32; Mk. 1:16; Mk. 1:29; Mk. 1:30; Mk. 1:36; Mk. 3:16; Mk. 3:18; Mk. 6:3; Mk. 14:3; Mk. 14:37; Mk. 15:21; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 5:3; Lk. 5:4; Lk. 5:5; Lk. 5:8; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 6:14; Lk. 6:15; Lk. 7:40; Lk. 7:43; Lk. 7:44; Lk. 22:31; Lk. 23:26; Lk. 24:34; Jn. 1:40; Jn. 1:41; Jn. 1:42; Jn. 6:8; Jn. 6:68; Jn. 6:71; Jn. 13:2; Jn. 13:6; Jn. 13:9; Jn. 13:24; Jn. 13:26; Jn. 13:36; Jn. 18:10; Jn. 18:15; Jn. 18:25; Jn. 20:2; Jn. 20:6; Jn. 21:2; Jn. 21:3; Jn. 21:7; Jn. 21:11; Jn. 21:15; Jn. 21:16; Jn. 21:17; Acts 1:13; Acts 8:9; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:18; Acts 8:24; Acts 9:43; Acts 10:5; Acts 10:6; Acts 10:17; Acts 10:18; Acts 10:32; Acts 11:13; 2 Pet. 1:1

  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Simon
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Simon
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Simon
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NTSimon

You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter) - Cephas is Aramaic so John translates it for us as "Peter." In a sense this is a prophecy and clearly implies that Simon was destined to be a follower/disciple of Jesus. Simon is who Peter was now, but Cephas is who he would become in the future. 

Swindoll has an interesting practical comment - John’s narrative never fully explains the significance of this encounter (PETER MEETING JESUS) or the reason for the changed name. We can observe Peter’s character and then speculate based on his transformation, but one guess is as good as another. This, however, is certain: Jesus saw people not as what they were, but as who they would ultimately become. And the same is true today—for you and for me. (NTI-Jn) (Bold added)

Mattoon - This passage shows how Jesus looks at men. Jesus not only sees a man as he is, but also what he will become and what is his potential. The Lord Jesus Christ not only sees the actualities in a man, but also the possibilities.

NET NOTE on which is translated Peter - "This is a parenthetical note by the author. The change of name from Simon to Cephas is indicative of the future role he will play. Only John among the Gospel writers gives the Greek transliteration (Kēphas) of Simon’s new name, Qéphâ (which is Galilean Aramaic). Neither Petros in Greek nor Qéphâ in Aramaic is a normal proper name; it is more like a nickname." (NET)

Cephas (2786) (Kēphás) means rock and is the Aramaic surname Jesus gave to Peter. Simon (4613)  in the Greek is rendered Pétros (4074) the masculine form of petra (a massive rock), which means stone, usually a large stone or piece of a rock which one might throw. 

Cephas - 9v - Jn. 1:42; 1 Co. 1:12; 1 Co. 3:22; 1 Co. 9:5; 1 Co. 15:5; Gal. 1:18; Gal. 2:9; Gal. 2:11; Gal. 2:14

  • Easton's Bible Dictionary Cephas
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Cephas
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Cephas
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Cephas

Translated (interpret) (2059)(hermeneuo [noun = hermeneia] which some say is from Hermes the pagan god of language - our English Hermeneutics - study or science of interpretation of Scripture) (see ISBE Article) means to interpret, to explain in words (expound) or to translate what has been spoken or written in a foreign language. The idea in some contexts is to help someone understand a subject or matter by making it plain. In the present context the idea is the rendering of words in a different language (which also makes them understandable).

Peter (4074)(petros; Latin = Petrus) is a masculine proper noun which means a "stone" and generally a smaller stone than the feminine form petra which refers to a massive rock or a foundation boulder (eg Mt 7:24+). Peter is the Greek equivalent of the Syriac or Aramaic name Cephas (Kephas from Aramaic kay fah) which was assigned to Simon by Jesus. In classical Greek the word means a piece of rock, as in Homer, of Ajax throwing a stone at Hector (“Iliad,” vii., 270), or of Patroclus grasping and hiding in his hand a jagged stone (“Iliad,” xvi., 734). Peter is found 155x in 150v in the NT.  

Holman Bible Dictionary - Personal name meaning, “Rock.” Four names are used in the New Testament to refer to Peter: the Hebrew name Simeon ( Acts 15:14 ); the Greek equivalent Simon (nearly fifty times in the Gospels and Acts); Cephas , most frequently used by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:12 ; 1 Corinthians 3:22 ; 1 Corinthians 9:5 ; 1 Corinthians 15:5 ; Galatians 1:18 ; Galatians 2:9 ,Galatians 2:9,2:11 ,Galatians 2:11,2:14 ) and occurring only once outside his writings (John 1:42 ). Cephas and Peter both mean rock . Simon is often found in combination with Peter , reminding the reader that Simon was the earlier name and that Peter was a name given later by Jesus. The name Peter dominates the New Testament usage.

John 1:43  The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow Me."

BGT  John 1:43 Τῇ ἐπαύριον ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ εὑρίσκει Φίλιππον. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀκολούθει μοι.

NET  John 1:43 On the next day Jesus wanted to set out for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."

NLT  John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Come, follow me."

ESV  John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."

NIV  John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."

GNT  John 1:43 Τῇ ἐπαύριον ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ εὑρίσκει Φίλιππον. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἀκολούθει μοι.

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

YLT  John 1:43 On the morrow, he willed to go forth to Galilee, and he findeth Philip, and saith to him, 'Be following me.'

ASV  John 1:43 On the morrow he was minded to go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip: and Jesus saith unto him, Follow me.

CSB  John 1:43 The next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, "Follow Me!"

NKJ  John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me."

NRS  John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."

NAB  John 1:43 The next day he decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me."

NJB  John 1:43 The next day, after Jesus had decided to leave for Galilee, he met Philip and said, 'Follow me.'

GWN  John 1:43 The next day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee. He found Philip and told him, "Follow me!"


POSSIBLE LOCATION OF CANA IN GALILEE

THE FOURTH DAY
CALLING A DISCIPLE

The next day He purposed (thelo - wanted, decided) to go into Galilee - A Deliberate Encounter - NET = "the next day Jesus wanted to set out for Galilee." This is the day after Andrew found Peter and Peter found Jesus. (Jn 1:41, 42) See discussion of days in note on Jn 1:35. For the next day go to John 2:1+ which therefore suggests Jesus purposed to leave the region of the Jordan River (where the Baptist was baptizing) and go into Galilee in order to attend the wedding in Cana (about a 2-3 day trip north) and perform His first sign in John's Gospel (Jn 2:11+). 

Stevenson - Whereas the previous day has spent at the place where Jesus was staying, this day sees Jesus going out with all deliberation. He has a purpose. He is not just aimlessly gathering disciples and wandering through the hills of Palestine. There is a determination present. There is a definite plan as He purposes to go into Galilee. There are some who tend to think that Christians ought never to make plans; that we ought to merely be like a soap bubble that blows in the wind. The Bible does not teach such a view. Jesus had a very specific plan and purpose in mind.

MacDonald - Bosch points out that on the first day we see John only (vv.15–28); on the second we see John and Jesus (vv. 29–34); on the third we see Jesus and John (vv. 35–42); and on the fourth day we see Jesus only (vv. 43–51).

MacArthur - Unlike the first disciples (Andrew, John, Peter, and possibly James), who were introduced to Jesus by another person, Jesus took the initiative in calling Philip. In any case, whoever initiates the contact, those who come to Christ do so only because God first sought them. In John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” while in John 15:16 He added, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you.”  (Ibid)

John Stevenson - We read that Jesus found Philip. If you had asked Philip about his conversion experience, he might have said that he found Jesus. We talk about finding God as though He were lost and needed to be found. That is not the case. Jesus found Philip. He has found you and He has found me, too.

And He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow Me." - A Commanding Call - Ponder this a moment -- Did He say anything before He gave this command? How did Jesus know Philip? Why did He seek him out? Note that in the previous verses the men had been following Jesus, but now Jesus ups the ante so to speak for He is calling them to follow Him as His disciples. That meant they had to count the cost, for they had been disciples of the Baptist. To follow Jesus as a disciple will always cost the prospective disciple. Jesus made much clearer later when He declared (note Jesus gives 3 commands in Mk 8:34)  (See The Crux of Christianity - Franklin Kirksey) (See What is the effectual calling/call?)

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny (aorist imperative) himself, and take up (aorist imperative) his cross and follow (present imperative) Me. 35 “For (TERM OF EXPLANATION) whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 “For (TERM OF EXPLANATION) what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 “For (TERM OF EXPLANATION) what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38“For(TERM OF EXPLANATION) whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mk 8:34-38+).

Follow in Jn 1:43 is in the present imperative  commanding them to continue to follow Him as their habitual practice. Jesus was not calling short time disciples, but life long disciples. If you are a believer, you are a disciple (contrary to what some might teach). A disciple is not a believer who is more devoted, but is a description of all believers. 

Found (2147) see notes on heurisko. Found (heurisko) is a key verb in this section - first they say we have found the Messiah (Jn 1:41), the next day the Messiah found Philip (Jn 1:43) and then Philip found Nathanael and told him they had found the One Who the OT prophesied to be the Messiah (Jn 1:45)!

Follow (190) see note on akoloutheo

Follow Me - These words are found 20x in NT, 19x in the Gospels (Acts 12:8 one exception), are always spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ and are almost always spoken as a command in the present imperative = keep on following Me for the rest of your days on earth and then follow Me to Heaven and eternal bliss! -- Matt. 4:19; Matt. 8:22; Matt. 9:9; Matt. 16:24; Matt. 19:21; Mk. 1:17 (deute opiso - see note); Mk. 2:14; Mk. 8:34; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 5:27; Lk. 9:23; Lk. 9:59; Lk. 18:22; Jn. 1:43; Jn. 10:27 (not a command); Jn. 12:26; Jn. 13:36 (future tense); Jn. 21:19; Jn. 21:22. Are you a FOLLOWER OF JESUS? 

MacDonald - “Follow Me!” These are great words because of the One who spoke them and great because of the privilege they offered. The Savior is still issuing this simple, yet sublime, invitation to all men everywhere.

Swindoll - Philip apparently followed without hesitation or reservation.


Henry Mahan - Jn 1:43-44- These verses are an illustration of the Good Shepherd going after his sheep (Luke 19:10). Whether the Lord uses a human instrument or not, it is Christ, himself, who seeks and finds each one given to him by the Father. Our seeking Christ is only our response to his seeking us, just as we love him because he first loved us.


Vance Havner - "Follow Me" Mark 1:16-20 (cf John 1:35-51.)

THE call of the fishermen disciples by the sea (Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20) was really a second call, a call to service. Peter, Andrew and John were already disciples, having first followed Christ as recorded in John 1:35-51.

Notice that our Lord uses the same figure for their new work as the work they had been following: "fishers of men." The Lord exalts and spiritualizes our work, transforms it into a heavenly calling. Here, certainly, is a call to soul-winning, a vocation not popular with many Christians. Some, falling back upon predestination, argue that God will convict and save those whom He chooses. That is true, but one of the means He uses to convict the unsaved is the ministry of a personal worker.

The disciples followed "straightway," which implies that much still must be learned. Peter followed in much self-will and had to be humbled and broken in self before he could respond to the later "follow Me" of Tiberias (John 21:19). The two "follow Me's" in his life are full of meaning for us: it is not every one who has followed from Galilee who will follow from Tiberias.

In Luke 5:1-11 we have an incident probably parallel to this call by Galilee. After teaching in Peters boat, our Lord ordered them to launch into the deep and let down their nets for a draught. "For a draught," mind you—He expected results. Our Lord often orders us into deep water after we have toiled all night in vain. Notice the "nevertheless" in Peter's reply, "We have taken nothing; nevertheless at Thy word...." We must come to the end of self, our own striving, and then obey His word. From "we" to "Thy" is a transition for the Christian fisherman that never fails to obtain results.

The results were overwhelming. Where they had failed all night they made their greatest catch. We have come, today, to where we expect little when we fish for souls. Much striving without our Lord has produced nothing—and we neither hear nor heed His command. He Himself is not in the boat, that is the trouble. We have improved nets and standard instructions and good intentions, but the nets are not filled. We are not working in His fellowship and at His word.

Peter was convicted at the wonder of the catch and fell at the Lord's knees confessing his sinfulness. True success does not elate us with ourselves but convicts us of our sinfulness. Our Lord's reply shows that He meant to join the lesson taught there with spiritual soul-winning: "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men."

Meager results among Christians and churches are excused today with many flimsy arguments: we need not expect great revivals, we are told; it is the last days, and conditions are as in the days of Noah. To save our faces and keep the appearances going, children are graded into church from the Sunday schools. The real trouble is, we are toiling in our own strength; the Lord is not in the boat, and we are not obeying His word. Christians and churches venture on campaigns and programs of their own while the Lord is left out and His instructions are ignored.

If we met these conditions, once more the nets would fill, we should overcome at His feet, and He would commission us afresh to fishing for men.


“Follow Me” Text: John 1:43 - P H Welshimer
    Introduction: This is the great invitation. Jesus made it on more than one occasion. This invitation is:
      1.      Unselfish.
      2.      Free from deception.
      3.      Rich in promises, here and hereafter.
      4.      Open to every person.
 I.      The Nature of This Invitation.
      A.      What it is not.
         1.      An invitation to follow a creed or a dogma.
         2.      An invitation to follow an organization.
         3.      An invitation to follow a myth.
         4.      An invitation to follow an imposter or a self-deluded fanatic.
      B.      It is an invitation to follow Jesus.
         1.      God’s only begotten Son, the Christ.
         2.      His coming was foretold by prophets.
         3.      His life was proclaimed in the Gospels.
         4.      His death, burial, and resurrection were preached to the uttermost.

II.      Jesus’ Right to Extend Such an Invitation (Colossians 1:14–22).
      A.      In Him we have redemption (v. 14).
      B.      He is “the image of the invisible God” (v. 15).
      C.      He is “the firstborn of every creature” (v. 15).
      D.      “By him were all things created” (v. 16).
      E.      “By him all things consist” (v. 17).
      F.      “He is the head of the body, the church” (v. 18).
      G.      “Through the blood of his cross” He has reconciled all things unto himself (vv. 20–22).

III.      Where Shall We Follow?
      A.      The sinner.
         1.      The divine plan of redemption.
         2.      Through the new birth the sinner becomes a new creature.
      B.      The Christian.
         1.      He follows in worship.
           a.      Jesus worshiped the Father.
           b.      Jesus was often in prayer.
         2.      He follows in service.
           a.      Jesus left the carpenter shop to serve.
           b.      We too must learn to be a servant to all.
         3.      He follows in evangelism, a crying need of our day.
           a.      Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
           b.      “Ye shall be witnesses … unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
         4.      He follows to Calvary.
           a.      “Let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
           b.      “Be thou faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10).

Conclusion: The invitation is open to all, but we cannot follow Him unless we know Him. (An actor and an aged minister once attended a banquet. In response to a request the actor quoted the Twenty-third Psalm. There was loud applause when he finished. Then the actor said, “I would like to have you hear my old friend recite the same psalm.” When the minister finished, a deep silence rather than applause followed. The actor then remarked, “We have all noticed the difference in the way you responded. The reason is this: I know the psalm, but my friend knows the Shepherd!”)


James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose - NATHANAEL’S CONVERSION JOHN 1:43–51

    “My Master, they have wronged Thee and Thy love!
    They only told me I should find the path
    A via Dolorosa all the way!
    Narrow indeed it is … Oh, why
    Should they misrepresent Thy words, and make
    ‘Narrow’ synonymous with ‘very hard?’
    For Thou divinest wisdom, Thou hast said
    Thy ways are ways of pleasantness, and all
    Thy paths are peace.”
—F. R. Havergal.

There was a great difference between the manner of the conversion of Nathanael and that of Saul, but the inward change was much the same. See how it came about, for he

I. Heard. “Philip saith unto him, We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth” (v. 45). He heard the joyful tidings from one who had himself been found of the Christ, and satisfied with Him. Philip’s Gospel was not an it, but a HIM—Him in whom the hope of Israel lay; Him who answers all the predictions of Moses and the prophets, and meets all the needs of a human soul and a perishing world. He heard—but how shall men hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent. All who have found Him are surely able to witness for Him.

II. Questioned. “Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (v. 46). Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was brought up in Nazareth, that He might be called a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23) Nazareth was an insignificant and, perhaps, an infamous town. How could the greatest of all prophets come from such an unlikely place? Like Nicodemus, he was disposed to ask, “How can these things be?” Philip was not inclined to dispute the matter with his thoughtful inquirer, but simply answered, “Come and see.” It is wonderful how difficulties melt away when the troubled one gets face to face with the Son of God. The misty clouds of doubt cannot stand when He appeareth, for His words are soul-healing and enlightening beams. It is truly heavenly logic to meet the “How’s” of an inquirer after Christ with the “Comes” of the Gospel. How can a man know that Christ is able and willing to save? Come and see.

III. Proved. Nathanael came to Jesus, and when Jesus saw him coming He said of Him, “Behold an Israelite indeed;” and Nathanael said unto Him, “Whence knowest Thou me?” (vv. 47, 48). Jesus at once manifested Himself to this honest seeker as the gracious and merciful heart-searcher. “Before Philip called thee, I saw thee.” Nathanael has found that “good thing” which did not come out of Nazareth, but out of Heaven. He came and saw for Himself the wisdom and power of God manifested in Jesus the Christ. This guileless seeker very quickly became a joyful finder. It is when the seed falls into an honest heart that it brings forth fruit.

IV. Believed. “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou?” (v. 50). The inference is clear that he did believe. What else could he do? The evidence of His Messiahship had been overwhelmingly convicting, as the demonstration made had been entirely with himself. Christ’s Divinity was proven by His operating upon His own heart and conscience—not by any outward display of miracle. Moral miracles are the monuments which still attest His Divine power and Godhead. The best way to prove the Divinity and saving power of Jesus Christ is to submit yourself to Him, then you will get a witness within that cannot be silenced.

V. Confessed. “He answered and said, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel” (v. 49). He believed with his heart, now he makes confession with his mouth. The confession was fearless and full. As the “Son of God” He was mighty to save; as the “King of Israel” entire submission was His due. If we acknowledge Him as Saviour we should also submit to Him as King, for He is both Saviour and Lord. The confession Thomas made was: “My Lord and my God!” Many in those days, as now, believed on Him, who were afraid to confess Him (John 12:42, 43). Remember that it is those who confess Him before men that He will confess before His Father in Heaven (Matt. 10:32).

VI. Was Encouraged. “Thou shalt see greater things than these, … ye shall see Heaven open,” etc. (vv. 50, 51). There is always an “open Heaven” and a blessed “hereafter” for those who so confess Him. It is a glorious and soul-satisfying vision to see an “open Heaven and the messengers of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” This is the ladder which Jacob saw. There is no other way of communication between a sincursed earth and an “open Heaven” but by Him. “I am the Way, no one can come unto the Father but by Me.” He is the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. Only “angels of God” can do business in this way; the unclean shall not walk therein. Only those whose delight it is to fulfil the purposes of His will can ascend and descend upon this holy way. Have we seen this vision, and are we being encouraged and strengthened in our daily life by it?

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

BGT  John 1:44 ἦν δὲ ὁ Φίλιππος ἀπὸ Βηθσαϊδά, ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Ἀνδρέου καὶ Πέτρου.

NET  John 1:44 (Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.)

NLT  John 1:44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter's hometown.

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

NIV  John 1:44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.

GNT  John 1:44 ἦν δὲ ὁ Φίλιππος ἀπὸ Βηθσαϊδά, ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Ἀνδρέου καὶ Πέτρου.

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

YLT  John 1:44 And Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter;

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

CSB  John 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.

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

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

NAB  John 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.

NJB  John 1:44 Philip came from the same town, Bethsaida, as Andrew and Peter.

GWN  John 1:44 (Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.)

  • Philip: Joh 12:21 14:8,9 Mt 10:3 Mk 3:18 Lu 6:14 Ac 1:13 
  • Bethsaida: Mt 11:21 Mk 6:45 8:22 Lu 9:10 10:13 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Bethsaida - Click to Enlarge
(Article)

Now Philip was from Bethsaida ("house of fishing" - see NE corner of Sea of Galilee above), of the city of (hometown of) Andrew and Peter - Philip is a Greek name meaning fond of horses. "Philip, being of the same city as Andrew and Peter, was the more ready to welcome Christ, because of the testimony and example of his fellow-citizens." (Vincent)

MacDonald on Bethsaida - Few cities in the world have ever been so honored. The Lord performed some of His mighty miracles there (Luke 10:13). It was the home of Philip, Andrew, and Peter. Yet it rejected the Savior, and as a result it was destroyed so completely that now we cannot tell the exact spot where it was located.

Philip - The disciple named Philip was, along with Peter and Andrew, from Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44; 12:21). Jesus called Philip, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist’s (John 1:43), and then Philip went and found Nathanael and told him about Jesus. Nathanael also became Jesus’ disciple. The Bible does not contain much biographical detail about Philip or any of the other disciples, but John records several times when Philip spoke to Jesus. Philip’s first recorded act as a disciple of Jesus was to go and tell his friend Nathanael. Later, Philip was approached by some Gentiles, more specifically, Greeks from Bethsaida who asked Philip to introduce them to Jesus (John 12:20–22). Philip was the disciple who calculated the amount of money it would take to feed the 5,000 (John 6:7). After the Last Supper, Philip requested that Jesus show them the Father, leading to Jesus’ statement, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9). The last time the Bible mentions the disciple Philip is as one of those gathered in Jerusalem to pray after the Lord’s ascension (Acts 1:13). Tradition states that Philip went to Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey) as a missionary and was martyred there in Hierapolis. (From Who was Philip in the Bible? | GotQuestions.org) Philip in the Gospels - Mt. 10:3; Mt. 14:3; Mt. 16:13; Mk. 3:18; Mk. 6:17; Mk. 8:27; Lk. 3:1; Lk. 6:14; Jn. 1:43; Jn. 1:44; Jn. 1:45; Jn. 1:46; Jn. 1:48; Jn. 6:5; Jn. 6:7; Jn. 12:21; Jn. 12:22; Jn. 14:8; Jn. 14:9

Steven Cole -  We’re also told here (1:44) that Philip, Andrew, and Peter were all from Bethsaida. Calvin (p. 74) points out that this demonstrates God’s grace, since Jesus later pronounced judgment on the people of that city because they had rejected the witness of His miracles and had not repented of their sins (Matt. 11:21). But where sin abounded, God’s grace super-abounded. He chose these three disciples from that faithless city. 

NET NOTE on Bethsaida - Although the author thought of the town as in Galilee (Jn 12:21), Bethsaida technically was in Gaulanitis (Philip the Tetrarch’s territory) across from Herod’s Galilee. There may have been two places called Bethsaida (See commentary on Mark 6:45), or this may merely reflect popular imprecision—locally it was considered part of Galilee, even though it was just east of the Jordan river. This territory was heavily Gentile (which may explain why Andrew and Philip both have Gentile names).

NET Note on from Bethsaida -  Probably apo indicates “originally from” in the sense of birthplace rather than current residence; Mark 1:21, 29 seems to locate the home of Andrew and Peter at Capernaum. The entire remark (v. 44) amounts to a parenthetical comment by the author.

John 1:45  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

BGT  John 1:45 εὑρίσκει Φίλιππος τὸν Ναθαναὴλ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ὃν ἔγραψεν Μωϋσῆς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ καὶ οἱ προφῆται εὑρήκαμεν, Ἰησοῦν υἱὸν τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἀπὸ Ναζαρέτ.

NET  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets also wrote about– Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

NLT  John 1:45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, "We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth."

ESV  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

NIV  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

GNT  John 1:45 εὑρίσκει Φίλιππος τὸν Ναθαναὴλ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ὃν ἔγραψεν Μωϋσῆς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ καὶ οἱ προφῆται εὑρήκαμεν, Ἰησοῦν υἱὸν τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἀπὸ Ναζαρέτ.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him, 'Him of whom Moses wrote in the Law, and the prophets, we have found, Jesus the son of Joseph, who is from Nazareth;'

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

CSB  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law (and so did the prophets): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!"

NKJ  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

NRS  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth."

NAB  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."

NJB  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.'

GWN  John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the man whom Moses wrote about in his teachings and whom the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, son of Joseph, from the city of Nazareth."

  • Nathanael: Joh 21:2 
  • of whom Moses in the Law: Lu 24:27,44  Joh 5:45,46 Ge 3:15 22:18 49:10 De 18:18-22 
  • and also the Prophets wrote: Isa 4:2 7:14 9:6 53:2 Mic 5:2 Zec 6:12 9:9 
  • Jesus of Nazareth: Joh 18:5,7 19:19 Mt 2:23 21:11 Mk 14:67 Lu 2:4 Ac 2:22 3:6 10:38 Ac 22:8 26:9 
  • the son of Joseph Mt 13:55 Mk 6:3 Lu 4:22 
  • John 1:45 Finding and Following Christ - Spurgeon
  • John 1:45-51 Nathanael and the Fig Tree - Spurgeon
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE ONE PROPHESIED
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Philip found Nathanael and said to him - Nathanael (means "God has given") is almost certainly the disciple named Bartholomew (see below), a Hebrew name—Bar Tolmai, son of Tolmai. It is interesting that just as the Synoptic Gospels never use the name Nathanael, John never uses the name Bartholomew. In support that Nathanael is Bartholomew is the fact that in the lists of the disciples/apostles, Bartholomew always follows Philip's name (Mt 10:3+, Mark 3:18+, Lk 6:14+). 

Lenski notes that found and said are "“are the vivid present (present tense) in historical narrative (SEE HISTORICAL PRESENT), the action being very present to John’s mind as he writes—of course, not only Andrew’s action but also his own."

Stevenson - I hear a lot of people who seem to think that Christianity should be a private experience that should never be shared. That is not the kind of Christianity that was held by Philip. He wanted others to share what he had experienced. How can you tell a football fan? It is because he is always talking about football. He cannot get enough of it. When you listen to him, he is regularly demonstrating his excitement and zeal for the sport.How can you tell a real Christian? It is because he is always talking about Christ. Nobody has to tell him to do it. He cannot help himself. When you listen to him, it is obvious that he is excited about the Lord.

Robertson - Philip carries on the work. One wins one. If that glorious beginning had only kept on! Now it takes a hundred to win one.

MacDonald - Philip wanted to share his new-found joy with someone else, so he went and found Nathanael. New converts are the best soul-winners. His message was simple and to the point. He told Nathanael that he had found the Messiah who had been foretold by Moses and the prophets—Jesus of Nazareth. (BBC)

Godet wrote that "“Philip’s part in the calling of Nathanael is like that of Andrew in the calling of Peter, and that of Peter and Andrew in his own. One lighted torch serves to light another; thus faith propagates itself” (John Commentary)

NET Note on Nathanael - Nathanael is traditionally identified with Bartholomew (although John never describes him as such). He appears here after Philip, while in all lists of the twelve except in Acts 1:13, Bartholomew follows Philip. Also, the Aramaic Bar-tolmai means “son of Tolmai,” the surname; the man almost certainly had another name.

Found (2147) see notes on heurisko. Found (heurisko) is a key verb in this section - first they say we have found the Messiah (Jn 1:41), the next day the Messiah found Philip (Jn 1:43) and then here in Jn 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him they had found the One Who the OT prophesied to be the Messiah!

We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote - Again note the WE which adds credence to what they will tell Nathanael. Note that the term Law and prophets was synonymous with the entire Old Testament (Mt 5:17, Mt 7:12, Mt 11:13, Mt 22:40, Lk 16:16, Acts 13:15, Acts 24:14, Acts 28:23, Ro 3:21) These Jewish men presumably knew their Old Testament and specifically they knew that there were numerous prophecies that told of the coming Messiah. See Messianic Prophecy

THOUGHT - If you are a skeptic, the question is are you an "honest skeptic?" By that I mean have you read the over 300 OT prophecies perfectly filled in the Man Jesus? If you have not, than you would be well-advised to honestly, openly study the Messianic Prophecies because your eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Jesus doubled down on this warning in John 8:24 declaring  “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” If you would like a "cliff notes" version, I would strongly suggest reading Josh McDowell's classic "More than a Carpenter" available free online.

Lenski on Law and...Prophets - The entire history of Israel contained in the Pentateuch is senseless and purposeless without the Messiah, so that all that Moses wrote in the law actually refers to Christ. The prophets were the expounders of the law whose special duty it was not only to drive home the requirements and the threats of the law in the hearts of the people but also to hold out to them the glorious and comforting hope of the Deliverer to come, of whom they at times spoke directly as in Isa. 53.

Gerald L. Borchert notes that "Jesus “finds”… Philip (Jn 1:43). Philip in turn “finds” Nathanael and reports to Nathanael, “We have found” him (Jn 1:45).… But it is intriguing to ask the very simple question concerning these stories: Who really finds whom? Christians have frequently been known to say that they found Christ or found faith as Andrew and Philip reported, but maybe Jesus’ perspective in these stories could profitably alter such a self-centered view of salvation. It was not Jesus who was lost!" (NAC-Jn)

Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph - See note below on this designation Jesus of Nazareth. Philip is not saying Jesus was born in Nazareth. Likewise, Philip is not denying the virgin birth, for in his day people were usually identified by the village name in which they currently lived and by their father's name. And so Luke records "When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli." (Lk 3:23+)

Swindoll on the son of Joseph - Jesus was not the physical son of Joseph, and the gospel writer knew this. Philip either spoke in ignorance, or he meant “a member of the Joseph household.” Surnames were uncommon in the ancient world. People were most commonly identified by their family association (true even for slaves) and their place of origin. Jesus was from Nazareth and reared in the household of Joseph.

Related Resource: 


Henry Mahan -Here we find again the effect that a revelation of Christ has upon a true believer. He cannot remain silent nor indifferent. He must tell others of the Redeemer. Note the emphasis in the witness of Andrew and Phillip–‘we have found the Messiah; we have the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets did write.’ None of this ‘do you want to go to heaven?’ or emotional soul-winning pleas – simply the good news that the Christ, the Redeemer promised and prophesied in the scriptures, had come; and they had seen him and believed on him!


Question: Why is Jesus often referred to as Jesus of Nazareth?

Answer: Jesus was referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” for several reasons. For one thing, in Bible times people were often identified by their native area or place of residence. The man who carried Jesus’ cross when He was no longer able to, for example, was called Simon of Cyrene, noting his name and his place of residence (Luke 23:26). This distinguishes him from all other Simons and from all other residents of Cyrene who were not named Simon. Although Bethlehem was the place of Jesus’ birth, Nazareth was the place where Jesus had lived until He began His public ministry, and therefore He is said to be “of Nazareth.”

Matthew 2:23 tells us that Joseph settled his family in Nazareth—after returning from Egypt where he had fled to protect Jesus from Herod—in order to fulfill “what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” The words here are not found in any of the books of the Old Testament, and there has been much difficulty in ascertaining the meaning of this passage. Most commentators agree that the prophecies respecting the coming Messiah were that He was to be of humble origin and would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22) and that the phrase “he shall be called” means the same as “He shall be.” When Matthew says, therefore, that the prophecies were “fulfilled,” his meaning is that the predictions of the prophets that the Messiah would be of a low and despised condition and would be rejected, were fully accomplished in His being an inhabitant of Nazareth.

The phrase “Jesus of Nazareth” is first used in the Bible by Phillip who, after being called by Jesus to follow Him, told Nathanael, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:45). By calling Him Jesus of Nazareth, Phillip may also have been making a statement about the lowliness of His birth. The character of the people of Nazareth was such that they were despised and condemned. Nathanael’s response, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46) would seem to indicate such. To come from Nazareth, therefore, or to be a Nazarene, was the same as to be despised, or to be esteemed of low birth. The Messiah who would come to save His people would be “a root out of dry ground, having no form or comeliness” (Isaiah 53:2). He would be “despised and rejected of men” from whom men hid their faces and “esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

Jesus of Nazareth was born and grew up in humble circumstances, but His impact on the world has been greater than anyone ever born before or since. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), a feat that could be accomplished by none other than God incarnate.GotQuestions.org

Related Resources:


Question: Who was Bartholomew in the Bible?

Answer: Bartholomew is listed as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus in each of the four references to the group (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). In the Gospel of John, however, he is always referred to as Nathanael (John 1:45–49; 21:2). Bartholomew is a Hebrew surname meaning “son of Tolmai.” So Nathanael is the son of Tolmai, or Nathanael Bar-Tolmei.

In each of the listings of the disciples, the names of Philip and Bartholomew are linked, which could mean they were good friends or even related. What we know about Bartholomew/Nathanael comes primarily from the account of his call by Jesus (John 1:45–49). After Jesus called Philip to follow Him, Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (verse 45). This would seem to indicate Philip and Nathanael were students of the Law and the Prophets and that Philip recognized from their study that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for.

We see from Bartholomew’s next statement, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46) that he held the town of Nazareth in the same regard as many Jews of that day. Nazareth, and all of the area around Galilee, was seen as a low and wicked place. Even Bartholomew/Nathanael, himself a Galilean, was doubtful that anything good, let alone God’s Messiah, could come from such a place.

The next verse gives us true insight into the character of Bartholomew. When Jesus saw him coming, He said, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” The Greek word for “false” means “deceitful, crafty, or full of guile.” Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart, just as He knows what is in every heart. Jesus’ assessment of Bartholomew was that he was a “true” son of Abraham, that is, a man who worshiped the true and living God without any of the deceit or hypocrisy that characterized the religious leaders of that day.

What follows is a declaration of Jesus’ divine nature and power. Bartholomew/Nathanael asked Jesus how He knew him, and Jesus replied, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you” (John 1:48). Jesus wasn’t present when Philip called Nathanael, yet He had seen and heard their conversation, evidence of His omniscience. He knew not only Nathanael’s words but his heart and sincere character as well. Nathanael (Bartholomew) saw the attributes of divine omniscience and the ability to discern hearts in the Man who stood before him. Nathanael’s familiarity with Old Testament prophecies caused him to recognize Jesus for who He was, the promised Messiah, Son of God and King of Israel (verse 49).

This is all we know about Bartholomew/Nathanael from Scripture. As an apostle, Bartholomew saw the risen Lord Jesus (John 21:2) and was present at the Ascension (Acts 1:1–11). Tradition indicates that Bartholomew was a minister of the gospel in Persia and India. There is no biblical record of his death, but one tradition has it that he was tied up in a sack and dropped into the sea. Another tradition claims that he was crucified. All traditions agree that he died a martyr’s death, as did all the apostles except for John. GotQuestions.org


Question: Who was Nathanael in the Bible?

Answer: Nathanael, whose name is spelled Nathaniel in popular modern usage, was one of the disciples called by Jesus (John 1:43). Nathanael was from Cana in Galilee (John 21:2) and was brought to Jesus by his friend, Philip, who also became one of Jesus’ disciples. Nathanael was one of the first to express belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 1:49). His name means “God has given” in Hebrew. Interestingly, Nathanael is only mentioned in the Gospel of John; the other three gospels identify him as “Bartholomew.”

The call of Philip and Nathanael to discipleship is recorded in the first chapter of John, beginning in verse 43. Jesus went to Galilee and found Philip first, who then went to Nathanael, his friend. Philip told Nathanael that he had found “the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Nathanael was skeptical and said, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (verse 46). This skepticism was understandable; at that time Nazareth was an obscure little hill town, remote and of no consequence. It was not sophisticated or glamorous, quite the opposite—it was not a place that anyone expected the Messiah to come from. Despite his skepticism, Nathanael followed Philip to meet Jesus. When the Lord saw Nathanael coming toward Him, He said, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (verse 47). Nathanael accepted this description as true and wondered how Jesus knew his character, having never met him before. Jesus explained: “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you” (verse 48). Nathanael then immediately recognized Jesus as the Christ, calling him the “Son of God” and the “king of Israel” (verse 49).

It has been speculated that there was something in Nathanael’s mind or actions under the fig tree that caused Jesus to refer to him as “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” This would help explain Nathanael’s amazement, as simply having seen Nathanael under the fig tree does not necessarily denote spiritual foresight or anything miraculous. It is obvious that Jesus’ mention of “no deceit” triggered amazement in Nathanael; it points to the fact that Jesus knew his thoughts.

Jesus responds to Nathanael ’s statement of faith with a prophecy: “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that” (John 1:50). Then Jesus prophesies that Nathanael will see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man (verse 51). This is a reference to the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28. But instead of ascending and descending on a ladder as they did in Jacob’s dream, the angels will ascend and descend on the Son of Man—meaning that Jesus Himself will be the final, efficacious connection between God and humanity (see Hebrews 9:12; 10:10). | GotQuestions.org

John 1:46  Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

BGT  John 1:46 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι; λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Φίλιππος· ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε.

NET  John 1:46 Nathanael replied, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip replied, "Come and see."

NLT  John 1:46 "Nazareth!" exclaimed Nathanael. "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" "Come and see for yourself," Philip replied.

ESV  John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

NIV  John 1:46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.

GNT  John 1:46 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ, Ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι; λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Φίλιππος, Ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε.

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

YLT  John 1:46 and Nathanael said to him, 'Out of Nazareth is any good thing able to be?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'

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

CSB  John 1:46 "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Nathanael asked him. "Come and see," Philip answered.

NKJ  John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

NRS  John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

NAB  John 1:46 But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

NJB  John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, 'From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?' Philip replied, 'Come and see.'

GWN  John 1:46 Nathanael said to Philip, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip told him, "Come and see!"

  • Can any good thing come out of Nazareth: Joh 7:41,42,52 Lu 4:28,29 
  • Come and see: Joh 4:29 Lu 12:57 1Th 5:21 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Jesus' Hometown-Nazareth

NATHANAEL'S INITIAL
SKEPTICISM

Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" - Literally, “Out of Nazareth can anything good be.” "Can anything good come out of Nazareth? may be a local proverb expressing jealousy among the towns." (NET) This question expresses skepticism on his part that the Messiah could come from such an out of the way village. In this sense, he reminds us of "doubting Thomas" John descring in Jn 20:24-25. 

MacArthur - Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, the Midrash, or any contemporary Gentile writings. It also shows his disdain for the town itself; just as the Judeans looked down on Galileans in general (cf. 7:52; Acts 2:7), so also did the rest of the Galileans look down on the inhabitants of Nazareth. 

Robertson - Philip does not argue the point (i.e., - "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"). A saying had arisen that no prophet comes out of Galilee (John 7:52), untrue like many such sayings.

Mahan -The Saviour's lowly birth, beginning, and surroundings were a stumbling block to those who expected a great and glorious Messiah who would restore the kingdom to Israel. Many looked for a lion, not a lamb. They did not understand the types and sacrifices of the Old Testament. Phillip did not argue; he simply said, ‘Come and see for yourself.’

Vincent says the phrase come out of "means more than to come out of: rather to come out of as that which is of; to be identified with something so as to come forth bearing its impress, moral or otherwise. See especially Jn 3:31: “He that is of the earth is of the earth;” i.e., partakes of its quality. Compare Christ’s words to Nicodemus (Jn 3:6), and 1 Cor. 15:47. In the Greek order, out of Nazareth stands first in the sentence as expressing the prominent thought in Nathanael’s mind, surprise that Jesus should have come from Nazareth, a poor village, even the name of which does not occur in the Old Testament. Contrary to the popular explanation, there is no evidence that Nazareth was worse than other places, beyond the fact of the violence offered to Jesus by its people (Luke 4:28, 29), and their obstinate unbelief in Him (Matt. 13:58; Mark 6:6). It was a proverb, however, that no prophet was to come from Galilee (John 7:52).(WSNT)

Philip said to him, "Come and see." - Philip does not argue or try to review the OT prophecies that pointed to the Messiah, but simply gives two commands Come...see. His point was let the evidence speak for itself (for Himself!) Lenski adds that "Come and see" is the present imperative (come - erchou)s combined with the aorist imperative (see - ide), thus differing from Jn 1:39. This is excellent Greek, the first tense moving the action along until the action of the second tense brings it to a proper stop.

Robertson - Philip followed the method of Jesus with Andrew and John (Jn 1:39), probably without knowing it. Wise is the one who knows how to deal with the sceptic.

MacDonald - Philip did not argue. He felt that the best way to meet objections was to introduce men directly to the Lord Jesus—a valuable lesson for all who are seeking to win others to Christ. Don’t argue. Don’t engage in prolonged discussions. Just bid men to come and see.

Lenski - Bengel calls this reply: optimum remedium contra opiniones praeconceptas, the best remedy against preconceived opinions. The answer was probably far better than Philip himself realized, for the only way to learn aright who Jesus is, is not to argue about him, about Nazareth, or about any other point that doubt may try to raise, but to come directly to Jesus himself (now in his Word, where he stands ready to meet us) and thus to see. This is the way Jesus led all his disciples, and they came, they saw, they were satisfied to the uttermost.

D L Moody - AFTER all, we do not gain much by discussion. Let objectors or inquirers only get one personal interview with the Son of God, and that will scatter all their darkness, all their prejudice, and all their unbelief. The moment that Philip succeeded in getting Nathanael to Christ, the work was done.....SO we say to you, “Come and see!” I thought, when I was converted, that my friends had been very unfaithful to me, because they had not told me about Christ. I thought I would have all my friends converted inside of twenty-four hours, and I was quite disappointed when they did not at once see Christ to be the Lily of the Valley, and the Rose of Sharon, and the Bright and Morning Star. I wondered why it was. But we need to learn that God alone can do that.


Vance Havner - "Come and See"

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

Philip did not let Nathanael sidetrack him into a discussion of whether or not any good thing could come out of Nazareth. That was irrelevant and Philip was no authority on the matter. After all, the best way to settle that question, as well as all others, was, "Come and see for yourself." Jesus was just out of Nazareth, and Nathanael could soon find out the answer to his query.

The devil likes to sidetrack us from the real issue. The woman at Jacob's well raised secondary matters until the Lord brought her to face her sin and Himself as the Messiah.

Do not let people dodge the real issue by raising a lot of unimportant questions. Tell them to come to Christ and see for themselves. He is in Himself the answer to all our problems. Whatever you may not understand, whatever puzzles you, do not try to solve such things one by one. Come to Him and He will dispel your doubts and you will say with Nathanael, "Thou art the Son of God!"


Reflections on the Gospel of John

"Come and See" John 1:46

JOHN the Baptist stood with his disciples and declared Jesus to be the "Lamb of God." John's other statements about our Lord were in terms of His Messiahship, but this, with Isaiah 53:7 in mind, looks toward Calvary.

When two of John's disciples began to follow the Lord, He enquired, "What seek ye?" What do we seek in Him today? And what do we seek in life? The two asked where Jesus dwelt. That is life's supreme issue: not where dwells this or that thing we seek, but where does He dwell who is Life and Truth?
The answer, given to these and later by Phillip to Nathanael, is the very heart of the Christian experience: "Come and see." If you would know the truth about our Lord, it cannot be reached by argument and speculation. "Come and see"—that is the road to certainty. "If any man will to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself."

One of the two, Andrew, went for his brother Simon. That is a true mark of discipleship, that we seek our brother. And he brought him to Jesus. No greater thing did Andrew ever do for his Lord. If you are not an "important" disciple as Peter was, you surely can be an Andrew.

Next Philip followed, who soon went after Nathanael (Bartholomew). What a testimony to bring—that he had found the long-expected Messiah! Nathanael is disposed to raise questions, but Philip offers the practical test: "Come and see." He wisely did not argue the question of whether any good thing could come out of Nazareth. Don't argue secondary issues with questioners; tell them to come and see. Christ is Himself the answer to their doubts.

Our Lord knew Nathanael in advance as a devout Israelite. He knew the hours Nathanael had spent under the fig tree. God knows our hearts, our tears, the secret prayers, the longings of the soul of which men know nothing. He knows the long, lean years when we prayed and seemed to receive nothing. How it must have seemed sometimes to Nathanael that the Messiah would never come! Don't give up the fig tree! He sees you through the tedious, commonplace years, and one day your great moment will come, and you shall cry out as did Nathanael: "Thou are the Son of God! Thou art the King of Israel!" He will reveal Himself to the faithful.

And not only that, but we shall see greater things than these! For there is greater glory ever to be revealed, and what we see here is but the foretaste of more to follow. As Jesus told Nathanael, He is the Jacob’s Ladder between earth and heaven. "Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" (v. 51). Jacob learned at Bethel that all heaven was interested in him. So angels are our ministers (Heb. 1:14), and our Lord Himself is the ladder.

Nathanael's experience had three stages: first, the long years of prayer and waiting; then the revelation of the Lord; and the rest of his life consisted of increasing fellowship with heaven through Christ. Truly, if we "come and see," we shall "see greater things than these."

John 1:47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"

BGT  John 1:47 εἶδεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ· ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.

NET  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and exclaimed, "Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!"

NLT  John 1:47 As they approached, Jesus said, "Now here is a genuine son of Israel-- a man of complete integrity."

ESV  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"

NIV  John 1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

GNT  John 1:47 εἶδεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ, Ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.

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

YLT  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming unto him, and he saith concerning him, 'Lo, truly an Israelite, in whom guile is not;'

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

CSB  John 1:47 Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said about him, "Here is a true Israelite; no deceit is in him."

NKJ  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"

NRS  John 1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!"

NAB  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him."

NJB  John 1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an Israelite in whom there is no deception.'

GWN  John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and remarked, "Here is a true Israelite who is sincere."

As Lenski says "“Come and see!” is a call and an invitation, and while it is extended through Philip, it comes from Jesus himself who uses us to call others. In spite of his doubts about a person from Nazareth being the Messiah Nathanael comes to see....It cost Nathanael some effort to come to a man from Nazareth; Jesus knows what it cost him, and this rejoices his heart." 

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him - NLT = "As they approached, Jesus said." To whom is Jesus speaking? To the disciples who had come to him (Andrew, John, Peter) "yet he does this in such a way that Nathanael hears what Jesus says about him." (Lenski)

Behold, (idou - Jesus uses this to arrest their attention) an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit - NLT paraphrases it ""Now here is a genuine son of Israel-- a man of complete integrity."  Nathanael was not a "bait and switch" man (see below). Nathanael is not dolos, one who uses cunning or deception as one uses bait to catch fish or some cunning means to secure personal advantage.

Robertson on without guile or no deceit - Truly an Israelite,” one living up to the covenant name, Israel at its best (Rom. 2:29), without the guile (δολος [dolos], deceit, bait for fish, from deleazō, to catch with bait) that Jacob once had of which Isaac complained (Ge 27:35 - Isaac to Esau - "your brother came deceitfully [Lxx = dolos] and has taken away your blessing."). The servant of Jehovah was to be without guile (Isa. 53:9).

Wiersbe - When Nathanael came to Jesus, he discovered that the Lord already knew all about him! What a shock! By calling him “an Israelite in whom is no guile,” Jesus was certainly referring to Jacob, the ancestor of the Jews, a man who used guile to trick his brother, his father, and his father-in-law. Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel, a prince with God.” The reference to “Jacob’s Ladder” in John 1:51 confirms this. (BEC)

Mahan - Christ was not saying that Nathanael was not a sinner, but that he was a man of sincerity, a true seeker with an honest and open attitude, not a hypocrite. Such shall be given more light.

Steven Cole -  Jesus instantly let Nathanael know that He knew him inside and out. He knew that Nathanael was a man without guile or deceit (1:47). He told it like he saw it. Jesus’ words to Nathanael are a play on Jacob’s name and character. Jacob was a deceiver, whose name was changed to Israel. Here, it’s as if Jesus is saying of Nathanael, “Look, Israel without a trace of Jacob left in him!” 

Stevenson - We would not be too far out of line in translating the words of Jesus: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no Jacob!"

Lenski - "Nathanael was without duplicity, altogether sincere. Most men lack this complete sincerity. Professing love to Christ, they still secretly love the world and the flesh; promising faithfulness, the promise does not fully bind their hearts. This dolos kept the Jewish nation from Christ, proved the curse of Judas, almost wrecked Peter. Church men and entire church bodies, while making loud profession sonoro tono, yet squint secretly at popular opinion, human authorities, supposed advantages, and with fair sounding excuses deviate from the Word. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” Matt. 5:8." 

Behold (2400) see previous note on idou (used 3x in John 1 - Jn 1:29, Jn 1:36 are both a call to "look" at the Lamb of God!) Have you looked at Him yet today?

Indeed (truly)(230)(alethos) is an adverb meaning adv. truly, really, actually With adjectival function = real Jn 1:47; 8:31. BDAG says "corresponding to what is really so." 18x in 18v - M. 14:33; M. 26:73; M. 27:54; Mk. 14:70; Mk. 15:39; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 12:44; Lk. 21:3; Jn. 1:47; Jn. 4:42; Jn. 6:14; Jn. 7:26; Jn. 7:40; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 17:8; Acts 12:11; 1 Th. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:5

Deceit (1388)(dolos from dello meaning to bait) literally refers to a fishhook, bait for fish, trap, or trick all of which are various forms of deception. Dolos is a deliberate attempt to mislead, trick, snare or "bait" (baiting the trap in attempt to "catch" the unwary victim) other people by telling lies. It is a desire to gain advantage or preserve position by deceiving others. A modern term in advertising is called "bait and switch" where the unwary consumer is lured in by what looks like an price too good to be true!


Richard Hawker - Poor Man's Evening Portion

An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.—John 1:47.

And what are we to understand by our Lord’s account, in this short but sweet history of Nathanael, of an “Israelite, indeed, in whom is no guile?” If, my soul, thou wilt do as thou art directed, (1 Cor. 2:13,) attend “to the things which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” thou wilt soon arrive at a proper apprehension of the Lord’s account, of “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” It is our mercy, that, on a point of so much consequence, we are not left to mere conjecture: for the Holy Ghost hath himself pointed out what it is to be without guile, in one of the psalms of David. (See Psalm 32) And in his comment upon it, by the apostle, (Romans 4:6–12,) he hath followed up the same doctrine more fully. “Blessed (saith he) is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Now here observe, that the blessedness here spoken of is not said to be a man that “hath no sin,” neither “had” sin, but to whom the Lord “imputeth it not.” And wherefore is this blessedness? It is explained, because “his transgression is forgiven, and his sin covered.” And the Holy Ghost is pleased, by his servant the apostle, to give a farther explanation, by tracing it to its source, in the forgiveness of sins “by Jesus Christ.” And in the case of Abraham, the great father of the faithful, he most clearly and fully proves the truth of this momentous doctrine: “Cometh this blessedness then (saith he) upon circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised,” Now hence, my soul, thou mayest learn what it is to have “no guile,” and, by consequence thereof, to be an “Israelite indeed.” If thou wilt consult Abraham’s history, thou wilt discover that he was justified by faith: “he believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness;” and this was many a year before he was circumcised. (See Gen. 15:6.) Some have reckoned it full twenty years; very certain it is that it could not be less than ten years. (See Gen. 17) And from the moment of his justification by faith, Abraham might truly be said to be one “in whom was no guile.” Apply what is here said by the Holy Ghost of Abraham, to the instance of Nathanael, and of all the spiritual seed of Christ, and the conclusion will be the same; this it is to be “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” My soul! what sayest thou of thyself? Art thou “an Israelite indeed?” Is thy guilt taken away in the blood of Christ? Pause, and recollect what the scripture saith: “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.” (Romans 2:28, 29.) “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29.)

John 1:48  Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

BGT  John 1:48 λέγει αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· πόθεν με γινώσκεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε.

NET  John 1:48 Nathanael asked him, "How do you know me?" Jesus replied, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

NLT  John 1:48 "How do you know about me?" Nathanael asked.Jesus replied, "I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you."

ESV  John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

NIV  John 1:48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."

GNT  John 1:48 λέγει αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ, Πόθεν με γινώσκεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:48 Nathanael saith to him, 'Whence me dost thou know?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Before Philip's calling thee -- thou being under the fig-tree -- I saw thee.'

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

CSB  John 1:48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you," Jesus answered.

NKJ  John 1:48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

NRS  John 1:48 Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you."

NAB  John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."

NJB  John 1:48 Nathanael asked, 'How do you know me?' Jesus replied, 'Before Philip came to call you, I saw you under the fig tree.'

GWN  John 1:48 Nathanael asked Jesus, "How do you know anything about me?" Jesus answered him, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you."

  • when you were under the fig tree: Joh 2:25 Ge 32:24-30 Ps 139:1,2 Isa 65:24 Mt 6:6 1Co 4:5 14:25 Rev 2:18,19 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Fig Tree

JESUS REVEALS HIS
DIVINE OMNISCIENCE

Paul wrote that "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." (Phil 2:6-7)  So while Jesus was fully Man, there were times in His 3 year ministry when He pulled back the curtain (so to speak) and gave glimpses of the fact that not only was He fully Man, but He was still fully God. He never ceased being God.

Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" - Nathanael accepts Jesus' affirmation of his guileless character which he knew was generally true of his life and conduct. Know is ginosko which normally speaks of experiential knowledge. How could Jesus have "experiential" knowledge when He had never met Nathanael? 

Lenski on know - The verb ginosko is the present tense, speaking of the knowledge Jesus has just displayed in his words. Moreover, this verb signifies the true knowledge of insight or of experience. The aorist would be, “Whence didst thou come to know me?” and it would be out of place here. This question, at once coming to the lips of Nathanael as a genuine response to the words of Jesus, itself proves the man’s utter sincerity as an Israelite, the very fact Jesus had expressed. Strike a beautiful bell, and it gives forth its sound on the instant.(Ibid)

Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" - Notice that Jesus' answer is far more than Nathanael had asked and so Jesus does not say "I knew you..." but "I saw you!" He perceived, noticed, observed Nathanael.

Jesus explains how He knew Nathanael was without guile. He knew him now in the present (no guile) but He knew his past (under the fig tree)! Both reflected supernatural knowledge. It is because He is Omniscient, which is clearly demonstrated and which pointed to His divinity. Nathanael knew He was correct and deduced the only way Jesus could have known was supernaturally, which led him to the striking declaration he made about Jesus in v49. 

Deffinbaugh: I am inclined to think that Nathanael had been reading and meditating about Jacob, and this text in Genesis in particular, under the fig tree (not unlike the way the Ethiopian eunuch had been reading in Isaiah, just before Philip drew near to him— Acts 8:26-40). Jacob was a man in whom there was much deceit. Most of his life he schemed and manipulated to get ahead at the expense of others. Jacob was also the first “Israelite,” in that God would soon rename him “Israel” (Genesis 32:28). He was the first “Israelite, in whom there was much guile.”

Stevenson - Nathanael realizes that Jesus is saying in effect, "I knew you before you ever met me. I knew you before you ever laid eyes upon me."Here is a special truth. It is that God knew you before you ever knew Him. He knew you before you knew anything. Before the foundations of the world, He knew you and He loved you and He sent His Son to die for you.

Lenski adds that "this seeing at a distance with supernatural powers of sight is evidence for the power to look also into men’s hearts. Here is a case like that of the woman at Jacob’s well, “He told me all things that I ever did,” Jn 4:39. Another case is that of the paralytic let down through the roof whom Jesus first absolved before he healed him, seeing that his chief ailment was spiritual. “Lord, thou hast searched me and known me,” Ps. 139:1. In his state of humiliation Jesus did not constantly use his divine attributes according to his human nature, but he used these attributes, in which his human nature shared, whenever he deemed it necessary for the purpose of his office and work." (Ibid)

Vincent on fig tree - The Jewish writings tell of distinguished rabbis who were accustomed to rise early and pursue their studies under the shade of a fig-tree.

Swindoll -  The Talmud (the later collected writings of Jewish scholars on practical living) encouraged men to meditate under a large tree to read and reflect on the Scriptures at least once each day. It’s likely that Nathanael was doing just that. Philip’s description of Jesus would influence only a man who had studied “the Law and the Prophets” and was looking for the Messiah. Hebrew culture celebrated the fig tree as a symbol of protection, or covering (1 Kings 4:25; Mic. 4:4; Zech. 3:10). Indeed, the thick foliage of a mature tree offered a cool retreat for quiet reflection on Scripture, or perhaps an afternoon nap. (Ibid)

NET NOTE - Many have speculated about what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree. Meditating on the Messiah who was to come? A good possibility, since the fig tree was used as shade for teaching or studying by the later rabbis (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 5:11). Also, the fig tree was symbolic for messianic peace and plenty (Mic 4:4+, Zech 3:10 = ‘In that day,’ [MILLENNIUM AS ALSO DESCRIBED IN Micah 4:4+] declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’)

Related Resources:


Oswald Chambers - Missionary munitions

Worshipping as Occasion serves. When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. John 1:48.

We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. ‘If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion.’ You will not unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop, unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it, when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crises always reveal character.

The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. The time comes when there is no more ‘fig-tree’ life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as occasion serves you in your home. Worship aright in your private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which no one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.

‘I can’t be expected to live the sanctified life in the circumstances I am in; I have no time for praying just now, no time for Bible reading, my opportunity hasn’t come yet; when it does, of course I shall be all right.’ No, you will not. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.

The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.


The Savior Who Knows Us

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. John 1:48

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 1:43–51

“Dad, what time is it?” my son asked from the back seat. “It’s 5:30.” I knew exactly what he’d say next. “No, it’s 5:28!” I watched his face light up. Gotcha! his beaming smile said. I felt delight too—the kind that comes from knowing your child the way only a parent can.

Like any attentive parent, I know my children. I know how they’ll respond when I wake them up. I know what they’ll want in their lunches. I know countless interests, desires, and preferences.

But for all that, I’ll never know them perfectly, inside and out, the way our Lord knows us.

We catch a glimpse of the kind of intimate knowledge Jesus has of His people in John 1. As Nathanael, who Philip had urged to meet Jesus, moved toward Him, Jesus pronounced, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (v. 47). Startled, Nathanael responded, “How do you know me?” Somewhat mysteriously, Jesus replied that He’d seen him under the fig tree (v. 48).

We may not know why Jesus chose to share this particular detail, but it seems Nathaniel did! Overwhelmed, he responded, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God” (v. 49).

Jesus knows each of us like this: intimately, completely, and perfectly—the way we long to be known. And He accepts us completely—inviting us to be, not only His followers, but His beloved friends (John 15:15). By:  Adam R. Holz

Jesus, Thank You for knowing me fully, inside and out, and for loving, forgiving, and accepting me just the way I am. Thank You for inviting me into the adventure of following You. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Jesus knows us the way we long to be known.

John 1:49  Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel."

BGT  John 1:49 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.

NET  John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!"

NLT  John 1:49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God-- the King of Israel!"

ESV  John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

NIV  John 1:49 Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

GNT  John 1:49 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ, Ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.

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

YLT  John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith to him, 'Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel.'

ASV  John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel.

CSB  John 1:49 "Rabbi," Nathanael replied, "You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

NKJ  John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

NRS  John 1:49 Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

NAB  John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

NJB  John 1:49 Nathanael answered, 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.'

GWN  John 1:49 Nathanael said to Jesus, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!"

  • Rabbi : Joh 1:38 
  • You are the Son of God: Joh 1:18,34 20:28,29 Mt 14:33 
  • You are the King of Israel: Joh 12:13-15 18:37 19:19-22 Ps 2:6 110:1 Isa 9:7 Jer 23:5,6 Eze 37:21-25 Da 9:25 Ho 3:5 Mic 5:2 Zep 3:15 Zec 6:12,13 9:9 Mt 2:2 21:5 27:11,42 Lu 19:38 
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Psalm 2:6-7  “But as for Me, I (GOD THE FATHER) have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”  7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You (MESSIAH) are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 

NATHANAEL ACKNOWLEDGES
JESUS' DEITY AND AUTHORITY

Let's summarize Jesus first "band of brothers" (some literal) - Andrew, John, Philip, Simon Peter, Nathanael. Many commentators think that when Andrew went to get his brother Simon Peter, John went to get his brother James. So there would have been either 5 or 6 of what eventually would be 12 disciples. Wiersbe is one of the writers that thinks James was in this inaugural group writing "They were both so impressed that they found their brothers and brought them to Jesus. Andrew found Simon and John brought James. Indeed, they were their brothers’ keepers! (Gen. 4:9)...At the close of that fourth day, Jesus had six believing men who were His disciples. They did not immediately “forsake all and follow Him”; that was to come later. But they had trusted Him and experienced His power. In the three years that lay ahead, they would grow in their faith, learn more about Jesus, and one day take His place on the earth so that the Word might be carried to all mankind. " (BEC)

Nathanael answered Him Rabbi, You are the Son of God - Nathanael's skepticism/doubt had vanished leading to his incredible confession of Christ. Nathanael uses 3 titles to describe Jesus, first being Rabbi. Nathanael then repeated the Baptist's acknowledgement that Jesus is not just a Man but is God the Son, the Son of God. And he "crowns" his appellations with "the King of Israel!" 

Lenski - Almost involuntary is the instantaneous response

It is fascinating that Nathanael is convinced by Jesus' supernatural knowledge of him under the fig tree, and yet how tragic that throughout the Gospels thousands of other Israelites failed to see the innumerable miracles of healing the sick, causing lame to walk and blind to see, and even raising the dead, all greater supernatural signs and all clearly pointing to the identify of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel! 

Swindoll adds that "Nathanael’s heart was thoroughly prepared to receive the truth because he had been earnestly studying the Scriptures and searching for the Messiah. So, once Jesus removed a legitimate obstacle to belief, Nathanael believed at once. Others will prove quite the opposite; the most astounding displays of supernatural power will not move them to believe because they stubbornly choose to reject the truth standing before them." (Ibid)

Wiersbe - When Jesus revealed His knowledge of Nathanael, where he had been and what he had been doing, this was enough to convince the man that Jesus indeed was “the Son of God, the King of Israel.” His experience was like that of the Samaritan woman at the well. “When He [Messiah] is come, He will tell us all things … Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did” (John 4:25, 29+). The revealing of the human heart should also take place in the ministry of local churches (1 Cor. 14:23–35). (BEC)

Mahan - Nathanael's eyes were opened to behold the divine glory and power of Christ Jesus, and he promptly confessed him to be the ‘Son of God.’ As we stated, the theme of John's book is Christ, the Son of God. There are seven who bear witness to his deity in this book–John the Baptist (Jn 1:34), Nathanael (Jn 1:49), Peter (Jn 6:69), the Lord himself (Jn 10:36), Martha (Jn 11:27), Thomas (Jn 20:28), and John (Jn 20:31+).

Robertson - Nathanael was a student of the Old Testament as Philip implied (Nn 1:45) and was quick to put together his knowledge, the statement of Philip, and the manifest supernatural knowledge of Jesus as just shown. There is no reason for toning down the noble confession of Nathanael in the light of Christ’s claim in verse 51. Cf. the confession of Peter in Jn 6:69 and Matt. 16:16 and Martha’s in John 11:27. Nathanael goes further. Thou art King of Israel (Basileus ei tou Israēl). To us this seems an anti-climax, but not so to Nathanael for both are Messianic titles in Psalm 2:6,7 and Jesus is greeted in the Triumphal Entry as the King of Israel (John 12:13).

Rabbi (4461) see note on rhabbi

Son of God - Matt. 4:3; Matt. 4:6; Matt. 8:29; Matt. 26:63; Matt. 27:40; Matt. 27:43; Matt. 27:54; Mk. 1:1; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 15:39; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 3:38; Lk. 4:3; Lk. 4:9; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 22:70; Jn. 1:34; Jn. 1:49; Jn. 3:18; Jn. 5:25; Jn. 10:36; Jn. 11:4; Jn. 11:27; Jn. 19:7; Jn. 20:31+; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:4; 2 Co. 1:19; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:13; Heb. 4:14; Heb. 6:6; Heb. 7:3; Heb. 10:29; 1 Jn. 3:8; 1 Jn. 4:15; 1 Jn. 5:5; 1 Jn. 5:10; 1 Jn. 5:12; 1 Jn. 5:13; 1 Jn. 5:20; Rev. 2:18 Jesus’ followers repeatedly acknowledged that He was the Son of God (cf. John 6:69; 11:27; Matt. 14:33; 16:16; cf. Luke 1:32, 35)

You are the King of Israel - The title King of Israel most likely reflected Nathanael's hope that Jesus would give the Jews political deliverance from the romans. As Jesus entered Jerusalem to begin His last week, "Passion Week," the Jews were exuberantly welcoming Him because they thought this meant the end of Roman oppression. Luke records their welcome as they were "shouting “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lu 19:38+)

Related Passages:

Zephaniah 3:15+ The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. 

Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

Micah 5:2   “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” 

John 6:15  So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. 

John 12:13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.

John 18:33-39  Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (cf Mark 15:2+, Lk 23:3+) 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. 39 “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”

NET NOTE - Nathanael’s confession—You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel—is best understood as a confession of Jesus’ messiahship. It has strong allusions to Ps 2:6–7, a well-known messianic psalm. What Nathanael’s exact understanding was at this point is hard to determine, but “son of God” was a designation for the Davidic king in the OT, and Nathanael parallels it with King of Israel here.

Wiersbe on King of Israel - Israel’s people were tired of Roman rule and wanted a king. Because Christ fed them, they wanted to make Him King (John 6:15), but He left the crowd. He offered Himself as their King (recorded in John 12:12–19) but the chief priests said, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15) (WEONT)

Names/Descriptions of Christ
John Chapter 1

From Leon Morris - NICNT-Jn - "We may fairly comment that by recording all these John makes a beginning on the picture of the Lord that he is to paint throughout the Gospel. He wants to show Him as the Christ, and this is how he begins to do it. But one more comment is fitting. All these titles have been used by others. Jesus calls Himself simply, ‘the Son of man’.”

  1. the Logos (Jn 1:1),
  2. God (Jn 1:1),
  3. the light of men (Jn 1:4),
  4. the true light (Jn 1:9),
  5. the only begotten from the Father (Jn 1:14),
  6. a greater than John the Baptist (Jn 1:15, 26f., 30),
  7. Jesus Christ (Jn 1:17),
  8. the only begotten God (or Son, Jn 1:18),
  9. the Lord (Jn 1:23),
  10. the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29, 36),
  11. He that baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:33),
  12. probably God’s Chosen One (Jn 1:34),
  13. the Son of God (Jn 1:49),
  14. Rabbi (Jn 1:38, 49),
  15. the Messiah (Jn 1:41),
  16. He of whom Moses and the prophets wrote (Jn 1:45),
  17. the King of Israel (Jn 1:49).
  18. Son of Man (Jn 1:51)
  19. (My addition - He is "Jacob’s Ladder" to Heaven)
  20. (My addition - One out of Nazareth - Jn 1:46)

David Thompson has the following related comment on the Names of Jesus, but he adds some names/descriptions not in the previous list - 

John chapter 1 is unlike any other chapter you will ever read in the entire Bible. If you look carefully at it, you will observe that there are twenty-one names or titles given to Jesus Christ, which are not said of any other person who ever walked on this earth. The list is so comprehensive that there is no other chapter in the entire Bible that begins to compare. These titles are both Divine and Majestic: 1) The Word (v. 1); 2) The God (v. 1); 3) The Creator (v. 3); 4) The Life (v. 4); 5) The Light (v. 4); 6) The Only True Light (v. 9); 7) The Only begotten from the Father (v. 14); 8) The One Full of Grace and Truth (v.14); 9) The Highest ranked Person who always existed (v. 15); 10) The Only begotten God (v. 18); 11) The Lord (v. 23); 12) Jesus (v. 29); 13) The Lamb of the God (v. 29); 14) The Son of God (v. 34); 15) Rabbi (v. 38); 16) Messiah (v. 41); 17) Christ (v. 41); 18) Jesus of Nazareth (v. 45); 19) Jesus of Joseph (v. 45); 20) The King of Israel (v. 49); 21) The Son of Man (v. 51).

John 1:50  Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

BGT  John 1:50 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὅτι εἶπόν σοι ὅτι εἶδόν σε ὑποκάτω τῆς συκῆς, πιστεύεις; μείζω τούτων ὄψῃ.

NET  John 1:50 Jesus said to him, "Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

NLT  John 1:50 Jesus asked him, "Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."

ESV  John 1:50 Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

NIV  John 1:50 Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that."

GNT  John 1:50 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ὅτι εἶπόν σοι ὅτι εἶδόν σε ὑποκάτω τῆς συκῆς, πιστεύεις; μείζω τούτων ὄψῃ.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:50 Jesus answered and said to him, 'Because I said to thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, thou dost believe; greater things than these thou shalt see;'

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

CSB  John 1:50 Jesus responded to him, "Do you believe only because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."

NKJ  John 1:50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you,`I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

NRS  John 1:50 Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these."

NAB  John 1:50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."

NJB  John 1:50 Jesus replied, 'You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You are going to see greater things than that.'

GWN  John 1:50 Jesus replied, "You believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that."

DO YOU BELIEVE JESUS
IS THE SON OF GOD?

Jesus answered and said to him "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? - So Jesus acknowledge Nathanael as believing in Him. As we see with all the disciples, their faith begins small but grows over time and comes to full fruition after the Spirit comes on the Day of Pentecost. 

MacDonald points out that "The Lord had given Nathanael two proofs that He was the Messiah. He had described his character, and He had seen Nathanael when no other eyes could have seen him. These two proofs were sufficient for Nathanael, and he believed. But now the Lord Jesus promised that he would see greater proofs than these." (BBC)

Lenski - Jesus might have said nothing more and might have continued his journey. But where he meets faith like this he praises and rewards it....The reward lies in the promise, “Something greater than this shalt thou see.”

Believe (4100)(pisteuo) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of. Pisteuo is a key word in the Gospel of John where it is found in 86 verses compared to only 32 verses in the synoptic Gospels and 50 verses in the Pauline epistles. 

Jn. 1:7; Jn. 1:12; Jn. 1:50; Jn. 2:11; Jn. 2:22; Jn. 2:23; Jn. 2:24; Jn. 3:12; Jn. 3:15; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 3:18; Jn. 3:36; Jn. 4:21; Jn. 4:39; Jn. 4:41; Jn. 4:42; Jn. 4:48; Jn. 4:50; Jn. 4:53; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 5:38; Jn. 5:44; Jn. 5:46; Jn. 5:47; Jn. 6:29; Jn. 6:30; Jn. 6:35; Jn. 6:36; Jn. 6:40; Jn. 6:47; Jn. 6:64; Jn. 6:69; Jn. 7:5; Jn. 7:31; Jn. 7:38; Jn. 7:39; Jn. 7:48; Jn. 8:24; Jn. 8:30; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 8:45; Jn. 8:46; Jn. 9:18; Jn. 9:35; Jn. 9:36; Jn. 9:38; Jn. 10:25; Jn. 10:26; Jn. 10:37; Jn. 10:38; Jn. 10:42; Jn. 11:15; Jn. 11:25; Jn. 11:26; Jn. 11:27; Jn. 11:40; Jn. 11:42; Jn. 11:45; Jn. 11:48; Jn. 12:11; Jn. 12:36; Jn. 12:37; Jn. 12:38; Jn. 12:39; Jn. 12:42; Jn. 12:44; Jn. 12:46; Jn. 13:19; Jn. 14:1; Jn. 14:10; Jn. 14:11; Jn. 14:12; Jn. 14:29; Jn. 16:9; Jn. 16:27; Jn. 16:30; Jn. 16:31; Jn. 17:8; Jn. 17:20; Jn. 17:21; Jn. 19:35; Jn. 20:8; Jn. 20:25; Jn. 20:29; Jn. 20:31+

You will see greater things than these - John would go on to record in chapters 2-12 seven "great signs" that authenticate that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel. In the present context Jesus goes on in the next verse to explain one greater thing Nathanael will see.

MacArthur on greater things - The first of the thirty-seven miracles of Jesus recorded in the gospels would soon take place in Nathanael’s own hometown of Cana (Jn 2:1–11). In addition, Nathanael would witness countless other miracles beyond those recorded in Scripture (cf. Jn 21:25).

NET NOTE - What are the greater things Jesus had in mind? In the narrative this forms an excellent foreshadowing of the miraculous signs which began at Cana of Galilee.

Steven Cole - Nathanael is the first man in John’s gospel who is said to believe in Jesus and he is the first to receive a promise from Christ. His testimony teaches us that there are degrees of growth in coming to know Christ. Nathanael was already a student of the Scriptures, searching them to know who the Messiah would be (1:45). But he needed to meet Jesus in person. That meeting brought him to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the King of Israel (1:49). But Jesus would reveal still more to Nathanael in the future. As we’ve seen, Jesus is far greater than any of us realized when we first came to believe in Him. So the Christian life is a wonderful relationship in which we come to know Jesus in a deeper and deeper way (Phil. 3:8-14). 


Our Daily Homily - F B Meyer - John 1:50 Thou shalt see greater things than these.

God’s dealings with us are always on an ascending scale. If we see clearly the lowest rung in the heavenly ladder, whilst we behold, the vail of mist will part, and we shall see the next above it, and then the next, and, in due order, the next; and so the steps that slope away through darkness up to God will always be beckoning to greater and yet greater things.
Have you known Christ as the Word? He is more; both Spirit and Life.
Has He become flesh? You shall behold Him glorified with the glory He had before the worlds. Have you known Him as Alpha, before all? He is also Omega.
Have you met John? You shall meet One so much greater, that the latchet of his shoes the Baptist shall deem himself unworthy to unloose.
Do you know the baptism by water? You shall be baptized by fire.
Have you beheld the Lamb on the Cross? You shall behold Him in the midst of the throne.
Have you seen the Spirit descend as a dove on one head? You shall see Him come as a fire upon an unnumbered multitude.
Have you followed the Christ to the slight booth in the Jordan Valley? You shall enter with Him into mansions of eternal glory.
Do you acknowledge Him as King of Israel? You shall hear the acclamations that salute Him as King of the worlds.
Live up to all you know, and you shall know more. Be all you can, and you shall become more. Do all that your two talents permit, and you will find yourself ruler over four cities. 


C H Spurgeon - JANUARY 7

  “Thou shalt see greater things than these.” John 1:50.

THIS is spoken to a childlike believer, who was ready to accept Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, upon one convincing piece of argument. Those who are willing to see shall see: it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind.

We have seen much already. Great things and unsearchable has the Lord showed unto us, for which we praise his name; but there are greater truths in his Word, greater depths of experience, greater heights of fellowship, greater works of usefulness, greater discoveries of power, and love, and wisdom. These we are yet to see if we are willing to believe our Lord. The faculty of inventing false doctrine is ruinous, but power to see the truth is a blessing. Heaven shall be opened to us, the way thither shall be made clear to us in the Son of man, and the angelic commerce which goes on between the upper and the lower kingdoms shall be made more manifest to us. Let us keep our eyes open towards spiritual objects, and expect to see more and more. Let us believe that our lives will not drivel down into nothing, but that we shall be always on the growing hand, seeing greater and still greater things, till we behold the Great God himself, and never again lose the sight of him. (Checkbook of the Bank of Faith)

John 1:51  And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

BGT  John 1:51 καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὄψεσθε τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

NET  John 1:51 He continued, "I tell all of you the solemn truth– you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

NLT  John 1:51 Then he said, "I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth. "

ESV  John 1:51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

NIV  John 1:51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

GNT  John 1:51 καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὄψεσθε τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

KJV  John 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.

YLT  John 1:51 and he saith to him, 'Verily, verily, I say to you, henceforth ye shall see the heaven opened, and the messengers of God going up and coming down upon the Son of Man.'

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

CSB  John 1:51 Then He said, " I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

NKJ  John 1:51 And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

NRS  John 1:51 And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

NAB  John 1:51 And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

NJB  John 1:51 And then he added, 'In all truth I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending over the Son of man.'

GWN  John 1:51 Jesus said to Nathanael, "I can guarantee this truth: You will see the sky open and God's angels going up and coming down to the Son of Man."

  • Truly, truly, I say to you: Joh 3:3,5 5:19,24,25 6:26,32,47,53 8:34,51,58 10:1,7 12:24 13:16 Joh 13:20,21,38 14:12 16:20,23 21:18 
  • you will see the heavens opened: Eze 1:1 Mt 3:16 Mk 1:10 Lu 3:21 Ac 7:56 10:11 Rev 4:1 19:11 
  • and the angels of God ascending and descending: Ge 28:12 Da 7:9,10 Mt 4:11 Lu 2:9,13 22:43 24:4 Ac 1:10,11 2Th 1:7,-9 1Ti 3:16 Heb 1:14 Jude 1:14 
  • on the Son of Man: Joh 3:13,14 5:27 12:23,24 Da 7:13,14 Zec 13:7 Mt 9:6 16:13-16 Mt 16:27,28 25:31 26:24 Mk 14:62 Lu 22:69 
  • John 1:50, 51 Greater Things Yet Who Shall See Them -  Spurgeon
  • John 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage: 

Genesis 28:11-13 He (JACOB) came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.

Psalm 2:6-7 (commentary)  “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”  7“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  

Acts 7:55-56+ But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

JESUS' FIRST DECLARATION
AS "SON OF MAN"

And He said to him, "Truly, truly (amenamen), I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." - Him is actually plural now (in contrast to singular him in Jn 1:50), so while this promise is addressed directly to Nathanael it was also meant for the other disciples who were present. They would all see what He promises here. The words amenamen are a promise of the assurance (and a stamp of His authority) that they would see this promise. "John always repeats it, not singly as in the Synoptics, and only in the words of Jesus, an illustration of Christ’s authoritative manner of speaking." (Robertson) 

Opened (anoigo) is in the perfect tense describing past completed action with continuing effect. In other words, the heavens have been opened and are standing open. In other words, once opened, the heavens remained opened. Jesus is alluding to the OT story of Jacob’s Ladder (below), but now from the lips of Jesus, the meaning is that He, the Son of Man, would be the "stairs" by which one could enter the heavens which are standing open so that may enter who come by grace through faith (Eph 2:8,9+) in the Son of Man! 

Wiersbe - Christ is God’s “ladder” between heaven and earth. “No man cometh to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Often in this Gospel, you will find Jesus reminding people that He came down from heaven. (BEC)

Jesus for the first time uses his favorite self designation Son of Man a phrase used only by Christ. Vincent explains that "Son of man is the expression of Christ’s self-consciousness as being related to humanity as a whole: denoting His real participation in human nature, and designating Himself as the representative man."

Amen (281)(amen) is a transliteration from the Hebrew word amen which in turn is from the Hebrew verb aman = to be firm, to believe, this word conveying the idea of certainty) Amen is transliterated into Latin and English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. In fact amen has been called the best-known word in human speech. To say “Amen” confirms a statement by someone else. Renn notes that Amen "indicates the solemn affirmation of the divine will and purpose in about one-third of the nearly 150 occurrences of the term. The remaining uses of the term yield the adverbial meaning "truly." (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words) Truly (surely) acknowledges that which is valid and binding. The OT often used "amen" at the end of a sentence (truly, surely, certainly) to confirm the preceding words and invokes their fulfillment. Only the Lord Jesus uses amen (truly) at beginning of a sentence. His "Amen" guarantees the truth of His saying and affirms His authority. 

Truly, truly (Amen, Amen) is found 25 times, only in the Gospels and only on the lips of Jesus (He Alone could manifest such assurance and authority connoted by the double "amens"!) - Jn. 1:51; Jn. 3:3; Jn. 3:5; Jn. 3:11; Jn. 5:19; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 5:25; Jn. 6:26; Jn. 6:32; Jn. 6:47; Jn. 6:53; Jn. 8:34; Jn. 8:51; Jn. 8:58; Jn. 10:1; Jn. 10:7; Jn. 12:24; Jn. 13:16; Jn. 13:20; Jn. 13:21; Jn. 13:38; Jn. 14:12; Jn. 16:20; Jn. 16:23; Jn. 21:18

Son of Man in John - Jn. 1:51; Jn. 3:13; Jn. 3:14; Jn. 5:27; Jn. 6:27; Jn. 6:53; Jn. 6:62; Jn. 8:28; Jn. 9:35; Jn. 12:23; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 13:31 The phrase is found in Matthew thirty times, in Mark thirteen, and in John twelve.

Son of Man in Synoptic Gospels - Matt. 8:20; Matt. 9:6; Matt. 10:23; Matt. 11:19; Matt. 12:8; Matt. 12:32; Matt. 12:40; Matt. 13:37; Matt. 13:41; Matt. 16:13; Matt. 16:27; Matt. 16:28; Matt. 17:9; Matt. 17:12; Matt. 17:22; Matt. 18:11; Matt. 19:28; Matt. 20:18; Matt. 20:28; Matt. 24:27; Matt. 24:30; Matt. 24:37; Matt. 24:39; Matt. 24:44; Matt. 25:31; Matt. 26:2; Matt. 26:24; Matt. 26:45; Matt. 26:64; Mk. 2:10; Mk. 2:28; Mk. 8:31; Mk. 8:38; Mk. 9:9; Mk. 9:12; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:33; Mk. 10:45; Mk. 13:26; Mk. 14:21; Mk. 14:41; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 6:5; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 7:34; Lk. 9:22; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 9:58; Lk. 11:30; Lk. 12:8; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 12:40; Lk. 17:22; Lk. 17:24; Lk. 17:26; Lk. 17:30; Lk. 18:8; Lk. 18:31; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 21:36; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:48; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:7

Opened (455)(anoigo from ana = again + oigo = to open) means to open, to open up, to open again, to give access to. To open one's eyes causing them to see (Acts 26:18). Of heavens open = have the heavens opened or divided so that celestial things become manifest - Mt 3:16; Lu 3:21; Jn 1:51; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Rev 19:11 After Jesus' baptism the "heavens were opened" and the Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus (Mt 3:16, Lk 3:21). 

NET NOTE - The title Son of Man appears 13 times in John’s Gospel. It is associated especially with the themes of crucifixion (John 3:14; 8:28), revelation (John 6:27; 6:53), and eschatological authority (5:27; 9:35). The title as used in John’s Gospel has for its background the son of man figure who appears in Dan 7:13–14+ and is granted universal regal authority. Thus for the author, the emphasis in this title is not on Jesus’ humanity, but on his heavenly origin and divine authority.

Wiersbe on Son of Man - This title comes from Dan. 7:13–14+, and every Jew knew it described God. (Note the Jews’ question in John 12:34.) Christ alludes in Jn 1:51 to “Jacob’s Ladder” in Gen. 28:10–17. Christ is “God’s ladder” between earth and heaven, revealing God to men and taking men to God.

Lenski - These disciples, in fact, had the first vision of this kind three days later in the miracle at Cana. The tense also furnishes positive assurance, a definite promise and glorious prophecy, “you shall see, indeed,” it will come to pass....visions of the supernatural works of Jesus, beginning with the miracle in Cana. These works the disciples shall actually see and behold in them the divine power of Jesus. This seeing, then, is like that of v. 14, “we beheld his glory,” etc.

Swindoll explains that "Jesus’ final words in this episode reveal His ultimate purpose for coming into the world. It was to bridge the great schism that sin created between heaven and earth. This is a reference to Genesis 28:12, in which Jacob dreamt of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven and angels using it to move between the separated realms. Jesus announced that He is that ladder. What had been a dream is now a reality. Undoubtedly, this held special significance for Nathanael, as a son of Jacob, as a sinful man, and as an earnest student of “the Law and the Prophets.” (Ibid)

MacArthur - The point of this statement is that Jesus is the link between heaven and earth, the revealer of heavenly truth to men (Jn 1:17; 14:6; Eph. 4:21), the “one mediator … between God and men” (1 Tim. 2:5), and the mediator of a new (Heb. 9:14; 12:24) and better (Heb. 8:6) covenant. In John 3:13 He declared to Nicodemus, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man” (cf. Jn 6:33, 38, 41–42, 50–51, 58, 62; 13:3; 16:28; 17:8). That truth would become increasingly clear to Nathanael and the rest of the disciples as they observed Jesus’ life and ministry. (Ibid)

Robertson on heavens opened - The opened heaven as the symbol of free intercourse between God and man (Isa. 64:1) and as it was later illustrated in the death of Stephen (Acts 7:56+). There is a quotation from Gen. 28:12f., Jacob’s vision at Bethel. That was a dream to Jacob, but Christ is himself the bond of fellowship between heaven and earth, between God and man, for Jesus is both “the Son of God” as Nathanael said and “the Son of Man” (epi ton huion tou anthrōpou) as Jesus here calls himself. God and man meet in Christ. He is the true Jacob’s Ladder. “I am the Way,” Jesus will say. He is more than King of Israel, he is the Son of Man (the race). So quickly has this Gospel brought out in the witness of the Baptist, the faith of the first disciples, the claims of Jesus Christ, the fully developed picture of the Logos who is both God and man, moving among men and winning them to his service. At the close of the ministry Christ will tell Caiaphas that he will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven (Mk 14:62). Here at the start Jesus is conscious of the final culmination and in apocalyptic eschatological language that we do not fully understand he sets forth the dignity and majesty of his Person.

William MacDonald - Whenever Jesus introduced a saying with the words Most assuredly (literally “Amen, amen”), He was always about to say something very important. Here He gave Nathanael a picture of the time in the future when He would come back to reign over all the earth. The world will then know that the carpenter’s Son who lived in despised Nazareth was truly the Son of God and Israel’s King. In that day, heaven will open. The favor of God will rest upon the King as He reigns, with Jerusalem as His capital. It is likely that Nathanael had been meditating on the story of Jacob’s Ladder (Gen. 28:12). That ladder, with its ascending and descending angels, is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the only access to heaven. The angels of God will ascend and descend upon the Son of Man. Angels are servants of God, traveling like flames of fire on His errands. When Jesus reigns as King, these angels will travel back and forth between heaven and earth, fulfilling His will. Jesus was saying to Nathanael that he had seen only very minor demonstrations of His Messiahship. In the future Reign of Christ, he would see the Lord Jesus fully revealed as God’s anointed Son. Then all mankind would know that Someone good did come out of Nazareth. (BBC)

Stevenson -  Jesus is the fulfillment of Jacob’s Ladder. He is the ladder that spans the gulf. He is the intermediary who brings man into fellowship with God. If you have been trying to reach God apart from Jesus, then you have failed. There is a fundamental exclusiveness to Christianity. Jesus did not say that He is "a" way. He is not one of many different paths to God. He said that He is THE way. You will likely object that this seems far too intolerant of other religions and beliefs. But that is the nature of truth. Real truth is always intolerant of error. Truth is always exclusive. Truth does not change to suit the mistaken belief of anyone. Jesus is the ladder. He is the way of community between God and man. He offers that community to you. It is a free gift. It can be yours today. You can come to Jesus in faith, trusting in Him alone as your Lord and Savior. Then there will come a day when you also shall see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Gotquestions on angels of God ascending...- . Then Jesus prophesies that Nathanael will see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man (verse 51). This is a reference to the story of Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis 28. But instead of ascending and descending on a ladder as they did in Jacob’s dream, the angels will ascend and descend on the Son of Man—meaning that Jesus Himself will be the final, efficacious connection between God and humanity (see Hebrews 9:12; 10:10).


David Guzik has some excellent summary points on the second half of John chapter 1

This section of John shows four ways of coming to Jesus:

  1. Andrew came to Jesus because of the preaching of John. 
  2. Peter came to Jesus because of the witness of his brother.
  3. Phillip came to Jesus as a result of the direct call of Jesus.
  4. Nathaniel came to Jesus as he overcame personal prejudices by a personal encounter with Jesus.

This section shows us four different witnesses testifying to the identity of Jesus. How much more testimony does anyone need?

  1. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is eternal, that He is the man uniquely anointed with the Holy Spirit, that He is the Lamb of God, and that Jesus is the unique Son of God.
  2. Andrew testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.
  3.  Phillip testified that Jesus is the One prophesied in the Old Testament.
  4. Nathaniel testified that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.

C H Spurgeon - John 1:51.

YES, to our faith this sight is plain even at this day. We do see heaven opened. Jesus himself has opened that kingdom to all believers. We gaze into the place of mystery and glory, for he has revealed it to us, and we shall enter it, for he is the way.

Now we see the explanation of Jacob’s Ladder. Between earth and heaven there is a holy commerce; prayer ascends, and answers come down, by the way of Jesus, the Mediator. We see this ladder when we see our Lord. In him a stair-way of light now furnishes a clear passage to the throne of the Most High. Let us use it, and send up by it the messengers of our prayers. We shall live the angelic life ourselves if we run up to heaven in intercession, and lay hold upon the blessings of the covenant, and then descend again to scatter those gifts among the sons of men.

This choice sight which Jacob only saw in a dream we will turn into a bright reality. This very day we will be up and down the ladder each hour; climbing in communion, and coming down in labour to save our fellow-men. This is thy promise, O Lord Jesus, let us joyfully see it fulfilled. (Checkbook of the Bank of Faith)


Question: What is Jacob’s Ladder?

Answer: The term "Jacob’s Ladder" has become a common phrase—it has been used as a movie title, a book title, a name of a flower, and even as a name of an electrical device. But from where did this phrase originate?

Genesis 28:10-12 first mentions "Jacob’s Ladder" when it says, "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway/ladder resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."

It is in this passage that God reveals Himself to Jacob and reaffirms the covenant He made with Abraham, promising Jacob (who will later be named Israel) that his offspring will be many and that the Promised Land will one day belong to his descendants. In this vision Jacob sees something similar to a ladder or a stairway (Hebrew word: sullam) which signifies a connection between God and man. In this instance, it was God who provided the means necessary to link Himself to man as opposed to the men of Babel in Genesis 11 who tried to reach heaven by their own actions, aside from the help of God.

These two passages of Scripture reflect differing schools of thought over the issue of salvation: One group tries to reach heaven based on their own actions aside from God’s help, but the other group has access to heaven based on the provisions of God and only the provisions of God.

As Christians we see this dream of Jacob’s as highly symbolic, representing the Mediator, Jesus Christ, who came to earth and became that ladder or stairway for us to reconnect the relationship with God that was severed because of sin. Romans 5:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

According to the Bible, Jesus was our ideal "Jacob’s Ladder" who came to earth, from the line of Jacob, through the provisions of God, and redeemed us so that we may live in heaven for eternity. GotQuestions.org


John 1:51  Angels Ascending and Descending?

What is meant by the angels “ascending and descending on the Son of Man”? Nathanael was not talking about angels, although he had been convinced by Jesus’ prophetic insight into his life that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Now Jesus responds to him, saying in effect, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” He goes on to describe the experience we find in this verse. What does it mean to see heaven open? And why would it be significant to see angels of God “ascending and descending” on Jesus? In fact, does it not seem strange to talk about such beings coming down on top of a human being like Jesus?

It is obvious that there is a change of audience in John 1:51. Up until this time Jesus has been addressing Nathanael, and the pronoun you is singular. In this verse Jesus speaks “to him” (singular) and says, “I tell you (plural) … you (plural) shall see … ” In other words, within the verse the focus shifts from Nathanael to the whole group of disciples. Jesus is broadening his audience. It is not just Nathanael who will have this experience, but the whole group of at least four of them.

What is it that the whole group will experience? The reference to angels of God ascending and descending is probably a reference to Genesis 28:12: “He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” The difference between “on it” and “on him” (underlying John’s “on the Son of Man”) is not significant in that the Hebrew could be translated both ways. In fact, in later Jewish literature there is a discussion between Rabbi Hiyya and Rabbi Yannai on this very point (Genesis Rabbah 69.3 on Gen 28:12).

John’s reference is wider than simply Genesis 28, for he also uses the phrase “you shall see heaven open,” which suggests the descent of the Spirit at Jesus’ baptism (Mk 1:10).

So what we have here is a complex picture. Heaven is open; there is a way from heaven, the presence of the Father, to earth. That way ends in or on the Son of Man, or Jesus. As Jacob comments in Genesis 28:17, “This is the gate of heaven.” All of this is said in a context of seeing greater things than simply a prophetic word from Jesus, which is what Nathanael had already received.

There is no place in John in which the disciples see literal angels moving between heaven and earth, or heaven and Jesus. However, angels are those who bring the divine presence and so are the divine intermediaries. So the question becomes, “Where in the Gospel of John do we see the divine presence revealed to the disciples?” The answer comes quite quickly: in the next chapter.

In John 2:11 we read, “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” In the miracle of turning the water into wine the disciples saw Jesus’ “glory” revealed. This resulted in faith. What was Jesus’ glory? John has already answered that question in John 1:14–18: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. … No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” John is saying that the “glory” or reputation that belongs to the Father is seen in Jesus. We could put it that Jesus is the window through which one sees the Father.

Jacob at Bethel sees a stairway to heaven and experiences the presence of God. The disciples during Jesus’ life did not literally see a stairway to heaven, but they did experience the presence of God and commerce between heaven and earth. They had this experience when they observed the signs which Jesus performed and saw his “glory,” which was the “glory” of the Father. Nathanael had believed because of a prophetic word given by Jesus. Both he and the other disciples would experience more than this: they would experience Jesus as the “gate of heaven,” the place where the presence of the Father in heaven was expressed on earth. They saw this in the signs which Jesus worked, and they responded with commitment (faith).

John picks up this theme in John 14:12, when he indicates that the presence of the Spirit in the believer will make him or her into one who can be even more of a window into heaven, the topic of another chapter. At this point what we notice is that Jesus is the point of contact between God and the world. In him there is traffic between heaven and earth. That traffic is seen in his signs in which the presence of the glory of the Father in him shines through. This, John is saying, calls for belief. Nathanael committed himself to Jesus on the basis of what he had; we have far more basis for committing ourselves than he did. (Hard Sayings - Walter Kaiser)

 

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