JOHN 1:43-51 THE REVEALING OF JESUS TO PHILLIP AND NATHANIEL

1Apr

John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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." 46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" 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." 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" 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." 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."(NKJV)

 In this section of Scripture Jesus actually goes out to find Phillip and when He does Phillip immediately goes to find his brother Nathaniel. Have you noticed that every time Jesus calls a disciple they immediately go and find someone else and bring them to Jesus? This is a great principle; we should all be bringing people to Jesus.  Nathaniel is a bit of a skeptic and takes some convincing. Jesus then begins to talk to Nathaniel and tell him all the things he was doing and thinking and Nathaniel is thoroughly convinced.  Jesus goes on to tell Nathaniel that the Son of Man is the only way to Heaven and the ladder that Jacob saw was actually a picture of Jesus.  This is a really great passage that begins to open up all the things about Jesus that we need to know and have you noticed all the names and titles that they have been given to Jesus beginning back in verse 29 of this Chapter.  There are about 16 of them, see if you can find them and see what they all mean.

 Following Jesus Means He leads you in a new direction v43-44

Initiative Evangelism - you take the initiative

The disciples of John were not the only men who began following Jesus. Andrew continued to bring other friends to Jesus. This incident preceded Jesus' formal appointment of the Twelve, but it shows Him preparing those who would become His disciples.

Everyone else in this chapter who came to Jesus came on the invitation of someone other than Jesus. Moreover John seems to have been stressing the importance of witnessing for Jesus. Andrew found Philip (a Greek name meaning "lover of horses") somewhere along the way or, most likely, in Galilee. Philip was from Bethsaida Julius in the region of Galilee (12:21). Having come to Jesus on Andrew's invitation, Philip accepted Jesus' invitation to follow Him. Verse 43, “The next day He purposed,” this is Jesus I believe.  Some think Andrew.  I think its Jesus.  “The next day He purposed to go to Galilee, and He found Philip, eureka.  Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’” Philip is going one way, Jesus is going to pull  him another.  This one he sort of goes after, if you will.  Philips means a lover of horses.  That’s about all we know about Philip.  What is significant is that God meets Philip where he is.

 Now, you know, we, we say that axiom sometimes too much; God meets us where we are; and that can be inaccurate, can’t it.  But there’s a profound spiritual truth as well in that statement that God does meet us where we are.  One of the most profound passages in my spiritual journey has been Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  I hope you never get over that verse.  I hope you never tire of reviewing the fact that you and I were sinners in a sinful condition when we met Jesus Christ.  We did not have to get a little more good, a little bit better, clean up our lives, and then trust Christ.  He meets us while we are in our sinful condition.  So, in a sense, He does meet us where we are, doesn’t He?  And He meets Philip where he is.  Where are you?  Doesn’t matter ‘because that’s where He’ll meet you.

  1. Following Jesus Results in a new comprehension of who Jesus is v45-49

Apologetic Evangelism

 Philip then brought his friend Nathaniel (meaning "God has given" or "given of God," modern Theodore) to Jesus. Some commentators identify Nathanael with Bartholomew (cf. Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14).

However there is no good reason to equate these two men. The witness continued to spread through the most normal lines of communication, namely, friend to friend, as it still does. The prophecies to which Philip referred may have included Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Isaiah 53; Daniel 7:13; Micah 5:2; and Zechariah 9:9. These and

others spoke of the Messiah. This suggests that the early disciples understood messiahship in the light of the Old Testament background rather than only in a political sense.98 Philip described Jesus as Joseph's son, which is how people knew Him before they learned that He was the Son of God (v. 49). "In one sense it is legitimate to view Jesus' disciples in the gospel of John (with the exception of Judas Iscariot) as believers in Him from near the beginning of His public ministry. In another sense, however, it is also clear that the disciples' faith in Jesus grew and developed as they observed the progress of His public ministry. The course of this development may be traced in the gospel of John."99

Ge 28:8-19 And he called the name of that place Bethel (House of God); but the name of that city had been Luz (Means Wilderness or Separation) previously.

V49 The fig tree is interesting.  It’s brimming with meaning.  Jesus saw him previously.  There are two things going on here.  One is historical and one is prophetic.  He saw him sitting under this fig true.  That’s the historical part.  But there’s a prophetic notion with it as well for in the Old Testament, if you were under any tree, you were meditating.  We might call it quiet time in our vernacular.  If a good Jew was under a tree, he was having a quiet time in our terminology.  So he saw Nathanael having this devotion under the tree. 

 Psalm 139 says, “God knows everything about you.”  It’s exciting and scary to read that Psalm.  He knows everything about you.  Every crevice in your heart, every guilty conscience, every sin hid away, every motive of love, everything He’s changed, He knows every little thing about you and me.  We think about videotapes of our lives.  Think about a holographic 3D re-enactment imagery of your life.  Jesus knows every motive and whim.  So Nathanael is found out, if you will, when Jesus says of him, “Look, there’s no deceit in that guy.”  Well, this is enough to push Nathanael over the edge.  He says, “You are, Rabbi, the Son of God.  You are the King of Israel.” 

Jesus' simple statement elicited the most dramatic reaction from Nathaniel. He concluded that the only way Jesus could have seen him when he was under the fig tree was if Jesus had supernatural knowledge.

Evidently Nathanael knew that he was completely alone and that no one could see him when he was under the fig tree. Nathanael's reaction appears extreme at first since even prophets had knowledge of things other people knew nothing about. Why did Nathanael think Jesus was the Son of God and not just a prophet? The answer seems to be that even the title "Son of God" did not mean deity to all the Jews in Jesus' day. It meant that the person in view bore certain characteristics of God (cf. Deut. 3:18; 1 Sam. 26:16; Ps. 89:22; Prov. 31:2; Matt. 5:9; John 17:12). Nathanael appears to have regarded Jesus as the Messiah who had supernatural knowledge (cf. v. 45; 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:6-7; Isa. 11:1-2). However, Nathaniel spoke better than he knew. Jesus was the Son of God in a fuller sense than he presently understood. 100Bruce, p.

 Following Jesus Is only a beginning v50-51

He’s saying, “If you believe ‘because you think I’m clairvoyant, you're going to see a whole lot more than this that’s going to push you over the edge of belief.”

 Now, if you connect Verse 48 with Verse 51 this fig tree devotion and what Jesus says in 51 about this angels descending and ascending, we go back to Genesis 28:12 where Jacob, the supplanter, the deceiver had the dream and he saw the angels going up and down the ladder, remember?  If that’s true I think what’s happening here, I think it is true, Jesus is saying, “I saw you under the fig tree.  You’re not a deceiver.”  There’s the word.  Jake, I was just thinking about Jacob the deceiver under the tree and those angels going up and down the ladder.  He says, “You’re not a deceiver and you think you saw angels?  I’m here,” Jesus says.  “You’re going to see the angels descend and ascend out of me.  You don’t need a ladder.  You don’t need a conduit.  I am God in flesh.”  So he blows Nathanael away with His insight not only into his soul but into what He knew about his heart. 

Re 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.

Angel’s carry blessings down to us and burdens up to God for us.

 How can all these people come up with all these designations about Christ when they meet Him?  Because when you have an encounter with Jesus Christ and you meet Him your life is dramatically changed and the dots start to come together.  When you follow Jesus Christ He is asking for you to be His disciple and Him to be the master

 At least 16 different names and titles of Jesus appear in chapter one: the Word (vv. 1, 14),the light (vv. 4,7-9), the only begotten of the Father (v. 14), Jesus Christ (v. 17), the only begotten God (v. 18), the Lord (v. 23), the Lamb of God (vv. 29, 36), a man (v. 30), the Son of God (v. 34), Rabbi (Teacher, vv. 38, 49), Messiah (v. 41), Jesus of Nazareth (v.45), the son of Joseph (v. 45), the Son of God (v. 49), the King of Israel (v. 49), and the

Son of Man (v. 51).

 Lessons:

  1. He is the master, you are the follower (disciple)

Now, there are two lessons I want us to conclude on this message and the first is very simple and I’ve already said it a number of times.  If you are a believer in Christ, He is to be your master.  You are to be His disciple.  John sole’s mission in life was to point other people to Jesus and he’s content with stepping out of the light and letting Jesus take the light and letting his friends follow Jesus, and he’s happy with that.  Let me apply that in a question.  Is there any master from which you need to detachment?  Some tentacles from another master still in your soul holding on to your heart and your time?

Maybe you’ve heard it dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times; if you do not embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord, as your King, as your Savior, and your Master, you’re playing with Him, you’re toying with Him.  You going to be a follower?  If you’re going to follow Jesus Christ, it will fundamentally change the purpose of your life.  It cannot not change the purpose of your life.  If it doesn’t it you’ve not embraced who He is.

Jesus Christ is saying to you I’m the teacher, you are the student, and oh by the way, you’re always going to be a student.  Jesus Christ is saying to you I’m the Rabbi, you’re the disciple, oh by the way, you’re always going to be a disciple.  You’ll never be a Rabbi. This generation arches its back against submission like no generation ever has before.  We hate submission.

 2. If you’re going to follow Me then follow me.  Don’t play with Me. Obey Me no matter what anybody tells you, obey me.”  Well, it’s tough, it’s hard.  I mean, gee, whiz Lord.  I had this sexual orientation.  I think I’m gay, I think, you know, I’m living with my girlfriend, I’m living with my boyfriend, I’m sleeping around and I --.  You know, your Bible says that’s wrong but that Bible, it’s an old book.  Come on, Lord.  Everybody says this is okay.  I’m the Master, you’re the child. 

Jesus Christ wants followers, not fans.  He wants committed students, not a crowd of spectators.  Do you think Jesus Christ, the Sustainer, the Creator of the world and the universe is a Master worthy of your obedience?  And if so, what area do you lay down and give to Him? 

Mt 4:19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men

If you don’t know who Jesus Christ is, Jesus Christ is standing in front of you today in your soul, in your heart and your mind, and just like those first two guys that started walking about Him He’s turned on His heels, He’s locked eyes with you, and He’s saying, “What do you want?”  What are you coming to me for?  What are you looking for in this life?”  And on the authority of the Word of God and Jesus Christ that question still stands men and women.  What do you want?

 And, if you’ve never come to know who Jesus is, He is God.  He lived, He died, He was buried and came back from the dead, and He says, “Anyone who believes in me, I give eternal life.  You want to know what it is, come follow Me.”  “All you have to do is come and follow Him,”

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