Tag Archives: John 1

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 206/260: Nathanael

Read John 1:47-51

No Deceit

Nathanael accepted Philip’s invitation to “come and see” (John 1:46) the man he claimed was the Man “of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote” (John 1:45). Nathanael had doubts though, asking rhetorically, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” (John 1:47). Nathanael was in fact an Israelite, a fleshly descendant of Abraham, but there was more behind Jesus’ words than describing the man’s race. The Lord looked forward to spiritual Israel here—men who were of such a mind that they would accept the truth of God when it was presented, even if it went against everything they expected.

Nathanael had already expressed doubt that someone from Nazareth could possibly be important in God’s plan, and certainly not important enough to be the promised Messiah. And yet he possessed a certain quality that would not allow him to deny the truth when he learned it. He was spiritually minded, and there was “no deceit” in him.

Paul later included deceit in a list of things that are “not fitting” of one created by God, sandwiched between “strife” and “evil-mindedness” (Romans 1:28-32). Peter likewise commanded that Christians who desire to grow must lay aside “all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1-3).

And here is Nathanael, a man “in whom is no deceit!” It is a high compliment to be paid by the Savior, but one that caused further questioning. “How do you know me?” (John 1:49). Nathanael was humble enough to know that a stranger could not possibly identify a character trait such as this so quickly, but the Lord’s answer put him at ease and helped him to realize that he was talking to the “Son of God,” “the King of Israel” (John 1:49).

When Jesus looks at you, can He call you “an Israelite indeed,” in the spiritual sense? Are you spiritually-minded, willing to accept God at His Word, to trust Him, and obey Him? Can He call you a person “in whom is no deceit”?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 205/260: Philip

Read John 1:43-46

“Come And See”

Philip is another apostle, like Andrew, of whom we know very little. Matthew, Mark, and Luke simply include him in the list of the apostles with no further information. Only John gives us additional details about this man.

From John’s gospel, we learn that Philip was from Bethsaida, the same city Peter and Andrew called home (John 1:44). Philip is involved in other events later in the book, but let’s focus today on what Philip did here in this short passage.

Jesus said to Philip, “Follow Me” (John 1:43). We see no hesitation from this disciple; in fact, much like Andrew, we see an eagerness from Philip to get others on board. The very first thing he did was find Nathanael, and he 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” (John 1:45).

Philip was familiar with both Moses’ writings and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. No doubt he had heard the rumors of this man from Nazareth, and when he encountered Him, he took hold of the opportunity to follow the Christ. Yet, Philip was not selfish with this information. He wanted others to join him in this journey of discipleship.

His friend Nathanael was not impressed. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). What was Philip’s response? He did not try to convince Nathanael that Nazareth could produce good things. He did not berate his friend for being prejudiced. He did not even try to convince him that Jesus was who he claimed, or who John preached. He wanted Nathanael to discover for himself Jesus’ identity. Philip said, “Come and see” (John 1:46).

Christianity is a personal religion. Jews are born Jews, but Christians are born again by choice. It involves personal investigation into the facts, personal faith in the promises of God, personal commitment to the cause. No one can be a Christian for you. You stand or fall on your own choices, and it all starts with the invitation to “come and see.”

Have you investigated the claims of Jesus? If not, take Philip’s challenge, and “come and see.”

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 204/260: Andrew

Read John 1:35-42

“He Brought Him To Jesus”

Some of the apostles play a major role in the gospel accounts. We are told a number of things about the “inner circle” apostles Peter, James, and John. We know the nefarious part that Judas Iscariot played. And yet there are other apostles of whom we know very little. One of those is Andrew, Peter’s brother.

We learn from the first chapter of John’s gospel that Andrew was one of John the Immerser’s disciples or learners. It is thought by many that the second, unnamed disciple is none other than the inspired penman of the gospel account himself, John.

After hearing John the Immerser praise Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), Andrew and the other disciple leave their teacher and begin following the Messiah. They followed Him to where He was staying and remained with Him the rest of that day, no doubt learning many things from their new Rabbi or Teacher.

Andrew was very excited about what Jesus taught him and was eager to let others know about Him. The first person Andrew thought to tell was his brother, Simon Peter. “He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42).

If you have read much of the gospel accounts and the book of Acts, you know the important role Peter played in the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom, His church. What if Andrew never thought to tell his brother about Jesus though?

Who have you brought to Jesus? You never know the impact someone else will have in the kingdom until they are invited to learn about the King of Kings. Do not think for a moment that your closest friends, your neighbors, perhaps even your own brother, cannot be used by God for His glory. As we learn more about Peter in the New Testament, we see that he is often brash and acts before he thinks. As his brother, Andrew knew well Peter’s attitude and personality. But that did not stop him from inviting his brother to meet the Messiah. “He brought him to Jesus.”

Reach out to someone today. Introduce them to the Christ. Bring them to Jesus.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 198/260: John the Immerser

Read John 1:6-8, 19-28

“Who Are You?”

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (John 1:6) Those words by the apostle John introduce another John, know as “the Baptist,” “the Baptizer,” or “the Immerser.” He was the forerunner prophesied by Malachi, born about six months prior to Jesus. The apostle makes it clear that John was not himself “the Light,” but was sent “to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe” (John 1:7).

When word of John’s activities reached Jerusalem, the religious elite wanted to find out more. They asked him, “Who are you?” (John 1:19). John did not want to mislead anyone. He did not want them to think that he was the promised Messiah, and promptly stated, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). The Jews then asked if he was Elijah. They believed Elijah himself would return before the Messiah, misunderstanding the prophecy that spoke of one with the spirit of Elijah who would come first (Malachi 4:5). Again, John answered in the negative.

The priests and Levites then asked, “Are you the Prophet?” (John 1:21). This was really nothing more than asking him again if he was the Christ, which he had already denied. Moses had spoken of “a Prophet like me…Him you shall hear” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). This was a prophecy of the Messiah; the priests and Levites were perhaps trying to trip John up in his answers, much like many news reporters who reword their questions in an attempt to confuse their subjects, trying to get them to contradict themselves.

John would not fall for their trap and again denies that he is the Christ, or “the Prophet.” His questioners press him for an answer. “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:22). John answers not with his own words, but the inspired words of God given through Isaiah: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord”’” (John 1:23; cf. Isaiah 40:3).

When someone asks you, “Who are you?”, could you respond with Scripture? What Scriptures best describe you? We are not prophesied forerunners like John, but we should still be able to see the Lord working in our lives through the Word.

In The Beginning Was The Word…

In the Beginning was the Word

John 1:1-5, 14

I. “In the beginning…” (John 1:1)

    A. Compare with Genesis 1:1
    B. “…was the Word” (Proverbs 8:23; John 17:5; 8:53-58)
    C. He was the creative agent through whom the beginning began (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17)

II. “And the Word was with God” (John 1:1)

    A. Not “in” or “from,” but “with”
    B. “…and the Word was God” (Philippians 2:6; Judges 13:19-22; Joshua 5:13-15; Revelation 5:12)

III. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14)

    A. He chose to become flesh so He could redeem mankind (Philippians 2:7; John 1:5)
    B. We must shine as lights (John 1:6-9; Matthew 5:16)
    C. Show the love of Christ (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:6-11)

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 211/260: Read John 1

Is it important how we respond to Jesus? John says that the Lord “came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

We can make the decision whether or not we will accept Jesus, but we cannot decide how we are to do it. That is God’s prerogative. He has established the method of salvation. If we reject His will, we reject Him. “The right to become children of God” is given “to those who believe in His name,” but God is the one who sets the standards of belief, not “the will of man.”

Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Those who reject Jesus’ very plain words reject Jesus Himself (John 12:48).

We cannot make up our own standard for belief and obedience. Jesus said there would be some who comes to him, calling Him “Lord,” and doing what they think are wonderful things, but Jesus says they “practice lawlessness” and they “shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21-23).

It is God’s standard, not our own, to which we must submit.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

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

Pray

Pray for wisdom as you seek God’s revealed will in the Scriptures.

“How Do You Know Me?”

John 1:43-48

I. NATHANAEL

    A. His confusion (John 1:46)
    B. His character (John 1:47; cf. Matthew 3:8-9; Mark 7:20-23)
    C. His question and Christ’s answer (John 1:48; cf. Matthew 6:3-4,6,17-18)

II. GOD KNOWS ALL HIS CHILDREN

    A. In the Old Testament

      1. He knows those who trust Him (Nahum 1:7)
      2. “Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:1-10)

    B. In the New Testament

      1. God cares for His creation (Matthew 6:25-30; Hebrews 13:5-6)
      2. Christ knows us; He knows what we are doing (Revelation 2:2,9,13,19; 3:8)

III. THE THINGS WE DO IN THIS LIFE MATTER — BOTH GOOD AND BAD

    A. Do we really understand this? (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 3:15-17)
    B. There are some that God will not know

      1. “You who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23)
      2. “Workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:27)
      3. “The face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12)

[This is the first in a series of lessons focusing on “Questions the Disciples Asked.”]

The Life of John the Baptist: Who is John the Baptist?

The Life of John the Baptist

WHO IS JOHN THE BAPTIST? // John 1:6-8; 1:19-40

I. The apostle introduces the baptizer (John 1:6-8)

    A. “Sent from God”
    B. “To bear witness of the Light”
    C. “He was not that Light” (cf. John 5:35; Matthew 5:14-16)

II. John answers the Pharisees (John 1:19-24)

    A. Not the Christ
    B. Not Elijah

      1. Malachi prophesied the return of Elijah (Malachi 4:5)
      2. Jesus identified John as Elijah (Matthew 17:12-13)
      3. Why did John deny his identity as Elijah? “The popular notion was that the original Elijah would rise from the dead; and, if John the Baptist had given an affirmative answer to their question, it would have been, in the context, a falsehood. Therefore, he denied that he was Elijah, in the sense in which the question had been asked.” (Coffman, John)

    C. Not the Prophet

      1. Moses: “A Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)
      2. Notice the capital “P” in many modern translations
      3. The use of capital letters indicate that the translators believed the noun referred to Deity – in this case, Christ
      4. John had already denied that he was the promised Christ. “It was the old reporter’s trick of asking the same question again in different words, and John again answered it negatively.” (Coffman, John)
      5. “He willingly and joyfully kept himself in the background in order that all might see the only Son of God. The Baptist was what every true follower of Christ ought to be – a servant willing to lay all the acclaim and honor given him of men at the feet of Jesus.” (Butler, John)

    D. The fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 40:3)

      1. Also referenced in Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4
      2. His job was simply to prepare the people for the Christ
      3. Prepare and make straight (Isaiah 40:3)
      4. Prepare the way (Malachi 3:1)
      5. “John was literally in the wilderness of Judea doing his preaching. But there seems to be a spiritual application to the phrase ‘a voice of one crying in the wilderness.’ Especially this is true considering its prophetic background. This herald of God was also crying in a wilderness of wasted souls.” (Butler, John)

III. John prophesies of the Christ (John 1:25-28)

    A. He was not “the Prophet,” nor was he the actual Elijah resurrected, but he was a prophet (“sent from God” John 1:6)
    B. “It was the baptizing and not the preaching which cause the greatest perplexity in John’s questioners. The extensive mass cleansing of the whole nation through repentance and baptism clearly suggested the great cleansing that had been prophesied by Ezekiel of the times of the Messiah (Ezekiel 36:25; 37:23); why then was John doing it if indeed he was not the Christ nor the kind of forerunner they expected to precede the Christ? This query shows that they had missed completely the implication of John’s quoting Isaiah 40:3; in which he made it clear that he was actually the forerunner of the Messiah, but not the literal Elijah they had expected.” (Coffman, John)
    C. Jesus’ identity as the Christ was not yet made known to the general public
    D. John declares that the Christ was coming after him, but is preferred before him
    E. “Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose”

IV. John testifies of the Christ (John 1:29-34)

    A. “The Lamb of God”

      1. The antitype of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12-13; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19)
      2. “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7)

    B. “Takes away the sin of the world”

      1. “Christ did not come to solve the political problems of Israel, nor to break the back of Roman tyranny, nor for bringing improvements in agriculture, trade, medicine, or education, nor for any similar thing. Christ came to redeem people from sin.” (Coffman, John)
      2. Luke 19:10; John 3:16-17; Hebrews 10:4-10

    C. John affirms that this was the One of whom he had previously spoken in 1:26-27

      1. John was conceived six months before Jesus (Luke 1:36)
      2. John says of Jesus, “He was before me” – indicating the eternal nature of the Christ

    D. “I did not know Him” probably means that John did not realize Jesus was the Christ until it was revealed to him from heaven on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism

      1. He was given the sign of the dove (Matthew 3:16)
      2. He heard the voice from heaven (Matthew 3:17)
      3. Possibly, however, “Although their mothers were cousins, they lived eighty miles apart, and it is possible that they had not met.” (Lipscomb, John)

V. John’s disciples follow Jesus (John 1:35-40)

    A. Two disciples left John to follow Jesus

      1. “Some of the disciples of John were jealous that Jesus gathered followers at the expense of John, but John had none of this feeling. He came to make ready a people for Jesus, bear testimony to his claims, and direct his disciples to Jesus as the Lord, and rejoiced to see him increase, while he himself decreased in followers.” (Lipscomb, John)

    B. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother
    C. The other, though not named, is thought to be John the apostle

      1. “But who was the unnamed companion of Andrew? Probably the Evangelist himself. For: (1) the narrative in this place is very particular and graphic, making it probable that the writer was an eye-witness. (2) The writer of such a narrative would have been sure to mention the name of the other disciple as well as that of Andrew, unless there had been some reason for withholding it. (3) The writer of this Gospel never refers to himself elsewhere by name, and the same feeling which led him to withhold his name elsewhere accounts for his withholding it here.” (Hovey)
      2. “It is a trait of the author of this account never to mention his own name or that of his relatives.” (Butler, John)