Calling of Philip and Nathanael

John 1:43-48  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and find Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip find 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. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence know thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee. 

Philip was one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mar. 3:18; Lk. 6:14; Acts 1:13), a brother of Nathanael, who brings him also to Jesus. Nathanael (means gift of God) is Bartholomew, which is a patronymic of Nathaniel, also one of the twelve.

The question he asked “can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” was because they were expecting the Messiah from Bethlehem, and not Nazareth. Never a better person came from any place on earth than Jesus Christ!

Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart through the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge (John 3:34; 1Cor. 12:4-11) and said that he was an Israelite in whom is no guile – he was without deceit.

Christ’s statement of seeing him by the Spirit before He could see him with His eyes convinced Nathaniel of Christ’s Sonship.

Calling of the First Disciples

John 1:35-42  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek you? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwell thou? 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. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 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. 

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples, the one was Andrew (Peter’s brother), the other probably John the Apostle, as he never mentions himself in this book. They looked upon (Jesus) the Greek word emblepo, which means to look with fixed eyes upon or look intently as they heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God!” A symbol of Christ used thirty-two times in the Bible.

Andrew and John asked Jesus “Rabbi, (which means Master) where dwell thou?” Jesus told them, “Come and see.” So, they came and saw where He stayed and stayed with Him for that day because it was already the tenth hour – 4 pm.

‘found the Messias’ Finding Jesus changes one’s life (2Cor. 5:17-18). Messias is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Mashiyach, meaning anointed (John 4:25; 1Sam. 2:10, 35; Psa. 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26). The equivalent of mashiyach in the Greek is Christos, used of Jesus 569 times in the New Testament.

‘Cephas’ is the Aramaic word for stone (1Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 2:9). And ‘stone’ is the Greek word petros which means little stone, rock and 161 other places translated “Peter”. This shows how Jesus could judge a man at the first look. He knew Peter to be firm and strong in soul, and hard and unyielding in purpose.

Behold, the Lamb of God

John 1:29-34  The next day John see Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 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 baptize with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 

John the Baptist saw Christ and proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” This is the first New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John. Lamb of God is a symbol of Christ, mentioned thirty-two times (Isa. 53:7; John 1:36; Acts 8:32; 1Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1-10; 15:3; Rev. 17:14; 19:7-9; 21:9-27; 22:1-3). The Greek word for taketh away is airo, which means to bear in the sense of removing sin; doing away with the guilt and punishment (1Pet. 2:24; Psa. 103:12; 1Jn. 3:5). The Greek word for sin is hamartia, which means missing the mark; always in a moral sense – a sin, whether by omission or commission, in thought, word, or deed. Christ came to teach men how to shoot straight – to hit the moral bull’s eye every time (Tit. 2:11-14; 1Jn. 2:1-2, 29; 3:9; 5:1-4, 5:18).

‘For he was before me’ – Christ lived before John as the second person of the Trinity “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” Micah 5:2 (See also Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8.) John did not know Jesus, but he did know the Father who sent Jesus (v33). The Greek word for manifest is phaneroo, which means to bring to light. Here, it means to introduce the Messiah to Israel (John 1:11; Matt. 15:24).

John bare record, the Greek word martureo means bearing witness. There was seven witnesses to the Messiah: The Father (John 5:30-38; 8:13-18); the Son (John 5:17-27; 8:14; 18:37); the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:13-15); the written Word (John 1:45; 5:38, 46); Divine works (John 5:17, 36; 10:25; 14:11; 15:24); John the Baptist (John 1:7,32-34; 5:33-35); and the Disciples (John 15:27; 19:35; 21:24).

The Greek word for abode is meno which means abide, dwell, remain. Occurs 41 times in John and only 12 times in the other gospels.

‘He that sent me’ is a clear reference to the Trinity. The Son he did not know; the Father he did know; and the Spirit he saw coming from the Father upon the Son (Matt. 3:16-17; Lk.3:22). The Greek word for see is eidon which means to see; not only the mere act of looking but the actual perception of the object. Thus, not only have the Father and Son been seen with human eyes as separate and distinct persons at the same time and place (Dan. 7:9-14; Acts 7:55; Rev. 5:7; 7:10), but the Holy Spirit as a separate person from both the Father and the Son has been seen.

‘Spirit descending, and remaining on him’ is a fulfilment of Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1 and recorded in Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:10 and Luke 3:22. Christ is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Lk. 3:16; 24:49; John 7:37-39; 15:16-17, 26; Acts 1:4-8; 11:16).