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John 1:37-51
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Andrew, Simon, Philip & Nathaniel
 
John 1:37-51

John’s Confession Repeated

(Matthew 3:1-17)  

Andrew & Simon

The words of John were repeated several times before his disciples forsook him to follow Jesus.

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?

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.


Jesus was a Rabbi in the traditional Jewish meaning of the word, a teacher whose disciples
would follow him and imitate him in all things. These two disciples declare their intention to
become the disciples of Jesus with this question, and thus spend the remainder of the day with
Him.

Andrew, one of the two disciples of John who turned to Jesus, went to his brother and declared
his faith in Jesus: He was the Messiah (Hebrew), the Christ (Greek), the Annointed One (English).
From the very beginning of His ministry, His disciples knew WHO He was. The Jews knew the
time was right for the Messiah to come. Thus the questioning of John. However, very few
accepted Jesus as the Messiah. They did not understand what the Messiah was, or what He
would do.

Simon, was the son of a man named Jonah. Jesus gave him the name Cephas (Hebrew), Peter
(Greek), stone (English). Jesus would later repeat this designation. Notice he is called a stone,
not a rock – the difference between gravel and bedrock. Thus, Jesus never promised to build the
church on Peter; He promised to build the church on the fact that He is the Christ, the Son of the
living God.

(Matthew 16:15-18) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter
answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto
thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and
upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.   (KJV)


Philip & Nathaniel

The fact that Jesus found Philip would seem to negate the idea that He was the other disciple of
John.

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


Philip, like Andrew, runs to his brother with the news of Jesus, and declares his faith: him, of
whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write. Philip believed Jesus to be the fulfillment of
the prophecies of Moses and the prophets. This was not just another teacher, or even a prophet.
He was the fulfillment of prophecy. He was the One Israel waited for. Philip is declaring Jesus of
Nazareth to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

Nathaniel, however, was skeptical. Especially with where Jesus was from. This could possibly
be from a knowledge of the prophets that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Philip invites his brother to see for himself. He did not allow his skepticism to discourage him.

(Acts 17:10-12) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea:
who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those
in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the
scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of
honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.  (KJV)

Nathaniel is surprised at Jesus’ description of him as though He knew him. He thus asks (in
essence), How do you know me?

Jesus tells him He saw him was he was still under the tree, which draws the exclamation from
Nathaniel, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. He, by his own examination,
comes to the conclusion Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.

Notice, He has been called by these disciples: RABBI, MESSIAH, HIM OF WHOM MOSES IN THE
LAW AND THE PROPHETS DID WRITE, THE SON OF GOD, THE KING OF ISRAEL. These titles
did not develop over time to be applied to Jesus – His disciples came to Him because they knew
this was WHO HE WAS from the very beginning.

And the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Jesus having referred to Nathanael as a
true Israelite, promises to him--and to those like him--a blessing answering to Jacob's vision of the ladder; that is,
that the ascent and descent of ministering angels shall be by means of Christ. Jesus calls himself the Son of man
upwards of eighty times. The expression is found in all four Gospels, but is there invariably used by Christ
himself. Stephen (Ac 7:56) and John (Re 1:13) also use this title, to indicate that the glorious being whom they saw
was like Jesus--like him in his human estate. In this chapter Jesus has been called by others "The Lamb of God,"
"the Son of God," "the Messiah," and "the King of Israel." Jesus chooses yet another title, "Son of man," for
himself. At this earliest dawning of their expectations, while their minds were thus full of his titles of glory, Jesus
introduces to his disciples this one which speaks of his humanity and humility. The expression may have been
suggested by Da 7:13,14.
      
  The Fourfold Gospel pp. 113-114

Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending. Jacob, old Israel, in his dream at Bethel, saw the
ladder that reached to heaven with the angels upon it (Ge 28:12). Christ is that ladder, the way from earth to
heaven, the way heaven sends messages to the world and the way we must go to reach it. Nathanael would be
permitted to see that Jesus was the Mediator, that through him the Father speaks to man; that through him there is
intercommunication between earth and heaven.
        
The People’s NT with Notes

Heaven open] This seems to be a figurative expression: 1. Christ may be understood by this saying to
mean, that a clear and abundant revelation of God's will should be now made unto men; that heaven
itself should be laid as it were open, and all the mysteries which had been shut up and hidden in it
from eternity, relative to the salvation and glorification of man; should be now fully revealed. 2. That
by the angels of God ascending and descending, is to be understood, that a perpetual intercourse
should now be opened between heaven and earth, through the medium of Christ, who was God
manifested in the flesh. Our blessed Lord is represented in his mediatorial capacity as the
ambassador of God to men; and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man, is a
metaphor taken from the custom of despatching couriers or messengers from the prince to his
ambassador in a foreign court, and from the ambassador back to the prince. This metaphor will
receive considerable light when compared with 2Co 5:19,20: God was in Christ reconciling the world
unto himself:-We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in
Christ's stead to be reconciled to God. The whole concerns of human salvation shall be carried on,
from henceforth, through the Son of man; and an incessant intercourse be established between
heaven and earth. Some have illustrated this passage by the account of Jacob's vision, Ge 28:12. But
though that vision may intimate that God had established at that time a communication between
heaven and earth, through the medium of angels, yet it does not appear that our Lord's saying here
has any reference to it; but that it should be understood as stated above.

What a glorious view does this give us of the Gospel dispensation! It is heaven opened to earth; and
heaven opened on earth. The Church militant and the Church triumphant become one, and the
whole heavenly family, in both, see and adore their common Lord. Neither the world nor the Church
is left to the caprices of time or chance. The Son of man governs as he upholds all. Wherever we are
praying, studying, hearing, meditating, his gracious eye is upon us. He notes our wants, our
weakness, and our petitions; and his eye affects his heart. Let us be without guile, deeply, habitually
sincere, serious, and upright; and then we may rest assured, that not only the eye, but the hand, of
our Lord shall be ever upon us for good. Happy the man whose heart can rejoice in the reflection,
Thou God seest me!


       
 Adam Clarke’s Commentary

Ex 12:3; Isa 53:7,11; Joh 1:36; Ac 8:32; 1Co 15:3; Ga 1:4; Heb 1:3; 2:17; 9:28; 1Pe 1:19; 2:24;
3:18; 1Jo 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Re 1:5; 5:6; Joh 1:15,27; Mal 3:1; Mt 3:6; Lu 1:17,76-77; 3:3-4; Mt 3:
16; Mr 1:10; Lu 3:22; Joh 5:32; Mt 3:11; Ac 1:5; 2:4; 10:44; 19:6; Joh 1:29; Mt 4:18; Mt 16:18;
Joh 12:21; Ge 3:15; 49:10; De 18:18; Isa 4:2; 7:14; 9:6; 53:2; Mic 5:2; Zec 6:12; 9:9; Mt 2:23;
Lu 2:4; 24:27; Joh 21:2; Joh 7:41-42,52; Ps 32:2; 73:1; Joh 8:39; Ro 2:28-29; 9:6; Mt 14:33;
21:5; 27:11,42; Joh 18:37; 19:3; Ge 28:12; Mt 4:11; Lu 2:9,13; 22:43; 24:4; Ac 1:10