Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Come and Follow Jesus

The following day John (the Baptist) was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at Him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” He asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are You staying?” “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. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). 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”). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow Me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. 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 (the legal or earthly father of Jesus) from Nazareth.” “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity (truth and honesty).” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” 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.” 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.” John 1:35-51 (NLT)

In these brief verses, we learn Jesus’ complete identity. Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:36), Rabbi – Hebrew word for “Teacher” (John 1:38), Messiah (John 1:41), Son of God (John 1:14, 18, 34, 49), and King of Israel (John 1:49). Upon meeting Jesus, these first disciples were forever changed. These disciples were so impressed with Jesus that they could not help but tell others, “We have found the Messiah!” Andrew’s “the Messiah” (John 1:41) and Nathanael’s “the Son of God” (John 1:49) together match Peter’s later declaration “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

The word “Messiah” is a Hebrew word that means "Anointed One," and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” For the Jews, Messiah essentially means “Son of God” (see Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 22:67-70). Later the expression “Son of David” was a synonym for “Messiah” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 10:47-48). There was some confusion among the Jews as to the role of the Messiah. Some believed the Messiah would be a Suffering Sacrifice as described in Isaiah 52:13-53:12, while others believed the Messiah would be King (see Isaiah 9:6-7 and Isaiah 11). Jesus was both the Suffering Servant of God and King. Jesus even explained that His sacrificial death on the Cross had to come before His crowning glory (Luke 24:13-35). But Jesus’ first disciple knew He was indeed “the Son of God, the King of Israel” (see also Psalm 2; John 4:25, 29; John 18:33-37).

Amazingly, Jesus personally called Himself “Son of Man” (John 1:50-51). The title “Son of Man” was one of Jesus’ favorite descriptions of Himself. Jesus used this title eighty-three (83) times in the four Gospels. The Jews knew that “Son of Man” was a title for their Messiah (John 12:34). The title “Son of Man” speaks of Jesus’ kingship, humanity, and divinity. Jesus was both fully God and fully man (John 1:1, 14 see also Daniel 7:13; Matthew 26:64; Mark 8:31). As God, Jesus is our link or “ladder” between heaven and earth to reconcile us to God the Father (John 1:51; see also 2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and “No one comes to the Father” except through Him (John 14:6, NKJV). Jesus came down from heaven to bring people to God. The summary of John 1 is clear: Jesus was God in human flesh! “Come and see” (John 1:46) and follow Jesus.

Life Application Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. New York: Zondervan, 2008.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament. Victor Books, 2001. 

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