John Chapter 1


The Divinity of Christ. (Verse 1-5.)

His Divine and human nature. (Verse 6-14.)

John the Baptist’s testimony to Christ. (Verse 15-18.)

John’s public testimony concerning Christ. (Verse 19-28.)

Other testimonies of John concerning Christ. (Verse 29-36.)

Andrew and another disciple follow Jesus. (Verse 37-42.)

Philip and Nathanael called. (Verse 43-51.)

The apostle and evangelist, John, seems to have been the youngest of the twelve. He was especially favoured with our Lord’s regard and confidence, so as to be spoken of as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He was very sincerely attached to his Master. He exercised his ministry at Jerusalem with much success, and outlived the destruction of that city, agreeably to Christ’s prediction, ch. 21:22. History relates that after the death of Christ’s mother, John resided chiefly at Ephesus. Towards the close of Domitian’s reign he was banished to the isle of Patmos, where he wrote his Revelation. On the accession of Nerva, he was set at liberty, and returned to Ephesus, where it is thought he wrote his Gospel and Epistles, about A. D. 97, and died soon after. The design of this Gospel appears to be to convey to the Christian world, just notions of the real nature, office, and character of that Divine Teacher, who came to instruct and to redeem mankind. For this purpose, John was directed to select for his narrative, those passages of our Saviour’s life, which most clearly displayed his Divine power and authority; and those of his discourses, in which he spake most plainly of his own nature, and of the power of his death, as an atonement for the sins of the world. By omitting, or only briefly mentioning, the events recorded by the other evangelists, John gave testimony that their narratives are true, and left room for the doctrinal statements already mentioned, and for particulars omitted in the other Gospels, many of which are exceedingly important.

There is probably no portion of scripture so feared by the devil, and the Liberals, as the first chapter of the book of John. For in it we find the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is identified in verse fourteen as “the Word of God” as you will plainly see by reading the context of the chapter.

If Jesus is the Word as John points out, then Jesus is God. In John 1:1 it clearly states that “the Word was God”. If Jesus is God, then the Liberals are in big trouble, so they must attack this portion of scripture as they do many others.

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

[Gen 1:1, Heb 1:10]

[note that the “Word” is a reference to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is also called the Word in:

I John 1:1 – “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”  I John 5:7 – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”  Rev. 19:11-13 – “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”]

Notice that John begins his gospel with the same three words that are used in the first book of the bible (Genesis) “In the beginning”.

We must ask ourselves, in the beginning of what? In the beginning of time as we know it? In the beginning of the creative work of God? Just which beginning is being spoken of here?

For the answer to that we must read the whole of the matter and not just stop after the first three words because the bible has the answers.

This personification of the Word (logos in the Greek) is belittled by the Liberals of each generation because they refuse to bow the knee to the God-man from Galilee.

Many liberals say John was referring to God the Father as the one being described as the Word, and they then turn around and discredit verse fourteen which clearly tells us who the Word is.

Beware of the modern day scribes who always say, “a better rendition or translation would say ..,” or “in the Greek it really says” for they are blind leaders of the blind.

This argument quickly begins to fall apart when you get to verse two where the Word is described as existing with God.

What we do know from this passage is that whatever or whoever the Word is, that the Word was with God in the beginning and the Word was God in the beginning.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

[Prov 8:22, Col 1:15, Rev 3:14]

Verse three ads to the Liberal’s problems by stating that the Word (Jesus Christ) created all things. Too much learning has truly made the Liberals mad.

A liberal is really someone who refuses to allow Christ to reign in their life and that is manifested in their refusal to accept the miraculous and the supernatural.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

[1st Cor 8:6, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2]

[in this verse “the Word” is referred to as “him” showing us that “the Word” is a person.  The Word is responsible for making EVERYTHING; Colossians 1:16-17, in referring to Christ, says “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”]

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

[“in him was life” – as the Creator, Jesus Christ was the giver of life to all things that are alive.  What three things did Jesus claim to be in John 14:6?  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  – Jesus is also referred to as “the light of men” – What did Jesus claim to be in John 8:12? “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”]

Now we learn that the Word made all things and that the Word is also a person (him). We also learn that we can have eternal life because Christ is life, and he shows us the way because he is “the Light.”

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Now we see the Word, Jesus Christ, being identified by a new title, “the Light”. Jesus truly is the Light of the world!

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

[this man named “John” is John the Baptist, not the Apostle John who wrote the book of John.  They are two different men.]

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

[how did John “bear witness” of Jesus?  He bore witness to Jesus in two different ways:  1) by preparing the way before Jesus – Isaiah 40:3 speaks of Christ’s forerunner as “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  Note how John the Baptist identifies himself as such in John 1:23; and 2) by identifying Jesus to Israel – note John 1:29. ]

John the Baptist comes, sent by God to the nation of Israel as a witnesses. What does it mean to be a witness? In order to be a witness you have to have seen something or heard something and you must share what you have seen or heard to be a true witness.

John was sent by God after he had heard from God what he must do for his nation and the Messiah and he got busy doing what he was told until one day when he could fulfill his purpose of being a witness at the baptism of Christ which we will look at latter.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

John clarifies it even further by stating that John the Baptist was not that Light, but that he came to bear witness of that Light. John, as we all know, came to bear witness of Jesus Christ.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

[Psa 22:6, Matt 8:20]

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

[“his own” is a reference to the Jewish people who did not receive Jesus as their Messiah (promised one); what did Jesus say about dealing with one’s own people in John 4:44]

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

[Gen 4:26, 1st Kings 18:24, Psa 116:17, Joel 2:32, Zeph 3:9, Acts 15:17, 1st Cor 1:2]

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

[a person who is born again (ie. “received” Christ, “believed on his name” – vs. 12) did not get that way by virtue of their physical birth (“by blood”), by virtue of their own intellect or mind (“will of the flesh”) or by other people getting them born again, or saved (“will of man”).  A person becomes a born again Christian when they come to the point in their life that they repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Christ alone (“believe”).  They are therefore born “of God,” and are not spiritually born through these other things.]

Jesus was not recognized as the Creator when he came, nor was he recognized by the nation of Israel as their Saviour. He was recognized however by those who had ears to hear and eyes to see.

These received power to become the sons of God which is a future possession for them not like it is for us today. Israel gets their inheritance and salvation at the onset of their kingdom.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

[“the Word was made flesh” – Jesus Christ, God the Son, became a man!  I Timothy 3:16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…”]

All the evidence anyone would ever need is found for us in verse fourteen. Jesus is clearly depicted as the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us. The Liberals reject this because they reject God’s ruling in their life.

From this verse we learn that Jesus (the Word) did not exist in a flesh and bone body prior to his incarnation which occurred at his conception not his birth.

John was one of the ones who saw Christ transfigured before him with the glory that he would have when he reigns in his kingdom (Matthew 17:1-7).

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

[John the Baptist said of Christ, “he was before me.”  Luke chapter one very clearly points out that John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus from a human standpoint.  Obviously Jesus existed “before” John because he was God (see verses one through three).]

John testified to Jesus’ pre-existence by stating that Jesus existed before him. Jesus was born according to scripture six months after his cousin John the Baptist, but he has always existed as “the Word” throughout eternity.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Jesus came to show us the truth. The Jews took the law from Moses and tried to implement it in the life of the nation. Without applying grace however, they became self-righteous and legalistic.

17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

[Rev 6:3, Matt 11:27, John 6:46, 10:15]

[no man has seen the Father, nor could one look upon the Father because of his exceedingly bright glory. I Timothy 6:16 says,  “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”  Yet, when Christ was “made flesh” that glory was veiled and people obviously could look upon him; to see Christ was to see the Father. What does John 12:45 and 14:8-9 have to say about this fact?  – from time to time the student will be shown the errors and false doctrines taught by some of the other English Bible versions.  The New American Standard Version changes “the only begotten Son” to “the only begotten God” making TWO Gods in the verse.  Jesus was God who became flesh; his human body was “begotten” or born, but he as God always existed.  “Begotten” refers to birth and though Christ was born as a man, the part of him that was God had no beginning for God has always existed (refer back to verse 1).  A common thread throughout all of the modern Bible versions is to consistently attack or at least throw doubt upon the divinity of Christ (the fact that he was and is God).]

The Liberal often points to this eighteenth verse to try to rescue himself from his obvious defeat by the steward of God’s word by pointing out that “Jesus can’t be God because this verse says no man hath seen God at any time.”

   To which the child of God replies, “People have seen God in the person of his Son, but no man hath seen God the Father in all his glory and lived, because of our sinfulness.

This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality before we can stand in the presence of a holy God. 1 Corinthians 15:53

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

That prophet is a reference to what Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:15 which is a reference to Christ not Elijah. It is remarkable that John had the Jews so interested in him that they sent the priests and the Levites to check on his identity.

John was in the wilderness, but it was not out in the sticks really. He was baptizing at the same place where people had been crossing the Jordan river for a couple thousand years already and where his ancestors once crossed over on dry ground.

It was the border crossing and is still today between Jordan and Israel. As people would be passing by they would see John baptizing (that’s where he got his title “the Baptist” from.

Baptisms in a river was something new to Israel regardless of what many say, because the bible backs that up in verses 24 and 25 which we will see in a second.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

[Isa 40:3, Matt 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 1:17, Luke 1:76, Luke 3:4]

John tells the Pharisees that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, but in the same breath he tells them he is not Christ or the Messiah, which simply meant that the Pharisees had something wrong in their understanding about Elijah.

This verse is not talking about Elijah who is a for runner of Christ at his second coming and what he does is recorded in Matthew 17:1-10 where it says he restores all things to Israel in the tribulation period.

Elijah is one of the two witnesses that comes back in the tribulation period the other is Moses, not Enoch.

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

[Matt 3:6, John 3:23, Acts 1:5, Acts 10:37, Acts 19:4]

Did you see that? The Pharisees wanted to know why John was baptizing if he was not the Christ, nor Esaias (Elijah), because they were the only two that had authority to baptize the nation of Israel.

They did not say, “Why are you baptizing when we are the only ones that are supposed to be baptizing, because they were not baptizing.

They knew that only Christ and his forerunner were supposed to baptize the nation of Israel. They did not understand the difference between Christ’s Spirit baptism and Israel’s water baptism.

They were performing diverse washings that were given to them by Moses in the law. The Sadducees would have cornered the Pharisees and asked them why they were baptizing if they were not the Christ or Elijah.

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

[Matt 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16]

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

[Matt 3:11]

   John tells the Pharisees in Matthew 3:11 at this point that Jesus’ baptism is not of water, but that he will baptize Israel with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

There is no dilemma here because John does not record what Matthew said word for word, because all four gospel writers are writing from different perspectives.

John is just trying to point out that Christ is more than just a prophet baptizing in the wilderness. John’s gospel is inspired by God’s holy Spirit to show the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus is Baptized:

The gospel of John leaves out the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, which was the most unique baptism ever performed and goes directly to the following day after Jesus’ baptism (for more on that issue see my study on Matthew chapter three):

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

[Matt 3:13 Mark 1:9 Luke 3:21, Gen 22:8, Isa 53:7, John 19:14, 1st Cor 5:7, 1st Pet 1:19, Rev 5:6]

[Note how John identified Jesus in this verse.  Lambs were used in the Old Testament Jewish sacrifices in order for the people to temporarily receive forgiveness of their sins.  Jesus was “the Lamb of God” who came to take away the sins, not just of the Jews, but of the whole world.]

30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

[John gives the reason why he was baptising people with water – so that he could manifest Christ to Israel.]

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

[Isa 11:2, Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22]

33 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 baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

[note that God the Father told John how he could recognize Jesus when he appeared – Jesus, the one who would baptise people with the Holy Ghost, would be the one that when baptised in water would have the Holy Spirit descend upon him and remain upon him in the form of a dove.]

34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

Jesus was not the lamb of man that was brought as a sacrifice to the high priest year after year which could never wash away their sins.

“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:3 & 4

He was rather the Lamb of God which offered himself once as a sacrifice for sins forever, and sat down on the right hand of God.

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” Hebrews 10:12

John was told by God to go preach in the wilderness, and to baptize with water those who had professed repentance of their sinfulness to God and faith in the coming King.

Upon whom he saw the holy Spirit descending, He would be the one that Israel and John had been waiting for.

Why then did John say that he didn’t know Jesus when he recognized Jesus as He was coming to be baptized by him and temporarily forbid Jesus to be baptized?

Because John did know Him before that day. John was simply saying that, “I have not as of yet had anyone identify themselves as the Saviour by fulfilling the sign that God gave to me”, which is found in John 1:33

“Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” John 1:33

John knew Jesus, they were cousins. He also knew that Jesus was the one his mother Elisabeth and his Aunt Mary said would save the world from their sins.

He wanted to skip baptizing Jesus and move right on to the baptism that God said that Jesus would perform, which was spoken of in the book of Matthew:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquencable fire.” Matt 3:11 & 12

John wanted to take a short cut, but Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew better and he made sure that everything was done according to the prophecies that were given to John earlier:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16

Another reason that Jesus was baptized by John was that Jesus had to remain the obedient Lamb of God, thereby fulfilling the prophecy that God had given to John.

Jesus had to fulfill every prophecy concerning himself in order for himself to remain sinless.

If Jesus would have listened to John and baptized him instead of the other way around, Jesus would have been disobedient to his Father, and to his own word.

Jesus would have rendered imself unable to be our sacrifice for sin, because of his own disobedience.

John the Baptist would not have been so bold later on either if Jesus hadn’t fulfilled the prophecy given to him by God.

John would have proclaimed that Jesus was a false Christ instead of the true Messiah.

Why was Jesus baptized by John the Baptist?

  1. Because they needed to fulfill all righteousness

(For Christ’s sake). Matthew 3:15

  1. To show that Jesus was the Saviour to John

(For John’s sake). John 1:33

  1. To remain the obedient Lamb of God

(For our sake). John 1:29

  1. To be made known unto Israel

(For Israel’s sake). John 1:31

Statements that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God.
Temptation in the Wilderness. Matt 4:3, 6,
By Disciples after He walked on the water. Matt 14:33
By Peter Matt 16:16, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20 John 6:69
Asked by High Priest Matt 26:63
By Unclean Spirits Mark 3:11, Mark 5:7 Luke 4:41
By the Angel to Mary Luke 1:35
By John John 1:34
By Nathanael John 1:49
By Martha John 11:27
By the Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:37
By Saul of Tarsus Acts 9:20
Necessary for God to dwell in you 1st John 4:15
Necessary to overcome the world 1st John 5:5

35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

What is meant by the words “the next day after”? After what? After the baptism of Jesus that is not recorded in the book of John.

John could not pronounce Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world until he saw the sign of the holy Spirit descending upon him as a dove at his baptism.

The very next time John saw Jesus, after seeing the very sign he was told by God that he would see when he baptized Christ, he would begin to tell everyone, this is the Christ, and his disciples then became Christ’s disciples.

38 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?

39 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.

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

[Matt 4:18, Mark 1:16, Luke 5:2]

41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42 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.

[Matt 10:2, Matt 4:18, Mark 1:16, Luke 5:2]

[stone can be translated “Peter”]

Simon is called the son of Jonah, by Christ on numerous occasions, but his brother Andrew is never called that by Christ, and that is because Peter, and the prophet Jonah have some interesting similarities that we will discuss at a later time.

Both are sent to Gentiles, and reluctantly participate only after refusing what the Lord wanted them to do.

Andrew was not given two new names, or even one by Christ, but Simon was, because of what he would eventually become.

So Simon is called Cephas, which means a stone, not “the rock” or Petra in the Greek.

He is also called Peter for the first time in Mark’s gospel (Petros) a rock, but not Petra “the rock” Christ is “the rock” mentioned in Matthew 16:18 that the Messianic kingdom church was built upon not Simon Peter.

Simon Peter however was given the keys to the kingdom and does have a leadership role especially in the kingdom.

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

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

45 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.

[Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament.  “The prophets” is a reference to the Old Testament prophets who along with Moses foretold the fact that one day a great Prophet, the Messiah, God in the form of a man, would appear.  – note that Philip refers to Jesus as “the son of Joseph.”  This was in fact not true.  Many people assumed this to be the case (note John 6:42) without checking out all of their facts.  In Luke 1:35 the angel told Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”  Note who Jesus called his father in John 17:1.]

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

Philip and Nathanael both were not the most well-versed students of the word of God or else they would have known Micah 5:2 which stated that the Messiah comes from Bethlehem.

If they would have been well learned they would have also known that the prophets taught that “he shall be called a Nazarene according to Matthew 2:23.

There is no scripture in any part of the bible or Apocrypha that quotes a prophet or as Matthew says, “prophets” but that is not a problem because it does not say in Matthew 2:23 that which was “written” by the prophets.

Not everything that was spoken was written down in scripture, but Matthew under the inspiration of the holy Spirit adds this teaching that was commonly known by the prophets because it was passed down orally from generation to generation, and most likely written is some historical books that are not considered as scripture.

   Israel’s prophecy program consists of everything either spoken or written by the prophets since the world began, while our mystery program consists of those things that have been kept hidden since before the foundation of the world.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

[guile – craft, cunning, or deceit]

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

[Jer 23:5 Zech 9:9 Matt 2:2, 21:5 Luke 19:38 John 12:15]

Statements that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God.
Temptation in the Wilderness. Matt 4:3, 6,
By Disciples after He walked on the water. Matt 14:33
By Peter Matt 16:16, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20 John 6:69
Asked by High Priest Matt 26:63
By Unclean Spirits Mark 3:11, Mark 5:7 Luke 4:41
By the Angel to Mary Luke 1:35
By John John 1:34
By Nathanael John 1:49
By Martha John 11:27
By the Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:37
By Saul of Tarsus Acts 9:20
Necessary for God to dwell in you 1st John 4:15
Necessary to overcome the world 1st John 5:5

50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

[Gen 28:12]

[there is a sense in which Jesus is the link between heaven and earth.  I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”]

Nathanael didn’t need to see Jesus do anything because all he had to do is tell him something no other man could tell him and that was something he was doing that Jesus could not have possibly seen.

Nathanael knew that anyone that could tell him what he was doing when no one else was around had to be who Andrew proclaimed him to be, the Son of God, the King of Israel.

Nathanael either saw these angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man during the next three and a half years that Christ ministered here on the earth or he will see it when Christ returns to set up his kingdom.

If the scriptures contained everything he said or did the world could not contain the books that should be written according to John 21:25.

Notice how Nathanael calls Jesus the Son of God and Jesus turns around and calls himself the Son of man. He did not deny that he was the Son of God because he was.

He wanted Nathanael, and those around him (his 12) to focus on what he was doing there as a man in their behalf. He had to take on the nature of man to be man’s sacrifice (the Lamb of God John 1:29).

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-5 – The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father’s mind to the world. What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument. Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.

Verse 6-14 – John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men’s minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ’s own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1st Peter 1:23,. and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.

Verse 15-18 – As to the order of time and entrance on his work, Christ came after John, but in every other way he was before him. The expression clearly shows that Jesus had existence before he appeared on earth as man. All fulness dwells in him, from which alone fallen sinners have, and shall receive, by faith, all that renders them wise, strong, holy, useful, and happy. Our receivings by Christ are all summed up in this one word, grace; we have received “even grace,” a gift so great, so rich, so invaluable; the good will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. The law of God is holy, just, and good; and we should make the proper use of it. But we cannot derive from it pardon, righteousness, or strength. It teaches us to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, but it cannot supply the place of that doctrine. As no mercy comes from God to sinners but through Jesus Christ, no man can come to the Father but by him; no man can know God, except as he is made known in the only begotten and beloved Son.

Verse 19-28 – John disowns himself to be the Christ, who was now expected and waited for. He came in the spirit and power of Elias, but he was not the person of Elias. John was not that Prophet whom Moses said the Lord would raise up to them of their brethren, like unto him. He was not such a prophet as they expected, who would rescue them from the Romans. He gave such an account of himself, as might excite and awaken them to hearken to him. He baptized the people with water as a profession of repentance, and as an outward sign of the spiritual blessings to be conferred on them by the Messiah, who was in the midst of them, though they knew him not, and to whom he was unworthy to render the meanest service.

Verse 29-36 – John saw Jesus coming to him, and pointed him out as the Lamb of God. The paschal lamb, in the shedding and sprinkling of its blood, the roasting and eating of its flesh, and all the other circumstances of the ordinance, represented the salvation of sinners by faith in Christ. And the lambs sacrificed every morning and evening, can only refer to Christ slain as a sacrifice to redeem us to God by his blood. John came as a preacher of repentance, yet he told his followers that they were to look for the pardon of their sins to Jesus only, and to his death. It agrees with God’s glory to pardon all who depend on the atoning sacrifice of Christ. He takes away the sin of the world; purchases pardon for all that repent and believe the gospel. This encourages our faith; if Christ takes away the sin of the world, then why not my sin? He bore sin for us, and so bears it from us. God could have taken away sin, by taking away the sinner, as he took away the sin of the old world; but here is a way of doing away sin, yet sparing the sinner, by making his Son sin, that is, a sin-offering, for us. See Jesus taking away sin, and let that cause hatred of sin, and resolutions against it. Let us not hold that fast, which the Lamb of God came to take away. To confirm his testimony concerning Christ, John declares the appearance at his baptism, in which God himself bore witness to him. He saw and bare record that he is the Son of God. This is the end and object of John’s testimony, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. John took every opportunity that offered to lead people to Christ.

Verse 37-42 – The strongest and most prevailing argument with an awakened soul to follow Christ, is, that it is he only who takes away sin. Whatever communion there is between our souls and Christ, it is he who begins the discourse. He asked, What seek ye? The question Jesus put to them, we should all put to ourselves when we begin to follow Him, What do we design and desire? In following Christ, do we seek the favour of God and eternal life? He invites them to come without delay. Now is the accepted time, 2nd Corinthians 6:2. It is good for us to be where Christ is, wherever it be. We ought to labour for the spiritual welfare of those related to us, and seek to bring them to Him. Those who come to Christ, must come with a fixed resolution to be firm and constant to him, like a stone, solid and stedfast; and it is by his grace that they are so.

Verse 43-51 – See the nature of true Christianity, it is following Jesus; devoting ourselves to him, and treading in his steps. Observe the objection Nathanael made. All who desire to profit by the word of God, must beware of prejudices against places, or denominations of men. They should examine for themselves, and they will sometimes find good where they looked for none. Many people are kept from the ways of religion by the unreasonable prejudices they conceive. The best way to remove false notions of religion, is to make trial of it. In Nathanael there was no guile. His profession was not hypocritical. He was not a dissembler, nor dishonest; he was a sound character, a really upright, godly man. Christ knows what men are indeed. Does He know us? Let us desire to know him. Let us seek and pray to be Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile; truly Christians, approved of Christ himself. Some things weak, imperfect, and sinful, are found in all, but hypocrisy belongs not to a believer’s character. Jesus witnessed what passed when Nathanael was under the fig-tree. Probably he was then in fervent prayer, seeking direction as to the Hope and Consolation of Israel, where no human eye observed him. This showed him that our Lord knew the secrets of his heart. Through Christ we commune with, and benefit by the holy angels; and things in heaven and things on earth are reconciled and united together.