THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THE FIRST DISCIPLES TO JESUS — THE WORD, THE LIGHT, SON OF GOD, LAMB OF GOD, MESSIAH, KING OF ISRAEL, SON OF MAN – JOHN 1
God’s highest purpose for our life and our highest eternal good is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. The more we behold Jesus through God’s Word and by His Spirit, the more we become like Him. And Christlikeness is our highest good both now and for all eternity.
John 1:1-18 – In the prologue of John’s gospel we see the Deity of Christ seen in Christ’s eternality (vv. 1-2;15); as the Word (logos, v. 1); Who was with God (God but distinct from God — the Trinity, v. 1); the Light of men (vv. 4-9); the Revealer and One who explains God (vv. 14-18).
John 1:19-37 – The testimony of John the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" . The sacrificial lamb is from Old Testament images from Genesis 22:8, Isaiah 53, and Exodus 12, the Passover lamb and is utterly unique among all world religions that God Himself would offer a sacrifice and even be the sacrifice. John says, " I am not the Christ, not Elijah, not the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18), " I am a witness to Jesus, a voice crying, clear the way so people can see Jesus, clear your heart to receive Jesus, the only One who can meet the deepest needs of humanity — the forgiveness of sin and a love relationship with God through Christ. I’m not worthy to be His slave much less His disciple. I saw the Spirit come upon Him and remain on Him and testify that He is the Son of God, the One who baptizes others with the Holy Spirit" (not just water, for the cleansing with water is not lasting).
John the Baptist is our example and model in taking the focus off ourselves, and pointing all people to behold Jesus. He even pointed his own disciples to behold Jesus and to leave him and go follow Jesus. (vv. 35-37)
John 1: 35-40 – The testimony of Andrew, and probably John (one of the two disciples of John the Baptist unnamed – v.35) shows us that to know Jesus we must seek Him, follow Him and spend time with Him. "Come and see," Jesus says to all. Discipleship is more than intellectual study (though we must study); it is following Jesus’ teachings in faith and obedience for obedience brings revelation knowledge of God (John 14:21-23).
John 1:40-42 -Discipleship also involves bringing others to Jesus (witnessing, inviting to Christian fellowship groups, church, etc.) like Andrew did with his brother Peter. Jesus sees not only who we are (Simon) but who He can shape us into by His love and power (Peter — the Rock). We too will receive a new name (in heaven — Revelation 2:17).
John 1:43 – Jesus was different from other Jewish teachers in that the disciples of other Rabbis would choose the teacher, learn from Him and then leave the teacher and groom other disciples. Jesus chooses us (though we must respond to His call) and we are to follow Him as His disciple forever and point others to Him not ourselves.
John 1: 44-51 — Philip immediately responded to Jesus, but Nathanael was skeptical at first. People respond differently to Jesus but, like Nathanael, we must choose to follow even if we have doubts. Philip said, "Come and see" and Nathanael went to Jesus. (vv. 46-47)
Jesus gave Nathanael the ultimate compliment, " a man who has no deceit." "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8; Psalm 32:2) How did Jesus know that Nathanael was under the fig tree? Sitting under the fig tree (a canopy effect) was a common place to sit and meditate on Scripture and pray. Perhaps Nathanael was meditating on Genesis 28 where Jacob saw a ladder (staircase) from earth to heaven with angels (messengers of God) ascending and descending. (John 1:51) "He then added, "I tell you the truth, you (plural — all men) shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." Jesus says He as Son of Man and Son of God is that ladder, that link between God and Man, the One who reveals the One true God to all who seek Him. God in Christ reaches down into our falleness and frailty as humans and makes us righteous through His blood and lifts us up to dwell with God, now in spirit but one day face to face. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time." "This act (the cross) is a clear testimony offered at just the right time of God’s desire to save all men." (John Walvord)
HALLELUJAH WHAT A GOD – WHAT A SAVIOR!
Like the disciples and John the Baptist, earnestly seek after the Lord, spend time with Him, worship Him and point others to Him. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.