Read: John 1:46-51
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49 ESV)
Jesus’ prophetic display convinced Nathan to follow him. He exclaimed his astonishment by attributing three very Jewish titles to Jesus. He called him a rabbi, the Son of God, and King of the Jews.
Rabbi was a title. It was and still is a Jewish word for teacher. It was used frequently when speaking of Jesus. For good reason too. He was teaching the people of his day the truth of the kingdom of God in a way that baffled, angered, and shamed the religious elite, while encouraging and empowering the destitute and ignored. Jesus taught about a lot of things, but he demonstrated all of his instruction very pointedly by becoming the sacrifice to fulfill all of his earthly promises.
Son of God seems to be a really straight forward thing to call someone, and basically it is. It is a figure of speech that goes all the way back to the creation story when Adam is called the son of God. It is a theme that runs through the entire Old Testament, spinning out of the promise God made to Abraham that he would be an exalted father. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of those three words. He is the Son of God. He is God the Son. Essentially, all Old Testament themes speaking of sonship and family point ahead to Jesus. He is the fulfillment of that and so much more. And you and I can also be sons of God as we are adopted into the family of God through Jesus’ sacrifice.
King of Israel was a curious thing to call Jesus. After all, the nation already had a king. This title declares two things. First, the man who sat on the throne at the time of Jesus was not the true king of Israel. He was not a descendant of David. No, Herod was a puppet king put in place by the Romans. Second, the title attributed to Jesus recognition of his lawful right to the throne, something he did not pursue at that time, as well as his role as an eternal king of God’s people.
Ultimately Jesus is the supreme teacher, son, and ruler. In him we have revealed to us absolute truth. In him we find restoration into the original family. In him we gain citizenship to a sovereign eternal kingdom.
Read: John 1:43-45
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” (John 1:43 ESV)
According to the Bible, in terms of human attraction, Jesus was nothing spectacular to look upon. He was well regarded by people. He was admired for his teaching, compassion, and miracles. Was that alone enough to cause the large numbers of people who gathered around him to follow him?
Philip is counted among the original twelve. He was one chosen by Christ to steward Christianity in its infancy. Philip gave his life to fulfill the role Jesus had called him into. Philip probably already knew a lot about Jesus by the time Christ found him and stated those two words that changed his eternal destiny. Jesus was extremely well known in the region. Still, it took an experience with Jesus. It took personal connection for Philip to engage.
There are many we interact with on a regular basis that are similar to Philip. They need only experience a personal connection with Jesus to start their life of following. We are their best chance at a personal connection. After all, we are the representatives for Christ and his kingdom in this world.
How well are you representing? How are you representing? Are you connecting? Can you connect better?
Read: John 1:41-42
He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). (John 1:41 ESV)
I can not even begin to imagine the euphoria experienced by Andrew and Peter when they realized that they had found the Messiah. The title Messiah was such an important word in Old Testament Jewish tradition. For them to conclude that Jesus fulfilled that role was monumental. It was historic. It was life changing.
“Have you found Jesus, Gump?”
“I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him.”
Those classic lines from Forrest Gump used to replay in my mind all of the time. I came from a church culture and family tradition where I definitely did have to go searching or looking for Jesus. There was nowhere for him to hide in my life. We were in church every time the doors were open for the vast majority of my childhood. I never had to find Jesus because I never felt like he was lost.
In truth, I was the lost one. Actually that is all of our condition before beginning our relationship with Jesus. The sweet beauty of it all is that he finds us in our lostness. Jesus finds us.
Read: John 1:37-40
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. (John 1:40 ESV)
Following is a big deal. When you follow someone you go where they go. Following someone with the intention of learning from them means you begin to follow them not only in terms of locale, but also in behavior. It means adapting behavior of thought, behavior of speech, and behavior of heart.
John and Andrew became followers of Jesus. They began a life of living for him and with him. And eventually both of them would die for him.
Following Jesus is not something you just say, or claim, it is something you do. It is initiated and maintained by faith that is more than merely contemplative. It is active. It is believing, saying, and doing.
Sometimes it is easy. Often it is incredibly hard. Always it takes everything, requires everything, and offers everything. We follow Jesus. We live for Jesus. Possibly, we may even die for Jesus.
Read: John 1:14-18
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)
Both the power and mystery of the truth of Christianity rests in the idea of God becoming a man as Jesus. He is often called Immanuel which means God with us. The way John worded it was equally powerful. That Jesus was with God from the beginning of beginnings is a central idea to historical Christianity. He is often referenced prior to the incarnation as the Word.
The word of God, the bible, is God’s written account to us. It is inspired, supernatural, and active in its communication of God’s voice to mankind. Jesus is the Word of God. More than written account, theological facts, or revelatory teachings, Jesus is the Living Word. He is the ongoing Truth of God’s love for mankind.
The bible is important, and it is the word, but Jesus is the divine inspiration behind the bible. He is the Word. In truth he left infinitude and became flesh to display and reveal the glory of God to all people. Our only path to the absolute truth is through the Word, through Jesus. Ultimately he is God’s final, future, and ongoing message of grace and truth.
If you find yourself alone, miserable, and wayward, Jesus is the way back. If you find yourself confused, condemned, and corrupt, Jesus is the way back. He came lived, died, and lived again to go on living in us so that in him we might be free. In him we might the Truth of the Glory of God.
Read: John 1:6-13
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9 ESV)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all inspired by the Holy Spirit to record the events of Christ’s life, and each account bears its own uniqueness. However, John’s gospel stands among them as being distinct in content, not because it is contradictory, but because its author had a special perspective about Christ.
When John wrote about Jesus he regularly used the word Light. It is a fantastic use of scriptural imagery. Jesus came to illuminate sin, to expose evil, and to dispel darkness. He is the Light. John’s knowledge of this light was not merely academic or theological, it was personal.
What about you? What is your knowledge of the Light? Has Jesus worked in your life to illuminate the things that don’t belong. Has he exposed the secret hurts that maybe you suppressed, ignored, or forgot about? He can. He does. He will. It’s what he came to do.
Read: Mark 1:9-11 & John 1:32-34
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11 ESV)
Growing up one of my favorite feelings was always that experience of knowing that my parents were pleased with me for something. Sometimes it accompanied a task or an accomplishment, but often it was just there. It was a sense of cherished love and value that came simply as a result of being their child.
I really believe we can experience that same kind of affection from God. Yes, it comes in ways that are similar to those of my own childhood experience. Sometimes God is pleased with us and our actions, but usually the feeling of acceptance, love, and appointment is derived simply from belonging to Him.
Both parenthood and childhood are pleasurable experiences when enjoyed through a righteous and wholesome relationship. God is the Father. All who come back into the Father’s family can and will experience the Father’s good pleasure. I hope that the thought of God being pleased with you, His child, will put a smile in your heart and joy in your steps today.