John 1:35-51 Encounters With Jesus

by | Apr 18, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. It’s Not About You Vs. 35-37

1. Behold…- John directed attention to Jesus, urging others to follow Him. (See 3:27-30)
2. Lamb of God- This was a reference to Jesus giving His life for the sins of the world.

a. Old Testament Jews would sacrifice animals for their sins.
b. A innocent life was shed for the cleansing of the guilty sinner.
c. Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice, superseding all other religious efforts.

3. John was a powerful and charismatic figure.

a. He was conceived miraculously. Both his parents were past the age of child bearing.
b. He was called by God to be a forerunner to Jesus, calling people to repentance.
c. He got the attention of the nation, and even attention from the religious leaders.
d. He was the cousin of Jesus, and baptized Jesus.
e. Jesus called him great.

4. In spite of all of that, John’s mission and passion was to direct people to follow Jesus.
5. Application- What is your mindset regarding your life? Is it about you, or Jesus?

II. Jesus Is An Inviter Vs. 38, 39

1. Jesus did not live a life of seclusion, but openly invited people to follow Him.
2. He had his group of hand chosen disciples, but he lived and interacted publicly.
3. V. 38- “what do you seek”? These were Jesus’ first public words in his ministry as Messiah

a. This is a searching and personal question for each of us. What are you really seeking?
b. Even in church attendance, what is it that you are seeking?
c. Their answer- Where are you staying? In other words, the only way we can explain what we are seeking is to spend time with you. We need more than a brief encounter.

4. Jesus invites them to Himself.
5. Application- Jesus is an “inviter”.

a. Matthew 11:28-30 28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
b. John 7:37-39a 37On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…
c. John 5:39, 40 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

4. How do we come to Jesus in these days?– Read His words, open your heart, respond to His words, turn from a life of self-rule, and surrender your life to Jesus, and ask Him to be real to you. It is a deliberate choosing of Jesus min the realm of the spirit.

III. Convinced Christians Share Jesus Vs. 40, 41

1. Andrew was a spiritually hungry, thirsty, and humble man.
2. Humble in that he was an honest seeker, and that he admitted his spiritual need.
3. He fit into one of the categories of one who labored and was heavy laden, or one who was spiritually hungry and thirsty. He knew that his life was spiritually incomplete.
4. He found great truth in John, but it wasn’t enough. When John pointed to Jesus, Andrew started following Jesus, and investigating Jesus. He was one of the two in verses 38 & 39.
5. He took a risk, he took time, and he put forth effort in his spiritual quest.
6. He found Jesus to be the Messiah, the sent one of God. He searched and became convinced.
7. From that point, it was easy and natural to invite his brother.
8. Question- How convinced are you about Jesus? Answer- Do you ever invite people to Him?

IV. Jesus Changes People V. 42

1. Jesus knew who Peter was, but He also knew who He was going to make him to be.
2. Peter would become a rock solid follower of Jesus, and a pillar of the early church.

V. Jesus Welcomes Apparent Skeptics Vs. 43-51

1. Vs. 43, 44- Jesus had previously invited Andrew and John (Gospel writer) to stay with him, but it had been at their request. Here we see Jesus initiating the invitation to Philip.

a. Follow me- literally follow me and keep on following me.

2. Vs. 45, 46– Philip invites Nathaniel, and describes Jesus as the One prophesied who would come as Messiah, but adds that He was from Nazareth.

a. Nathaniel expressed disdain and skepticism about anyone coming from Nazareth.
b. Maybe Nathaniel remembered that the Messiah was to come from Bethlehem, and therefore showed doubt about the Messiah being known as a Nazarene.
c. Nazareth- Located four miles south of Sepphoris, which was the Roman capitol of the region. When Rome wanted workers, they hired the nearby Nazarenes. Though the Jews hated the occupying army of Rome, the Nazarenes would work for them anyway, which caused there to be great disdain against Nazareth from the rest of Israel. Nazareth was not mentioned in Scripture, was insignificant and questionable.
d. V. 46- Come and see- This is a great and practical response. It puts the responsibility back upon the skeptic, but also, the skeptic can become convinced through his own experience. Many people claim to be seekers, but actually act more like disinterested skeptics. Nathaniel may have been skeptical, but he pushed forward to discovery.

3.Vs. 47-51 Nathaniel becomes convinced about who Jesus is.

a. V. 47- Jesus gives a supernatural declaration of Nathaniel.
No deceit- not only not a hypocrite, but ready to follow wherever truth might lead
b. V. 48- How do you know me? Nathaniel realized that somehow Jesus knew him, and had discovered the intentions of his heart, in spite of his outward doubt.
c. V. 48- Under the fig tree- This was probably a reference to Jesus.
Under the fig tree- A Hebrew phrase describing ne who is seeking God, meditating upon God’s word, praying, etc. It may have been under an actual fig tree, or not.

i. Whatever the case, Nathaniel was having a private moment that Jesus was able to supernaturally discern and refer to.
ii. It became a proof to Nathaniel of who Jesus was.

d. V. 49- Jesus’ answer was a divine response to Nathaniel, and Nathaniel recognized that supernatural aspect of it, and it became a proving to him of who Jesus was. Jesus divine insight into Nathaniel’s seeking heart became the launch point for Nathaniel’s faith in Jesus.

i. How beautiful that Jesus didn’t view Nathaniel through his outward expression of skepticism, but through his inward seeking by faith.

e. Vs. 50, 51- Jesus challenges Nathaniel to expect greater things.

i. V. 50- Because I saw you? Jesus doesn’t want Nathaniel’s faith to stop there
ii. V. 50- You will see greater things- This is just the beginning. Get ready.
iii. V. 51- A reference to Genesis 28:12

Jacob dreamed and saw a ladder where angels were ascending and descending
Jesus declared Himself to be that ladder between Heaven and Earth.

John the Baptist pointed Andrew and John the Gospel writer to follow Jesus.
Andrew found his brother Peter, who was re-named Cephas, a stone.
Jesus found Philip, who lived in the same city and Andrew and Peter.
Philip followed Jesus, and then later invited Nathaniel who was skeptical, but honest.
Nathaniel took the risk to investigate Jesus, and revealed his supernatural knowledge to Nathaniel.
Nathaniel believed.