Saturday 05 January 2013

Bible Book:

"Jesus … said to him, 'Follow me.'" (v. 43)

John 1:43-51 Saturday 5 January 2013


In the preceding verses we read firstly of John the Baptist'swork of pointing people to Jesus (John1:19-34), and secondly of Jesus' first disciples, who startedto follow Jesus as a result of John's testimony concerning him (John1:35-42). Here we reach a new stage: Jesus, for the first time,takes the initiative and calls Philip to follow him. Philip was notthe only one to receive such a direct invitation from Jesus (eg Mark1:17; 2:14; 10:21). This kind of approach distinguishedJesus from the other Rabbis of his time, who tended to wait forpupils to come to them rather than actively seeking them out (seeJohn 15:16).

Part of what it means to follow Jesus is to learn more abouthim, and these verses add to our knowledge. One lesson Philiplearnt early on was that Jesus is he "about whom Moses … and theprophets wrote" (v. 45), in other words Jesus is the one to whomthe Old Testament indirectly bears witness, even though it does notexplicitly name him.

Another lesson Philip and Nathanael learnt was that Jesus hassupernatural knowledge of the characters and circumstances ofothers (verses 47-48), a fact which leads immediately toNathanael's recognition of Jesus as the Messiah (verse 49), and tohis becoming a disciple himself (as John21:1-2 confirms).

A third lesson they learnt was that Jesus is the one whoconnects us with God (verse 51). This final verse of the passagealludes to the story of Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-12). Jacob in his dream saw aladder reaching up from earth to the dwelling place of God on whichangels were ascending and descending. Jesus sees himself here asthat ladder, and moreover calls himself "the Son of Man" (v. 51),his favourite form of self-reference in the Gospels, which conveysboth a sense of his true humanity and also (in the light of Daniel7:13-14) a sense of his divine splendour and calling.

To Ponder

  • In what ways have you 'heard' Jesus calling you to followhim?
  • How hungry are you to know more about him?
Previous Page Friday 04 January 2013
Next Page Sunday 23 December 2012