Berean Bible Study Notes

John 1:14-51

 

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I enjoy digging deep into God's Word. I believe every detail is there for a reason, and I have a tendency to bring those out when I can. However, I never, ever want to cause you to stumble with your own Bible reading. If, in your reading, you see the pictures, understand the details, great! But, if trying to get every last minute aspect of a passage is causing you frustration and making you prone to putting aside the Bible, stop worrying about the details. It's like trying to touch up your wall before you've painted it to begin with. In other words, it's better to just stay in God's word. Get the big picture first. Don't necessarily choose the most "word for word" translation for your daily chapters. Pick a Bible translation that you'll actually read (please do stay away from paraphrases like The Message, though), and just read. If you believe that God is calling you to read the whole thing, then 3-5 chapters a day will get you through in about a year.

Remember, the Holy Spirit is the best teacher, and when you're ready to see more, He'll show you more. Be patient. Keep reading! Don't expect to understand everything. That's what we have all eternity (literally) for. Personally, I can hardly wait to sit at Jesus' feet and have Him show me all the things I missed. I KNOW I'm not getting a hundredth of what's there, but I'm not going to let it worry me. I'm going to keep reading and trusting God to show me what He wants, when He wants.

OK, enough of that. Last time, we got through the 13th verse of John. If you missed that, you might want to review it. Today, we begin with the Christmas story in John:

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In “Learning to be a Berean,” there is a full Bible study on Jesus taking on flesh. You can find that here: Fully man

The Word - God - took on human flesh and made his dwelling among us. Can you imagine? The Creator, outside of time, stepped INTO time, into His creation, for us. Do you have a grasp of what that means? In one of his letters, John says:

1 John 4:2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

That word "has come" is erchomai {er'-khom-ahee}
1) to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning

2) to appear, make one's appearance, come before the public

a) to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence

The tense of that word in the Greek is Second Perfect , which is identical in meaning to the Perfect tense (from the BlueLetterBible.org):

Tense - Perfect

The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense in
English, and describes an action which is viewed as having been
completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be
repeated.

Jesus' last cry from the cross, TETELESTAI ("It is finished!")
is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense,
namely "It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely,
once and for all time."

Certain antiquated verb forms in Greek, such as those related
to seeing (eidw) or knowing (oida) will use the perfect tense
in a manner equivalent to the normal past tense. These few
cases are exception to the normal rule and do not alter the
normal connotation of the perfect tense stated above.

That means that God took on flesh - not just for 33 years, but for always.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Paul wrote that after Jesus had already ascended. He is fully God - always has been, always will be - but He took on flesh forever. The Gnostics said (and continue to say) that Jesus wasn't really a man. He took on the appearance of a man, but He was really spirit. In his epistles, John says that to deny that Jesus took on flesh once and for all is the spirit of antichrist. That would include the Jehovah Witnesses and any others who say similar things.

 

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the Greek, it says He tabernacled among us. That is why some speculate that His actual birth date may have been on the Feast of Tabernacles, which is on the 15th day of Tishri (Usually October. Here is a calendar converter). The Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous of Israel's feasts, and held after the last of the harvest is gathered in - a time when the shepherds were still in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. (There are lots of links in my Jesus in the Feasts of Israel study, if you're interested) If that's true, it would be kind of a fun pun, because that day is always a full moon:

Galatians 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Or, as the NKJV puts it:

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

The biggest point of this verse is that He was born under law. He had live among us, living under law, but living it perfectly - something no one else could do.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Death came through a man, so life has to come through a man, also. Nothing else would do. Someone had to keep God's law perfectly, and since the law was designed for men, it had to be a man that fulfilled it:

So, the Word took on flesh and tabernacled among us. That word "tabernacled" also immediately sends our thoughts back to the Old Testament and the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Every aspect of the Tabernacle pointed to Jesus. If you're interested in learning more about that, it's really kind of a fun study: The Bible is About Jesus

 

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There is so much in the last half of that verse that people have written books on it. John was one of the three who saw Jesus in glory at the transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Peter was so impressed by that, that he still talked about it years later:

2 Peter 1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Next chapter, John will tell us that Jesus revealed His glory in His first miracle, and John may be including all the glorious things that he and other disciples saw:

John 2:11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

In the last study, we talked about the light of Jesus being our light. That light helps us to see the glory of Jesus, so John also includes us in his statement that We have seen his glory:

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Some commentators, like Arthur W. Pink, believe that beyond all that, John is also still referring to the Tabernacle.

Exodus 25:8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."

Exodus 40:33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

He suggests that the "Glory of the Lord" had become flesh.

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Speaking of the coming of Messiah, Isaiah says:

Isaiah 40:5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Isaiah 60:1 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

The Bible does seem to suggest that. Who knows? Perhaps when Jesus comes with the clouds, it is really the cloud of the Shekinah glory that surrounds Him:

Matthew 24:30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

If this interests you, I encourage you to go to Blueletterbible.org or Biblegateway.org and do a phrase search on "the glory of the Lord."

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

I know there's much to learn about this. I just encourage you to pray, "Lord, please teach me more about what this means." I will be praying along with you! Let's go on:

 

John 1:15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Again, we could have a whole Bible study just on these three verses. Remember that John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin. Biologically, John was six months older, but John says, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' John the Baptist recognized that Jesus was God from eternity.

The NIV says John "testifies" concerning Him. The Greek tense is Present Tense, which is interesting considering that John the Apostle wrote this many years after John the Baptist was killed. Through our Bibles, John the Baptist is still testifying.

The text goes on to say From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. We certainly have received one blessing after another - and think of the blessings to come! John goes on to say: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Here he is hinting at something that Paul develops much more fully in his epistles. I'm resisting going into huge depth on that. Basically, Jesus fulfilled the law so that we don't have to.

Romans 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Romans 11:5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace . 6 And if by grace , then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Now, look at the next verse:

John 1:15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Huh? You catch what that says? John says it again in his epistle:

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Paul says it, too:

1 Timothy 6:14 Keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time — God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

What's going on? This could raise two questions. 1) People have seen Jesus! Does that mean He's not God? And 2) What about all those appearances of God in the Old Testament?

Of course, people like the Jehovah Witnesses make much of verses like this, but they forget that the entire point of the book of John is that Jesus IS God. Fortunately, Jesus explains:

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." 

God the Father is spirit. You cannot see spirit.

John 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form

John 6:46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

So, no one has seen THE FATHER. What does that mean about those Old Testament appearances? Who were they actually seeing? You guessed it; they were seeing the pre-incarnate Jesus. We'll go over this in more detail a little further into John. If you can't wait, you can review: Fully God . Let's go on:

John 1:18 (NIV) No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

This is as explicit a declaration of Jesus' divinity as anyone could ask for, right in the next phrase of the verse, and it comes from the Alexandrian texts (the texts the NIV draws heavily from)! The King James and New King James read this way:

John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John 1:18 (KJV) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

If there was a conspiracy to remove the divinity of Jesus from the Alexandrian texts, they did a really lousy job of it.

John 1:19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."

21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"

He said, "I am not."

"Are you the Prophet?"

He answered, "No."

22 Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

26 "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

28 This all happened at Bethany (other translations say Bethabara, which makes more sense, since it is on the Jordan and Bethany isn't) on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about John the Baptist. In the parallel to this section, Matthew says:

Matthew 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.'"

4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (If this is taking place at Bethabara, John may very well have been pointing at the pile of stones set up when Joshua crossed the Jordan to conquer Jericho. Bethabara means "House of Passage" which is what the crossing place was called)10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

 

Mark says:

Mark 1:2 As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You." 3'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'"

4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

 

And, Luke says:

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

'Prepare the way of the LORD;

Make His paths straight.

5 Every valley shall be filled

And every mountain and hill brought low;

The crooked places shall be made straight

And the rough ways smooth;

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"

7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him,"Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

10 So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?"

11 He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."

12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" 13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you."

14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?"

So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."

15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all,"I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."

 

OK, back to John:

John 1:19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."

21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."

22 Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

First, when John says "the Jews," he is referring to the Jewish leadership. All through the Gospel of John, "the Jews" refers to the leaders of the Jewish people. It was actually a very few people who brought on the blinding of Israel. Now, the Jews as a people had three expectations. They were looking for the Messiah, and John clearly tells them that he is not the Messiah. They were looking for Elijah, because the prophet Malachi had recorded:

Malachi 4:5 See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

The Septuagint even says "Elias the Thesbite:"

Malachi 4:5 (Septuagint, English translation) And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Thesbite, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes;

As you saw above, Mark included a quote from Malachi, saying that John the Baptist had fulfilled it, but it was a different quote:

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.

If this interests you, I encourage you to read carefully what the Bible says about Elijah and John the Baptist. Consider what it calls fulfilled and will be fulfilled and both what is quoted and not quoted.

The Jews were also expecting a "prophet like Moses," because Moses had said:

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

So, if he's not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, the Pharisees ask the next logical question:

John 1:24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

26 "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

28 This all happened at Bethany (or Bethabara) on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Basically, they are asking, by what authority do you do this? The People's Bible: John, by Gary Baumler, Northwestern Publishing House, 1997, says:

Some people make the point that by Jesus' day, it was very unusual that a Jew would be baptized, especially for the remission of sins. A Gentile convert to Judaism would be baptized as a way of renouncing his old way of life and sin, but Jews? Apparently that was out of the ordinary. To this day, Jews regard Jews undergoing Christian baptism as becoming Gentiles. This article has some interesting information about the Jewish view of baptism, both modern and ancient. (Note - the author, a Jewish Christian, does not hold the Lutheran view of baptism)

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

So, the next day, the day after John was questioned about who he was, Jesus Himself comes on the scene. John immediately proclaims not only who He is, but His mission: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

You can follow the symbolism of "the lamb" all the way through the Bible, from Genesis:

Genesis 22:7 (KJV). . .Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. This could easily read "God will provide himself, a lamb, for a burnt offering."

To Revelation:

Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"

Jon Courson says, (Courson, J. 2003. Jon Courson's Application Commentary . Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN)

Nowhere is the "lamb of God" symbolism clearer than in Passover. We'll go through that when we get to that section.

John 1:30 This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

John the Baptist again refers to Jesus as eternal. I have to say that I have no idea what I myself did not know him means. The commentaries either ignore it completely or say something like "living in the wilderness, John may not have known Jesus at all." Well, John knew Him from the womb! His mother and father both knew that Jesus was the Messiah, and certainly must have said something to John as he grew up. Since the families were related (John and Jesus were cousins), and since going to Jerusalem was required three times a year for all able-bodied males, you'd think they would have spent time together. Obviously, it means something, but I don't know what it is. However, I suspect it may have something to do with this:

Matthew 11:13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.

In saying the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel, John is saying again that he was the forerunner, the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah.

John 1:32 Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

The Apostle John does not take us through Jesus' baptism, but refers back to it through John the Baptist. So, Jesus' baptism was at some point in the past, but John does not tell us when. Here are the Gospel narratives of Jesus' baptisim:

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Mark 1:9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Luke 3:21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."

 

John 1:33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

John says again "I would not have known him." What's that about? I have no idea. Then, John reports what God had told him: 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Here, already in chapter 1, the Apostle John talks again about the Holy Spirit (the first time was indirectly in John 1:13. We'll come to that again in chapter 3). He will tell us much more before he is done. John the Baptist says that this is the one - Jesus - who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God. This is the first mention of the Son in John.

Now, we know from the other Gospels that after Jesus' baptism, He went to the wilderness to fast and to allow Satan to try to tempt Him. You can read about that Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13 and Luke 4:1-13. Following that, according to Luke 4:14-30, He went to Galilee and announced the beginning of His ministry. So, from the standpoint of John 1:33, Jesus' baptism is some time in the past and John the Baptist is recalling it. At some point, which the Apostle John says is two days after John the Baptist was questioned as to who he is, the following happens:

John 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

39 "Come," he replied, "and you will see."

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

John sees Jesus again, and again calls Him the "lamb of God." This time, two of John's disciples, Andrew (Peter's brother) and an unnamed disciple, whom most people agree is the Apostle John, follow Jesus. So, these two, since they were already disciples of John the Baptist, have been hearing about Jesus for some time. They want to know where they can find Him (maybe so they can come see Him later?), but Jesus gives them no time to change their minds, and just says, "Come."

For some reason, the Holy Spirit wants us to know that the two spent the day with Jesus, until about 4:00 in the afternoon. (The first hour is 6:00 a.m. and it counts from there. The days are divided into two twelve hour segments. An alternative idea is that John is using Roman time, which would make the tenth hour 10:00 a.m.)

John 1:40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

So, apparently, after Jesus, John, and Andrew spend most of the day together, Andrew leaves and gets his brother Simon. Notice what Andrew says, "We have found the Messiah." Simon (Peter) is interested enough to come hear more. Now, only the Gospel of John gives us this extra information about the disciples. From reading the other accounts, it almost sounds as if the first time they saw Jesus, they jumped out of their boats and followed Him:

 Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Mark 1:16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

Luke 5:1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

 

Back to John:

John 1:41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).

Or, as the NKJV puts it (translating also the "Peter"):

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).

 

So, the first time Simon meets Jesus, Jesus tells him, You will be called Cephas, or Peter. Notice the future tense of the "will be" or the "shall be." That's important. He's not "Peter" yet.

You're probably more familiar with another time when Jesus speaks to Peter this way:

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Now, this incident in Matthew is taking place much later, after Simon, or Peter, as we know him, has been with Jesus quite awhile. He's listened to Him speak. He's seen His miracles, including the feeding of the 5,000. He affirms what he was told by Andrew - that Jesus is the Messiah - and adds one important aspect of his belief, that Jesus is the Son of God. In other words, Peter is saying that Jesus is God. Then, Jesus tells him that he IS Peter, an accomplished fact.

So, what does that mean? First, both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean "stone," or "rock" in English as our Bibles spell out. What the English fails to tell us, though, is that there are two different Greek words being used here.

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church

That "Peter" is Petros (pet'-ros); Strongs number 4074. According to Strongs, it means a rock, but specifically, a piece of a larger rock. The second "rock" is Petra, Strongs number 4073. It means bedrock, cliff, mass of rock, a mountain of rock.

So, what is the Petra? The Bible tells us that the Petra is Christ:

Matthew 7:24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock (petra).

1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock (Petra) that followed them, and that Rock (Petra) was Christ.

What does it mean that Peter is a "piece of the rock?" He would be an apostle, chosen to carry the message of Christ. Ephesians tells us basically the same thing:

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Jesus is making a pun by using the words as He did. In our common expressions, Peter would be a "chip off the old block." Bet you never knew that came from the Bible, did you? (I didn't, either, until I studied for this) Here are some links to pictures to help explain Petros - a piece of a larger rock, and Petra, bedrock or mountain of rock. There is an actual place called "Petra" in modern day Jordan. It was an ancient city of stone. Some people say that one day, it will again be a place of refuge.

Petros:

Rockslide at Bryce Canyon National Park

Rockslide (Petros)

Petros

Petra:

Petra, Ancient city in Jordan

Petra - City of Rock

El Capitan (A mountain of stone that well illustrates the concept of "Petra")

John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.

"Come and see," said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."

49 Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

50 Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."



Since this study is very long already, I won't go into too much depth here. I'll just leave you with one thought - that Jesus alone is the stairway to heaven:

Genesis 28:10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

 

Some brief articles on the apostles mentioned in John. I'm not endorsing the main web site, but these articles are very good:

Andrew the Apostle

John the Apostle

Peter the Apostle

Philip the Apostle

Bartholomew the Apostle (Nathanael)



The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 2/1/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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