Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 1:38-41
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 1:38
v38: Jesus must have heard their footsteps behind Him, because He suddenly turned around and saw that they were following Him. Then He asked, “What do you want (seek)?” and they responded by asking Him a question, “Rabbi (master teacher), where are you staying?” In Near Eastern culture they would never have been so presumptuous as to invite themselves to the place where He was camping or had rented a room. Hospitality in that culture must be offered by the host; it was never demanded by the guest. So the two men were politely asking for His “address” because they wanted to make an appointment to meet with Him later, at His convenience. Multitudes of pilgrims must have been staying in the area because of John’s ministry, so there would have been many campsites along the river, and probably even rented accommodations available.

Monday: John 1:39
v39: It was probably ten o’clock in the morning when this conversation took place. John tells us it was “the tenth hour” and he was likely using the Roman system of time which would have been familiar to his Greek readers. If it were the “tenth hour” according to the Jewish system of time, it would have been four o’clock in the afternoon, but had it been that late in the day, it’s hard to see how there would have been enough time for so many discussions to take place (vs40-42). Jesus responded to their request by generously inviting them to spend the day with Him. He said, “Come, and you will see.” In other words, “Follow Me, I’ll show you.”

Tuesday: John 1:39
v39 (continued): It might be possible to determine the day of the week on which this meeting took place. To do so we would need to look at an event which takes place in the next chapter (Jn 2:1-11). In reference to the wedding at Cana, Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish scholar, explains that first-time weddings were customarily held on Wednesdays (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, E.R. Herrick and Co., New York, third edition, 1886, Vol 1, p. 345; also: Sketches of Jewish Social Life, updated edition, Hendrickson, 1995, pp. 139-140). In chapter two John tells us that Jesus attended a wedding at Cana of Galilee on the “third day,” which likely meant the third day after the Sabbath or Wednesday. Counting backwards from the day of the wedding, if indeed it was on Wednesday, would put John the Baptist’s confrontation with the religious authorities on the previous Thursday, which means John first called Jesus the “Lamb of God” on Friday (the same day on which He would later be crucified), which means Andrew and John held their first meeting with Jesus on the Sabbath (Saturday), and on Sunday Jesus decided to return to Galilee (v43).

Wednesday: John 1:40-41
vs40-41: In what could only be an expression of great humility, when the apostle John wrote this gospel he decided not to mention his own name, nor the names of the members of his immediate family. Here he identifies himself only as the other one of the two who heard John (the Baptist) speak. Elsewhere he calls himself the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23; 19:26-27; 20:2; 21:7, 20). His mother was present at the foot of the cross along with three other women when Jesus was dying, but John identifies her simply as His (Jesus’) mother’s sister” (Jn 19:25). His brother James isn’t mentioned at all, though we know from other gospels he was very involved (Mt 4:21-22). After John and Andrew conversed with Jesus long enough to become convinced that He was indeed the Messiah, Andrew went to find his brother Simon, who must also have been there at the Jordan among the crowds listening to John the Baptist. He told him, “We have found the Messiah!” and since John wrote this gospel with Greek-speaking believers in mind, he adds an explanatory note which translates the Hebrew word “Messiah” into Greek. The Hebrew word means “one who has been anointed with oil,” and the Greek word “Christ” basically means the same thing.

Thursday: John 1:41
v41 (continued): It refers to the custom of pouring olive oil over the head of a priest (Ex 30:30) or king (1Sa 16:1, 12-13) as a symbolic prayer to invite the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon that person. The word “Messiah” does not occur often in the Old Testament, Psalm 2:2 is a rare example, but it became a title which people commonly used when referring to a special descendant that God promised to David (2Sa 7:8-17). In that promise, God told David that He would raise up one of His future sons (“seed”) and that his kingdom would last forever. Other prophets went on to describe that son as a righteous ruler who would be powerfully anointed with the Holy Spirit (Isa 9:2-7; 11:1-5).

Friday: John 1:41
v41 (continued): There is a remarkable statement contained in God’s original promise to David. Speaking of the “Messiah” God said, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me…” (2Sa 7:14). As time went on, Israel’s prophets repeated this truth. In Psalm 2:7 we hear God telling the Messiah, “You are My son, today I have begotten You.” In Psalm 89 the psalmist lets us hear God declare this about His Messiah, “He will cry to Me, ‘You are My Father…’” (Psa 89:26), and then we hear God say, “I shall make him (My) first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Psa 89:27). When most Jews referred to the Messiah as the “Son of God” they would have understood the term to mean nothing more than a human king whom God adopted into a special father/son relationship with Himself. There are several times in the gospels when people called Jesus “the Son of God,” but when they used this term they did not understand His divine origin. They were simply using another title for Messiah (Jn 1:49; Mt 26:63). But as John makes clear in his introduction (Jn 1:1-3, 10, 14-15, 18) those who do know Jesus’ true origin will realize that the term “Son of God” should be taken literally. He is the human son of Mary, but the divine Son of God (Lk 1:31-32).

Saturday: John 1:41
v41 (continued): Another title people used for the Messiah was “King of the Jews” or “King of Israel” (Jn 1:49; 18:33; 19:21). Again, this term is pointing to this same special king who would be descended from David. A similar title was “Son of David” (Lk 18:38-39). All of these point to the same person, but we need to keep in mind that there were also promises in the Bible about a coming deliverer who would suffer and die (Isa 52:13-53:12). And until Jesus actually arrived and revealed God’s plan, it was very confusing to know how these two different themes could be speaking about the same person. Now, looking from the perspective of the resurrection, we can see that Jesus is both the righteous king whom God promised to David, and the dying “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” whom John the Baptist announced to his followers.

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