Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 1:42-50
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 1:42
v42: When Simon (Hebrew: Simeon, Ac 15:4) arrived at the place where Jesus was staying, Jesus looked at him intently and said, “You are Simon, the son of John, you will be called Cephas.” Then the apostle John adds an explanatory note. He provides for us the Greek name which has the same meaning as Cephas. That name is “Peter,” which means “stone” or “boulder.” Cephas is an Aramaic word (Aramaic: the Hebrew spoken in Israel after the exiles returned from Babylon) which means “rock.” Many people have noted that the Greek word “petros” (Peter) can mean a small stone, or even a small pebble, but Jesus didn’t call Simon “petros.” He called him “Cephas,” which was not a proper name, it was the Aramaic word for rock.

Monday: John 1:42
v42 (continued): Jesus looked at Peter and prophetically saw the man he would become. In other words, He saw the person God intended Peter to become when He formed him in his mother’s womb (Ps 139:13-16). By telling him that someday people would call him a “rock,” He was assuring him that he would become a solid, reliable man, the kind of person around whom a community can be built. That was not Peter’s reality at that moment. He was rash, impulsive, headstrong, self-confident, vain and changeable (Maclaren, p.72). In time, he would indeed become the person Jesus saw, but not until he and failed miserably, been painfully restored and been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:14).

Tuesday: John 1:43-44
vs43-44: On Saturday, Jesus determined that it was time to leave Judea and return to Galilee, but before he left the area He located a man named Philip. He may have met Philip earlier while talking with others who had gathered near the Jordan to listen to John the Baptist, but it’s absolutely certain that these men from Bethsaida (Andrew, John and Peter) knew Philip well (v44), so they may have been the ones who recommend him to Jesus. What’s particularly notable about Philip is that Jesus Himself actually took the initiative to go out and find him, and then He formally invited him to be His disciple with the words, “Follow Me!” At that point in time, being Jesus’ disciple did not mean that these men had to leave their homes and occupations to accompany Him wherever He went. That level of discipleship would come later (Lk 5:11; 6:12-16). For now, it meant walking with Him back to Galilee, a journey which probably took about three days.

Wednesday: John 1:45
v45: On that same day, Philip went out and found a man named Nathaniel from Cana (Jn 21:2), a town located only a few miles from Nazareth. While John calls him “Nathaniel,” the other gospels and Acts always place someone named Bartholomew (“son of Tolmai”) next to Philip when they list the twelve apostles (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:14; Ac 1:13). Though there is no absolute proof that Nathaniel is Bartholomew, it seems almost certain he was. Philip said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses wrote in the Law (Torah) and [also] the prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth” (literal).

Thursday: John 1:46
v46: The two towns, Nazareth and Cana, were situated very close to one another, so close that Jesus would soon attend a wedding there to which Mary, His mother, had also been invited (Jn 2:1-11). Judging from the fact that she felt a sense of responsibility to help the host family when their supply of wine ran out (Jn 2:3), it seems this was the wedding of a family friend. So Nathaniel’s comment about Nazareth, “Can anything good (in character: morally honorable, pleasing to God) be from Nazareth?” was not a mean remark; it was an honest observation about a spiritually troubled village that he personally knew very well. Nazareth was the village from which Mary had to flee when she became supernaturally pregnant with Jesus (Lk 1: 38-40); Nazareth was the village where people would soon rise up in anger and try to kill Jesus (Lk 4:28-29); Nazareth was the village where Jesus’ own brothers would mock Him and accuse Him of being ambitious (Jn 7:2-5); and Nazareth was the village in which Jesus could do very few miracles because of their unbelief (Mt 13:54-58). In answer to Nathaniel’s remark, Philip could only say, “Come and see.”

Friday: John 1:47-48
vs47-48: When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward Him, He said, “Behold, an Israelite in whom guile (deception, treachery, manipulating people by lying) is not” (literal). Nathaniel heard Him say this and replied, “How do you know me?” Obviously, the two men did not know one another, so in effect Nathaniel was asking Jesus, “How would you know whether I have good or bad character? We don’t know each other.” And Jesus answered by speaking prophetically to him using a gift of the Spirit which Paul would later call a “Word of Knowledge” (1Co 12:8). He told Nathaniel something which would have been impossible for a human to have known apart from divine revelation. Apparently some time before that meeting, Nathaniel had been sitting in the shade of a fig tree, probably praying and maybe even asking deep questions of God. We’re not told, but his response was immediate and revealing. Please notice, he reacted with faith, not shame, so that special moment must have had to do with God and was an encounter about which only God could have known (1Sa 16:7; Ps 139:1-2). Instantly, all doubts Nathaniel had about the Messiah coming from the troubled village of Nazareth disappeared.

Saturday: John 1:49-50
v49: Jesus had just finished describing Nathaniel as an honest man, one who didn’t hide His true feelings, and now as we listen to him respond to Jesus, we see that honest heart at work. He boldly told Jesus, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (see v41). He went from skepticism to full faith in only a moment of time, which tells us that he was a man who was genuinely searching for the truth. He instantly recognized that only God could have revealed to Jesus the hidden conversation that had taken place beneath that fig tree, and for Nathaniel that was all the proof he needed. As the Gospel of John progresses we’ll see Jesus again use the “Word of Knowledge” to reach a Samaritan woman by a well (Jn 4:29), and after His resurrection to break down Thomas’ doubt (Jn 20:28). v50: Jesus seemed both surprised and delighted by Nathaniel’s outburst. He seemed amazed at how quickly this man believed. Undoubtedly Nathaniel did not yet understand the suffering that lay ahead for Jesus, or for him, yet his willingness to move toward the “light” (spiritual revelation, in this case Jesus’ identity) was impressive. Jesus responded by saying to him, “Because I told you that I saw you underneath the fig tree do you believe? Things greater than these you shall see” (literal), and then He described for Nathaniel one of those “greater things.” 

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