Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 1:51-2:3
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 1:51
v51: John records Jesus repeating the word “Amen” (“truly, truly”) twenty-five times in this gospel (e.g. Jn 3:3, 5, 11, 15, 19, 24, 25; 6:26, 27, 32, etc.). Obviously, it was a recognizable pattern in the way Jesus spoke. Before saying something especially important, when He wanted people to listen closely, He might begin by saying “Amen, amen….” In this case He was about to tell Nathaniel about a miraculous event which he would personally witness in the future: Someday heaven would open, and the angels of God would go up and down upon the Son of Man. Of all the things Jesus might have said at that moment, this reply is completely unexpected. It’s actually a startling statement.

Monday: John 1:51
v51 (continued): Why did He promise Nathaniel that He would see such a strange sight? One clue that might help us find the answer comes from the specific wording He chose. He used exactly the same words which Moses used to describe a vision the patriarch Jacob had in a place called Bethel (Ge 28: 10-17). In that dream, Jacob saw a ladder placed on the earth which reached all the way up to heaven. Then he saw the “angels of God going up and going down on that ladder (Ge 28:12). When he awoke, he said that place where he slept must be the “gate of heaven” (Ge 28:1).

Tuesday: John 1:51
v51 (continued): We’re not told, but it’s possible that it was this passage in Genesis that Nathaniel had been meditating upon in the shade of the fig tree. If so, Jesus’ mention of that passage would have been further evidence of His miraculous knowledge about Nathaniel. It would mean He even knew the Biblical passage the man had been reading. Another clue that may help us understand Jesus’ statement is His use of the title “Son of Man.” The term is used two different ways in the Bible: One was simply another way of saying a human being. The term “son of man” was a poetic way of saying a human child (Ps 8:4; 80:17, Eze 2:1, 3).

Wednesday: John 1:51
v51 (continued): But in a vision God showed to the prophet Daniel, the term “Son of Man” took on a very special meaning. In that vision, Daniel saw, “…with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man” who “came up to the Ancient of Days” and received from Him “dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him,” and Daniel was told that this “Son of Man’s” kingdom would last forever (Da 7:13-14). By saying that the person he saw in his vision looked “like a Son of Man” Daniel was saying He looked like a human being, but by walking into the very throne room of heaven and receiving this kingdom directly from God the Father, this Son of Man also appears to have divine, God-like qualities. During the vision, Daniel was also told by a heavenly being that “the saint of the Highest One” would participate with the Son of Man in governing this eternal kingdom (Da 7:18, 27), which appears to mean He will rule His eternal kingdom through human beings.

Thursday: John 1:51
v51 (continued): If indeed Jesus meant to combine Jacob’s dream and Daniel’s vision into one, then He was using these two prophetic symbols to explain to Nathaniel that the “ladder” Jacob saw was an image representing the promised Messiah. Like a “ladder” the Messiah would connect earth to heaven, and the “angels” whom Jacob saw going up and then down upon the Messiah would be not only angelic beings but also the “saints of the Highest One, “ who would rise in the resurrection and then return to earth with Him in glory (1Th 4:16-17; Rev 19:11-16). Using these powerful Old Testament visions Jesus was explaining to Nathaniel that someday he would not only see with his own eyes, but also participate in the resurrection of the dead and the triumphant return of Jesus to set up His kingdom on earth (Mt 24:29-31).

Friday: John 2:1
v1: As we noted earlier (Jn 1:39), the term “third day” may mean the third day after the Sabbath, which would place this wedding on Wednesday, the day of the week when weddings were commonly scheduled. Or it may mean the third day after Jesus’ dialogue with Nathaniel (Jn 1:43-51). If that dialogue was held near the southern end of the Jordan River, then it would have taken Jesus and His disciples about three days, walking at a normal rate, to travel back to Nazareth and then on to Cana. It was a distance of nearly 70 miles. The villages of Cana and Nazareth were only a few miles apart, and the fact that both Jesus and His mother had been invited to the wedding shows that the host family were either friends or relatives of Mary and Joseph. Since there is no mention of Joseph, it’s likely that he was deceased by this time.

Saturday: John 2:2-3
vs2-3: When Jesus returned home, He arrived unexpectedly with five or six disciples, but the host family quickly invited them to attend the wedding as well. However, unless the host family was wealthy, adding five or six adult males to the guest list brought with it a significant financial impact, because each additional quest must be fed. In Near Eastern hospitality the host will go without food or beverage rather than deprive a guest. So when the wine ran out, the host family’s inability to provide for their guests became an embarrassment, and the last-minute inclusion of Jesus’ disciples may have helped to create this problem. Even without them, Joseph and Mary’s family was large. There would have been, at least, eight (Mk 6:3), and with six more disciples they brought a total of fourteen people. This may be why Mary went to Jesus and informed Him, “They have run out of wine.” If so, she was saying to Him: “They’re out of wine and can’t afford to by more. By including these disciples our family has helped to cause this awkward situation. What can you do to help?” (paraphrase). 

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