Know Something of Me

Know Something of Me

Daily Reading: (John 1:43-51):

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 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.”“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Philip follows Jesus and then seeks out Nathanael and extends an invitation for him to do the same thing to follow Jesus (John 1:45). The simple thing that Philip does here is discipleship in a nutshell. I spend time with Jesus and then I go out seeking others who I might extend an invitation to follow Jesus.

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” (John 1:45).

Nathanael, you have got to check this guy out. Come and see and decide for yourself who Jesus is.  Everyone needs to come to a decision for themselves who Jesus is. And really there are only three options. Jesus is either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.  C.S. Lewis created this trilemma. He said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God. Jesus said he had the authority to forgive sins, to have always existed, to intend to come back at the end of time.If He isn’t God’s Son don’t call Him a great moral teacher if these things weren’t true.”[15]

Philip puts it out there for Nathanael, “could Jesus be the Messiah?”

 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:46).

Nathanael is skeptical. He had in his mind what the Messiah would be like, where he would come from, and Nazareth didn’t fit the bill.

He made a generalization based on multiple experiences of Nazarenes.  Based on my life experiences can anything good come from there? His view of these people is so negative that he sweeps all of them into this negative stereotype, including Jesus. His reaction is immediate. He is temporarily blinded by his prejudice.

Look at how Philip responds and this is how we should respond when we put out a Gospel invitation and we are rejected. Respond in grace.“Come and see,” said Philip. These words aren’t pushy but continues the invitation forward and allowed Nathanael the opportunity to further investigate, even if it is only to prove himself right and everyone else wrong. So often we want to make it believe first in Jesus and then follow Him, but that is not the way it works. Follow and then believe (John 1:46). As people spend time investigated Jesus for themselves, this is how they can have their spiritual eyes opened by the Holy Spirit to see Him for who He is.

Now let’s see how this goes as Jesus meets a man who is very skeptical about who He is.

“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:47).

Jesus breaks the ice with a joke that compliments Nathanael.Jesus’ joke is a play on words. “Here comes an Israelite”… Where did the Israelites come from? The line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The name Jacob means deceiver. Jacob cheated his brother, he deceived his father, and was involved in a shady work relationship with his uncle to try and marry one of his daughters. Jacob even got into a wrestling match with God and God changed his name to Israel which means “struggles with God.” When Jesus said, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” He is literally saying here comes the lineage of deceivers who doesn’t deceive. Nathanael you are a straight-shooter who tells it like it is. Jesus eased the tension and used the moment to make Nathanael feel known.

 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked (John 1:48a). Discipleship flourishes as a result of knowing another person.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you” (John 1:48b).

The fig tree was a place of prayer for Israelites. Many scholars believe Nathanael was praying for the coming Messiah. When Jesus says that He saw him under the fig tree Nathanael makes a connection.

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:49). Jesus you are the one I have been praying for.

Then to conclude the conversation, Jesus started with a joke about the name change of Jacob and then He quotes a dream that Jacob had in Genesis 28:12: “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.”

Jesus used humor to break the tension that Nathanael would have had in meeting him. The humor was a compliment of Nathanael character and it soften his heart to receive Jesus. The story of Nathanael is a reminder that Jesus sees us in our pain. He sees us in our places of doubt, anger, disappointment, and deepest longing. He knows you better than you know yourself and He loves you. His grace will lift up as it did Nathanael, and upon listening to Jesus’ words your faith will grow. He extends to you the greatest adventure you could ever be a part of to follow Him.

# A Moment in Andrew’s Life

Daily Reading: (John 1:19-29):

“Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in 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 Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

The people who heard John knew that John was unique. They had not had a prophet for over four hundred years. The fact that John was baptizing was significant to them, because it was not something that their rabbis did. This was not the only reason they thought he might be the Messiah, the Prophet or Elijah, but it was part of why they began to wonder if he might be the fulfillment of one of their prophecies.

John’s confession proves that John was not an impostor. He had a wide reputation. The nation was expecting that the Messiah was about to come, and multitudes were ready to believe that John was the One, (Luke 3:15). John’s example shows that all Christians, and especially all Christian ministers, however much they may be honored and blessed, should be willing to lay all their honors at the feet of Jesus and declare like Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:10- “But by the grace of God I am what I am.”

“I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness,” My personality is nothing; my message everything. “Make straight the way of the Lord.” Prepare the minds and hearts of the people that Christ may freely enter in.

Now comes the announcement John was destined to make where His mission has been fulfilled (John 1:29). “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus Is the Goal of John’s Ministry (John 1:35-37).

Jesus Is the Sin-Removing Lamb (John 1:36-37). This means that discipleship is the expressed need for a savior from our sins. In other words, following Jesus is not heroic. We follow him the way sheep follow the shepherd—because we need to be protected. We need to have our sins forgiven. We are weak, and He is strong. We are hungry, and He is the bread of life. We are thirsty, and He is living water.

Jesus Is the Giver of Spiritual Sight (John 1:38-39). “Come and you will see.” If you will truly come to me, you will see spiritual reality of who I am (John 1:39). Jesus began the relationship by saying, “What are you seeking?” (verse 38). And now we hear Andrew say to his brother, “We have found the Messiah.” As you seek Jesus you will find Christ.

 

Triumph of Light

 

Daily Reading:

John 1:1-4: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

It took John more than three years of time spent living with Jesus to figure out the fullness of who Jesus was. John does not want to keep us waiting to learn the truth, and in three verses he shares what took him so long to know. He wants us to have in our minds from the beginning of his Gospel, the eternal majesty and deity and Creator rights that belong to Jesus Christ.

John starts with the words, In the beginning – where have we heard that before? Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word.” The words “in the beginning” are identical in Greek to the first two words in the Greek Old Testament: That’s not an accident, because the first thing John is going to tell us about is that Jesus is that He created the universe.

Here is what else we are taught by John in regards to Jesus in the very first verse:

  • the time of his existence (in the beginning/before all time),
  • (2) the essence of his identity (“the Word was God”),
  • and (3) His relationship to God (“the Word was with God”).

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Anything in the category of made, Christ made it. Therefore, Christ was not made. Because before you exist, you can’t bring yourself into being. Christ was not made. That is what it means to be God. “And the Word was God.”

What God had to say to us was not only what Jesus said, but who Jesus was and what he did. His words clarified himself and his work. His self and his work were the main truth God was revealing.

Light is triumphant over darkness (John 1:5).

When John says in verse 5 is that “the light shines in the darkness,” he means that the Word has become flesh. Jesus has come into a dark world and is the light of the world.

John gives three reasons why light will triumph over darkness

1.The Light Is the Life of the Son of God (John 1:4).

  1. The Life Is the Life of the Creator of All Things (John 1:3).

So, we know that the powers of darkness are not as strong as this life because this life created the powers of darkness. “Without him was not anything made that was made.” And no created thing is more powerful than its creator. We cannot use ourselves as an argument of a creator building something stronger than themselves that can overcome us (guns, bombs, etc…) because we took material that was already created. We did not create out of nothing.

  1. This Light and Life Is God (John 1:1).

 

 

Forgiveness of Sin

Daily Reading: (1 John 1:7,9 2:12) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
Sadly, today when many Christians read 1 John 1:9 they incorrectly believe that forgiveness is conditional, based on what we must do in order to receive it. (“If we confess” then forgiveness will come).
According to 1 John 2:12, our sins have been forgiven because of one thing; on account of Jesus. What purifies us from our sin is not our confession but His blood that was shed on the cross for our sins (1 John 1:7).
In 1 John 1:9 the word confess (homologeō)- in the Greek means agreeing with (what God has said). When you go back to 1 John 1:9 armed with the correct definition of the word confess; everything else makes sense. When we agree with what God says (that your sins have been forgiven on account of his name—[1 John 2:12] He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. The condition for forgiveness is Jesus.
God has already forgiven us of our sins us when Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross. There is no more forgiveness that remains to be given for believers (Ephesians 4:30-32). Since this is true, confession of sins is not a requirement to receiving forgiveness, however, confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead (is)… you will be saved (Romans 10:9).