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John 1:35-51

The First Disciples of Jesus

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ 

John was the last of the Gospels to be written. The Gospel contains no parables and the miracle stories are seen by John as ‘signs’ that will show God’s glory.

There are several recurring themes in the Gospel. One such theme is sight and light. In John 1:4-5, Jesus is referred to as the light. And Jesus said in John 8:12 that he is the light of the world and in John 9 he heals a man born blind and once again refers to light.

The passage preceding today’s reading talks about John the Baptiser pointing to Jesus as the ‘lamb of God’. When John the Baptist’s disciples saw Jesus they followed him and John faded into the background.

In the study passage there are several references to looking and seeing. Interestingly, Jesus does not ask: “whom are you looking for?” but “what are you looking for?” And the disciples did not answer him directly but answered with a question: “where are you staying?” This means that they wanted to be with Jesus. And then the next day there is more coming and seeing.

This ‘seeing’ is both literal and figurative but notice that always there is both ‘come’ and ‘see’. Thus, seeing is not passive; it involves doing something: coming, seeing, looking. John is the only Gospel in which Nathanael is mentioned. And in verse 49 Nathanael recognises Jesus as the son of God. Nathanael saw both literally and figuratively. And in verse 51 Jesus tells Nathanael that he will see even greater things.   

Blessings as we pray that we too might “see” Jesus in those we meet today.  Be safe!  Be well!  The Spirit has come!

 To Ponder:

  • Imagine if Jesus was to ask you what you are looking for. How would you answer him? 
  • How does this passage challenge to come and see in a more active and involved way? 

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