When I was in elementary school, I was not one of the most popular kids, but I really wanted to be. In fact, I remember being willing to do almost anything to impress the popular kids so they would accept me. On one particular Friday in 5th grade, we had a field trip to our teacher’s farm. I remember walking through the woods behind the kids that I wanted to impress. As I walked along, I stepped in a muddy spot and sank in the mud past my ankles. As I looked up, those boys were watching me. I remember a very conscious thought, “If I swear right now, that will make these boys think I am one of them.” So, I did.
Thankfully, today, looking back at that event, God prevented it from making any impact on my status, but it showed me just how important being accepted by those boys was to me. So often we ask ourselves what we can do for God to love and accept us. But, as believers, we are already fully loved (Rom 8:31-39) and totally accepted by God (Eph 1:6). But, here’s a question that I don’t think I have every thought about. What does God do to help me love and accept Him?
The Passage: John 1:29-51
- How does John describe Jesus and who was making the deceleration to? What was the result each time?
- As Jesus begins gathering his disciples, what does he do for each one to help them recognize who He is?
- What is the significance of John, Andrew and Peter calling Jesus “Rabbi?”
- Why was Nathaniel so quick to call Jesus the Son of God?” What was the significance of the things Jesus said to him? Particularly, why does Jesus quote Gen 28:12?
- How did these interactions with Jesus change their lives?
Jesus has just spent 40 days out in the desert being tempted by the devil. God just proved to the devil that Jesus was His chosen Messiah. Now, Jesus needs to prove who He is to the Jewish people. So, Jesus heads to where he knows John the Baptist has been camped out. As He walks up, The Baptizer declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God, then recounts to everyone present the incredible event of Jesus Baptism. But, it doesn’t seem to really impact anyone.
So, the next day, Jesus comes by again. The way it describes the scene, you almost get the impression that Jesus kind of just walked by. But, being God’s Word in the flesh, Jesus never does anything by accident. Jesus intentionally walked by, so that John could declare him to be the Lamb of God again, this time, in front of 2 of his disciples.
When Andrew and John hear The Baptizer’s deceleration, they immediately take off after Jesus. the scene that plays out like you would expect for a well known, well versed, Rabbi. But, these guys had just met Jesus! So, why did they treat Jesus like a veteran Rabbi so quickly?
Arnold Fruchtenbaum explains it this way, “It seems they expected that the Messiah would be able to perfectly interpret the law for them, and so they revealed a desire to submit themselves to His teaching. When they asked, Rabbi, where do you live?, it was more than just idle curiosity. John and Andrew wanted to become Jesus’ disciples and subject themselves to His authority. It was such a major turning point in John’s life that he specifically made note of the time, about the tenth hour (Jn. 1:39)
All this took place in the desert of Perea, in southern Palestine.
But in John 1:43 it says, “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.” Galilee is more than 50 miles away. Why go to Galilee? Well, Jesus had a divine appointment with a man named Philip in Bethsaida. John and Andrew also happened to be from Bethsaida so they followed the footsteps of their “Rabbi.”
When Jesus finds Philip, Philip immediately goes and brings his brother Nathaniel to see Jesus too. Then things got really interesting. Jesus’ declares of Philip, “An Israelite indeed; in whom is no guile! and, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Upon hearing these words, Nathaniel immediately declared Jesus to be the Messiah. Why?
Fruchenbaum brings out the following: Jesus’ decleration made Nathanael realize that this man knew that he had been under the fig tree meditating on scripture, and furthermore, He knew the exact passage of Scripture upon which he had been meditating. Jesus knew his very thoughts! (Jn. 1:51). Genesis 28:12 is the only passage in the Hebrew Scriptures which speaks about angels ascending and descending.
In those few words, Jesus revealed that He knew where Philip was, what he was doing AND what He was thinking! Nathaniel’s response was awe and worship, which resulted in the choice to follow Jesus!
What will it take in your life for you to forsake all and follow Jesus? If Jesus showed up and told you where you were, what you were doing, and what you were thinking yesterday, would you choose to follow Him?
If you were convinced that Jesus could expound the Word of God to you, and perfectly interpret what it says, would that compel you to follow Him? These were the things that compelled his first disciples to follow Him. Jesus showed them who He was by the words He said and the works He did. And because these men were looking for the Messiah, when they saw and heard things only the Messiah would do and say, they forsook all and followed Him.
Jesus is continually leading us to follow Him, leading us to a relationship with Him because we love Him and trust Him. He will give us opportunities to trust Him hardship and difficulty… and we will see that as we continue. But, in all things, we can be sure that He is continually lovingly, graciously, drawing us to Himself.
• What is God doing to get your attention?
• How are you going to respond? What will it take for you to “forsake all” and follow Jesus?
• God is ALWAYS leading you to a relationship with Him and longs for you to love Him and trust Him because of what you see and hear from Him.
I will be praying that you will see and hear and come to love Him more and more. And as you do, that will lead you to trust Him more deeply.