F. JESUS, THE KING OF ISRAEL (John 1:43-49)
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and 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 of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” (John 1:43-49)
Jesus called Philip personally and Philip trusted Jesus enough to follow Him. Did Jesus prepare Philip’s heart ahead of time? We don’t know. Jesus does however usually prepare a person’s heart before they are called. Even in our modern times, I doubt that most of us realize how God has His hand in our lives in order to bring us to the place of realization of Who He really is and the decision that this realization will require. God loves us that much!
According to what we find in John 21:2, at least seven of the disciples were fishermen, including Nathanael. Commercial fishermen are known to be tough and courageous. It was no less the case in the first century. These men went out onto the Sea of Galilee and often had to deal with violent storms. The Sea of Galilee is known as a place where the water might look like glass and then mere minutes later the fishing boats might be caught in the most violent of storms. Fishermen were also known to stick to their tasks no matter how difficult it may become. Nathanael began as a doubter though. He had doubts that anything worthwhile could come out of Nazareth. Actually, Jesus was born in Bethlehem but grew up in Nazareth. It is in Matthew 2:19-21 we are told of His growing up in Nazareth. To be called a Nazarene meant to be looked down upon, insulted, and probably rejected.
And when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matthew 2:19-21)
For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. (Acts 24:5)
Nathanael’s rejection brought the same reaction that the Baptist’s disciples did from Jesus…”Come and see.” It was later on that Jesus would give the invitation, “Come and drink!” and “Come and Dine.” God’s grace is encapsulated in His invitation, “Come!”
Nathanael must have been rather surprised when he found that the Lord already knew all about him! Often we find ourselves reading through Scriptures but missing things that are significant. The comment Jesus made to Nathanael is one of these. Jesus called him “an Israelite in whom was no deceit.” This was actually a subtle reference to his Jewish ancestor, Jacob—a man who in fact used deceit to deceive his brother, his father, and his father-in-law. Jacob’s name was changed by God Himself later to “Israel, a prince with God.” The reference we find in John 1:51 confirms this.
And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)
Jesus’ revelation to Nathanael of what He knew about him was enough to convince him Jesus was more than a mere man, or even prophet for that matter. He was convinced He was indeed the Son of God, the King of Israel. Nathanael’s experience with Jesus was much like the experience of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well when she happened to run into Jesus.
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” And at this point tHis disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman , yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men. “Come, and see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:25-29)
The revealing of the human heart should always be a part of what happens in the ministry of a normal church. In his teaching the Corinthian church about the Gifts of the Spirit, the Apostle referred to that very thing.
Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. (1 Corinthians 14:22-25)
It was Philip who witnessed to Nathanael and the evidence he used was Moses and the prophets when in John 1:45 he said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” We don’t have any way of knowing but, did Jesus maybe spend some time with Philip and give him a quick course in the Old testament Messianic prophecies as He did with the disciples on the way to Emmaus three years later? It is always worthwhile to share of the revelation we have received from our fellowship with the Master and His Word.
“King of Israel” would be a title similar to “Messiah, the Anointed One,” for as we discussed earlier, kings were always God’s anointed. Even though kings were set aside and “anointed” for the task, earthly kings don’t necessarily live out the anointing as God would have them do. This however, is not the case with Jesus. Let’s take a look at a psalm that speaks to the uniqueness of this King, King Jesus:
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision, then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure; Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree, the LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” (Psalm 2:2-7)
This is a very unusual psalm. The total of twelve verses contain a conversation between the three members of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit begins the conversation, with the Father and the Son of God speaking at other times. One thing that pertains to our subject today is the challenge made by earthly kings against the God, the Father, and His Anointed, which the
Father clearly says is His Anointed King on His holy hill of Zion. That is today’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem. These are the words of the Almighty Himself, not just a mere mortal!
At one point in Jesus’ ministry, the crowds wanted to make Jesus King, but He didn’t allow it. We find the Apostle John referencing this in John chapter 6, verse 15:
Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
Jesus did however present Himself as a king and when He was put on the spot with Pilate, He affirmed that He was born a king, but said His kingdom was not of this world.
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Pilate answered, “AM I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me, What have You done?” Jesus answered: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:33-37)
G. JESUS, THE SON OF MAN (John 1:50-51)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly,m I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:50-51)
“Son of Man” was one of our Lord’s favorite titles for Himself. This title was used 83 times in the Gospels and at least 13 times in John’s Gospel.The title refers to both the deity and humanity of Jesus although, we especially find it a strong reference to His coming to the human race in the form of a flesh and blood man. Daniel’s vision in the Book of Daniel makes reference to his manhood as He approaches the Ancient of Days—God the Father. In the Book of Revelation we find a description of the risen Lord and His description is a mirror image of the ancient of Days in Daniel’s prophecy. Both of these Scriptures are in print below:
I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His garment was white as snow. And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated and the books were opened…I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days. And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom. That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and “What you see write in a book and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatire, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. The I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Revelation 1:10-18)
Reading these two passages gives one some needed understanding to what Jesus had to say to the blind and jealous Sanhedrin in Matthew 26:64.
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
As Son of Man, Jesus is the link between Heaven and Earth. This helps us to understand His reference to Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28. Jacob the fugitive thought he was all alone, but God was there and He had commissioned His angels to guard and guide him—as He does His followers today! Jesus Christ is God’s “ladder” between heaven and earth. This is why Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father, but by Me” in John 14:6. Jesus often reminded people that He came down from Heaven. The Jewish people knew that “Son of Man” was a name for their Messiah. The beloved Apostle John commented on this in John 12:34:
The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever, and how can You say, “The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
At the end of the fourth day, Jesus had six believing men who were now His disciples. They didn’t immediately forsake all to follow Him but they all did later. They had however already trusted Him and experienced His power. In the coming 3 ½ years they would learn much, experience much, and grow in their faith. One day soon they would take His place on this planet and take the Word to all of mankind all around the world.
Jesus of Nazareth is GOD come in the flesh. When Philip called Him “the son of Joseph,” he was not denying Jesus’ virgin birth or His divine nature. He was only identifying Him legally, because a Jewish person was known by who his father was. The Jews had great difficulty with His true identity. John described it in the sixth chapter of his Gospel:
The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, “I have come down from Heaven?” (John 6: 41-41)
The storyline of the entire first chapter of John is very clear: Jesus of Nazareth is GOD come in the flesh! GOD IS HERE!