St. John's Gospel (03) - Come and See
The Word Manifest in St. John’s Gospel (03) - Come and See
John 1:35–51 - Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. . .The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.” . . . Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and *said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 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.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.““
John’s Disciples Receive Jesus (1:35-39). The calling of the disciples begins with a very understated incident. Two of John’s disciples believe John’s word about Jesus and begin to follow Him (literally walking behind him). Jesus then “turned and saw them following” (v38). Jesus asks an open ended question, “What do you seek”? The response is coded, “Where are you staying”? They certainly wanted to ask more, just imagine . . . But the question is classic Johanine code. “Stay” is meno or “abide” (E.g, 15:7). Where does Jesus abide? Now that’s a good question. Jesus bids them to see for themselves, “Come and see.”
Peter Receives Jesus (1:40-42). John’s Gospel shows Peter’s call, linking through Andrew and back to the Baptizer. The Gospel never mentions it, but John himself and Andrew, are the first to receive the Baptizer’s testimony and to “see” where Jesus “abides.”Now Andrew testifies to Simon (Peter). “We have found the Messiah.” Actually, Jesus finds them. So now the disciples are now leading others to “see” Jesus. As a result, Simon (Peter) comes to Jesus, just as did John and Andrew. Jesus “looks” (emblepo) “into him”(Lk. 22:61) and then names him, “Peter” (rock).
Nathanael Receives Jesus (1:43-51). This passage ends with Nathanael’s (Bartholomew) receiving Jesus. In any case Nathanael expresses doubt at first, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” A key here is that “under the fig tree” is likely referring to a place of rabbinic study. Nathanael was studying about Jacob (in whom there was guile) prior to this encounter. Jesus references Jacob in his words about Nathanael, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael knows that Jesus truly “sees” him. Jesus could look and speak into Peter and “see” into Nathanael's life and heart. This least of miracles drew faith Nathanael, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Has the least of evidence drawn faith from you?
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more