John 1:43-51 TWO MORE DISCIPLES FOR JESUS
In our previous text we studied about the very first
disciples of Jesus. Our text today follows up on that theme and
speaks about two more disciples being added to that small group.
Philip and Nathanael will be added to the group.
I. The time element
I want to back up and pick up the time element. Verse 19
of a day in which the Jewish Sanhedrin in
delegation of priests and Levites to John the Baptist to question
him. They wanted to find out if he claimed to be the Christ.
Verse 29 tells that on the next day John the Baptist
identified Jesus as the Christ. He had been preaching that the
Christ would soon come on the scene, but he had not told the
people who the Christ is. On this day John informed the crowd
that Jesus is the Christ.
Verse 35 tells that on the next day John the Baptist talks
personally with two of his disciples and informs them that Jesus
is the Christ. Those two disciples of John immediately became
disciples of Jesus. They followed after Him and spent the day
talking with Jesus and listening to every word that He had to
One of the two disciples of John was Andrew, Simon Peter's
brother. The writer of the book does not tell us who the other
disciples is. We have reason to believe that he is the Apostle
John. That is, he is John, the fisherman who is the brother of
James and who later became an apostle. Both of these men ---
both Andrew and John --- had been disciples of John the Baptist
and, if this is John, both have now become disciples of Jesus.
On the same day that Andrew and John learned for sure that
Jesus is the Christ and became disciples of Jesus, Andrew brought
Simon Peter to Jesus and he also became a disciple of Jesus.
Simon Peter had also first been a disciple of John the Baptist
and he, too, became a disciple of Jesus.
This makes a total of three men who became disciples of Jesus
on that day. There was Andrew and his brother, Simon Peter plus
the un-named disciples who was probably John, the writer of this
book. Someone has suggested that John also brought his brother,
James, to Jesus on that same day even though it is not mentioned
in the text. In view of John's reluctance to mention his own
name due to modesty, it is easy to believe that he would also be
reluctant to mention him bringing James to Jesus. If he had said
that the un-named disciple brought his brother, James, to Jesus,
that would have been the equivalent of telling everybody who the
un-named disciple is. So this makes at least three new disciples
of Jesus on this day and possibly four.
All four of these men had been disciples of John the Baptist.
All four of them had professed to repent of their sins and to
believe in the coming Christ which John preached and had been
baptized by him. They had repented and believed in the Christ
before they learned that Jesus is the Christ. Now that they knew
that Jesus is the Christ, they became disciples of Jesus. At
least three of them became disciples of Jesus on that day and
possibly all four did. If not on that day, all four eventually
did and all four of them would later become apostles.
II. Philip called upon to follow Jesus
Verses 43, which begins our text, follows up with the very
next day. V. 43, "The day following Jesus would go forth into
John the Baptist was and return back to Galilee, from which He
had come. He had made this trip to
baptizing in order to be baptized by John the Baptist. It was in
that baptismal service that God revealed to John the Baptist that
Jesus is the Christ. It was possibly on the day of Jesus'
baptism, or perhaps the next day, that John revealed to the
people that Jesus is the Christ. That revelation set off a chain
reaction that led to the three, or perhaps four, disciples of
John becoming the first disciples of Jesus. However, now Jesus
to return to
(V. 43), "...and findeth Philip..." Before returning to
the Baptist. Under John's preaching he had professed to repent
of his sins, he professed to believe in the Christ which John
preached and he had been baptized by John. He, likewise, would
also later be chosen as an apostle.
(V. 43), "...and saith unto him, Follow me." Jesus calls
upon Philip to travel with Him
Jesus did more than ask Philip to travel with Him back to
writer of the book does not tell us how Philip learned that Jesus
is the Christ. He may have heard John the Baptist announce it.
He may have been told by Andrew, Peter or John. Or, perhaps,
Jesus, Himself, may have told him. But now he Knows and now he
is invited to become one of the small group of disciples of
V. 44, "Now Philip was of
Peter." Bethsaida was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee
were born and reared and Philip was, no doubt, well acquainted
with them and with John and James also.
Upon being invited to become a disciple of Jesus, Philip very
accepted and journeyed with Jesus back to
Apparently they did not go directly to
III. Philip witnessing to Nathanael
V. 45, "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have
found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write,
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael is another
disciple of John the Baptist. He is listed in the group of
twelve apostles by the name of Bartholomew.
they arrived at
searched for his friend, Nathanael, and immediately informed
Nathanael that they had found the Christ. Nathanael was, no
doubt, overjoyed at that news. He had heard about the Christ all
of his life. He had placed his faith in the Christ under the
ministry of John the Baptist. He had placed his faith in the
Christ without even knowing who the Christ is. It must have been
a joy to him to learn that the Christ has now come on the scene
and that his friends had information who the Christ is.
Philip informed Nathanael that Jesus of
Christ. It was at this point that Nathanael became skeptical.
He could easily believe that the Christ was on the scene, but it
was very difficult for him to
believe that Jesus of
V. 46, "And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing
come out of
against Jesus. Rather, he was skeptical because he just did not
believe that anything or any good person could come out of
reputation. It was really bad. For Nathanael to hear someone
say that the Christ was from
that the Christ is from
or Las Angeles or from the gay
and lesbian area of
Nathanael was just not buying that bit of good news --- at least
(V. 46), "...Philip saith unto him, Come and see." Philip
said, in effect, "Don't take my word for it. Come and see for
yourself." That is the same answer that Jesus had given to the
two disciples who inquired where He lived. That was somewhat the
same answer that Andrew had given the Apostle Peter. It is the
kind of answer that we can use to good advantage when someone
expresses doubt that Jesus is the Christ. Let the doubter come
and make a fair examination of the facts for himself. Let him
come to Jesus and find out from Jesus if He is the Christ, the
Son of God, the Savior of the world. If one will come to Jesus
and make an honest inquiry of Jesus, Himself, he will soon be
convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is indeed the Son of
the Living God. But, of course, if one is not willing to be
convinced, there is no way in the world that we convince him that
Jesus is for real.
What I want you to notice is that Nathanael did go and see.
He took Philip up on his suggestion. He immediately went with
Philip to Jesus. He would go and see for himself if Jesus is the
V. 47, "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him,
Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Jesus did not
wait for Nathanael to make an inquiry of Him. Jesus took the
initiative and made a startling statement to Nathanael. Jesus
said that Nathanael was one Israelite in whom there is no guile.
Now Jesus was not saying that Nathanael had no sin. He was
saying that he had no guile. There was no deceit, no fraud, no
hypocrisy in him. Whatever he did or said was honest and
aboveboard. This was quite a complement. This is not the kind
of statement that could be said about a man until his inward
nature has been changed in the new birth. It could not have been
made about Nathanael until he had experienced such a change.
When he repented of his sin and placed his faith in the coming
Christ under the preaching of John the Baptist he had been born
again. His inward nature was changed. He was now, indeed, a man
in whom there was no guile.
IV. Nathanael's acceptance of Jesus as the Christ
But the thing that startled Nathanael was the fact that this
man, Jesus, would make such a bold statement about him when, so
far as Nathanael knew, Jesus knew nothing about him. That, of
course, was where he was wrong. Jesus knew everything about him.
Jesus knows everything about everybody.
V. 48, "Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me?
Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee,
when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Before Philip
found him Nathanael had been sitting under a fig tree. He may
have been sitting there resting from his labors. He may have
been sitting there alone praying and meditating. But Nathanael
knew that Jesus was nowhere around at the time he was sitting
under the fig tree. There was no way that Jesus could have seen
him there by natural means. He could have seen him only by
supernatural means. It was now apparent to Nathanael that Jesus
is the Christ.
V. 49, "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou
art the Son of God; thou art
the King of
believed. It seems to me that he is just as much startled to
find that Jesus really is the Christ as he was at the statement
that Jesus made about him being a man of no guile. Nathanael now
fully believed that Jesus is the Christ. He joyfully believed
that Jesus is the Christ.
V. The promise of wondrous things ahead
V. 50-51, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said
unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou
shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven
open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son
Let me say that there a lot of wonderful things in these
verses that I do not want to take the time to get into in detail.
Let me sum up these two verses merely by saying that every person
who puts his faith in Jesus as the Christ and trusts Jesus to
save him and cleanse him from his sin has a lot of wonderful
things ahead. Jesus said that Nathanael would see heaven open.
I say to you that everyone who trusts in Jesus will see heaven
open. Not only that, but he will enter into heaven. He will
enter in and see heaven in all of its beauty. He will see the
of God. He will see the
the wondrous things that heaven holds. He will see it first
hand. He will be there to see it in person.
What is equally important, he will not be in hell to see that
place first hand. He will not have go into the fires of hell and
experience the horrors of hell.
In closing I want to point out a couple of things to you from
this text. First of all I would have you to know that Jesus of
Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of men. He
was born in human flesh. He lived in human flesh without sin.
He died upon the cross in order to suffer the consequences of our
sin. He arose from the grave. He sits right now at the right
hand of God the Father in heaven. Jesus is waiting for somebody
to call on Him and trust in Him for salvation.
Secondly, I would have you to know that if you will trust in
Jesus Christ as your Savior, Jesus will save your soul. Jesus
the Savior will save you and HE will keep you out of hell. He
will take you to heaven.
There may be somebody here this morning who is ready to come
to Him and place his faith in Him. There may be somebody who is
ready to repent of his sins and have all your sins washed away.
That somebody may be you. If so, come now. There may be someone
who is already saved and you are ready to step out and really be
a follower of Jesus. I am asking that you come while we have
this invitation hymn.