Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth?
JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 3
January 29, 2007 Dr.
*READ – John 1: (40, 41,42a) 42b-51*
When *Jesus . . .
looked at *Simon (v.47),
He knew the man’s character and destiny.
- Jesus gave him the Aramaic name *Cephas.
- *Peter *is the Greek translation of Cephas (“rock”).
- Simon’s name in Hebrew was probably Simeon
- No reason is given here for the change of his name from Simon to Cephas.
- The common understanding is that his name indicates what God by His grace would do through him.
- He would be a rock-like man in the church during its early years (cf.
16:18; Luke 22:31-32; John 21:15-19; Acts 2-5; 10-12).
Though the first disciples were from Galilee, *Jesus *had called them in Judea where they were with John the Baptist.
- On His way north to *Galilee, Jesus *called *Philip *to be His disciple.
- Philip’s hometown *of Bethsaida *was on the northeast side of the Sea of Galilee and was also where *Andrew and Peter *were born.
- Politically speaking, Bethsaida was not much
Philip’s testimony to *Nathanael *stressed that Jesus is *the *Promised *One *of whom *Moses *and *the prophets wrote.
- Philip called *Jesus . . . the son of Joseph *which is what the disciples would have believed at this time.
- Yet Nathanael would soon recognize that He is “the Son of God” (John 1:49).
*Nathanael *momentarily stumbled over the lowly origin of the Messiah.
- *Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?
- Nathanael knew of the poor reputation of Nazareth.
- Surely the Messiah would come from Jerusalem, Hebron, or some other prominent city.
- *Philip *was wise enough not to argue, he gently invited his friend to meet Jesus: *Come and see.
- He knew that Nathanael’s questions would then be resolved.
*Jesus, *having supernatural knowledge (v.
42), called *Nathanael . . .
a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false or *(/dolos, /“deceitful”) unlike Jacob (v.
51 with Gen. 28:12).
*Nathanael *was puzzled as to *how *Jesus knew about him.
- *Jesus *said He knew exactly what Nathanael was doing *before Philip *came up to him;
- he was *under the fig tree.
- This expression often meant to have safety and leisure
- Perhaps here the fig tree was a place for meditation
- Psalm 139 elaborates on the theme of God’s knowledge of a person’s life in every detail.
Jesus’ supernatural knowledge moved *Nathanael *to confess Him as *the Son of God *and *the King of Israel.
- He understood that this future Davidic King would have God’s Spirit on Him (Isa.
11:1-2) and thus would have supernatural knowledge.
*Jesus *promised Nathanael a *greater *basis for belief, probably referring to the miracles to come in chapters 2-13.
- It can be inferred that Nathanael was meditating on Jacob’s life, particularly on the incident recorded in Genesis 28:12.
Jacob saw the angels going up and down a ladder.
- But Nathanael would *see . . . the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
- Just as Jacob saw angels from heaven communicating with earth, so Nathanael (and the others) would see Jesus as the divine Communication from heaven to earth.
- The Son of Man, replacing the ladder, as God’s link with earth
- Jesus used the term *“Son of Man” *of Himself more than 80 times.
o It speaks of His humanity and suffering and His work as “the ideal Man.”
- *I assure you –or- I tell you the truth *
o (“Verily, verily,” kjv) occurs 25 times in John and always calls attention to important affirmations
o When Jesus says, “Verily, Verily,” then you better take notice.
Jesus knows who we are – 1:47*
Philip went to Nathanael
- We are not made aware of why he goes to Nathanael.
- Probably, they were very good friends.
- Philip is very convinced that Jesus is the Messiah!
- “This is the guy!”
- “He fulfills all the prophecies.”
- “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Nathanael possibly was getting a little excited about all this, until Philip tacked on that last piece of information.
- “Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?”
- Nathanael was from Cana, just a few miles away.
- As far as he was concerned, coming from Nazareth was like coming from the wrong side of the tracks.
- Kind of a cross-town rivalry.
- Nazareth was a dusty, little village, hardly worth the acknowledgement.
But there was something more to Nathanael’s skepticism
- Apparently Nathanael was knowledgeable about spiritual matters and Scripture and knows there is no prophecy about the Messiah and Nazareth.
- So he is possibly concerned that this is not the right guy and that Philip may be just a little over anxious.
But as we see in this passage, Nathanael was about to learn that God often surprises us by providing the answers to our life’s questions in the most unusual ways and places.
- He was about to meet a guy that would later say in Matt 10:30 that He even “/knows the number of hairs on your head.”/
\\ Jesus described Nathanael’s heart and character:
- nothing false about this guy
- not a deceiver
- not one to play the politics game in spiritual matters
- didn’t have to guess where you stood with him
- He was straightforward.
- Nathanael was a true son of Israel
- a very high compliment
- Romans 9:6 refers to fact that just because you come from a nation of God’s people, does not automatically make you one of God’s children
- Like America still claims to be a Christian nation… do you think everybody in Memphis, Tennessee today is a Christian?
You Christian relationship with God is not established by your citizenship in a nation
- It is not established by your birth parents
- It is not established by who you marry
- It is not even established by what church you join
- It is only established by you accepting the free gift of eternal life that God offers lovingly to you.
Jesus knows who you are today.
- He is not shocked by who you think you are
- Nor is He impressed with who you think you are
- He knows you at church
- He knows you at home
- He knows you in the light
- He knows you in the dark
- He knows you when you are happy
- He knows you when you are down
- He knows you with you live in victory for Him
- He knows you with you pretend you don’t even know Him