John 1:19-51 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus, the Lamb of God
Comments for Study 2

John 1:19-51
Key verse: 1:29


I. The Voice in the Desert (19-28)

Jesus' Early Travels

>1. Why did the priests and Levities come to John?

* "'Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levities to ask him who he was.'" (John 1:19)

* To ask him who he was.

* It took at two days to get from Jerusalem to where John was near Bethany on the Jordan River. (Matt. 3:4; Mk. 1:5; Lk. 3:3) Think of their journey. What did they do on the way? About John and what he was doing and saying and all the people who were coming to him.

* This was the height of John's ministry.

* They were not interested in Christ but John. They did not receive his message of the Christ.

* They had no learning mind. They came to just be a judge.

>Who sent them?

* "Jews of Jerusalem" -This refers to the religious leaders namely the high priests who were Levis, the Pharisees who were teachers, and Sadducees who served in the temple. The location from where they came (Jerusalem) was needed to state to distinguish them from the Jews of Qumran. Qumran was a days walk from John's location. Qumran was the location of the temple treasury and the Essenes and/or the asylum for supporters of the traditional priestly family of the Zadokites (Zadok was David and Solomon's high priest) against the Hasmonean priests assigned by Herod and Rome to serve in the temple in Jerusalem.

* "Are you Elijah" -they knew Malachi 3:1, 4:5-6.

* "'Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws gave him at Horeb for all Israel. See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.'" -Malachi 4:4-6

* "When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?' 'Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,' Elisha replied...The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, 'The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.'" -2 Kings 2:9, 15a

* "Elijah" -John was not Elijah physically. However, his ministry was very similar to Elijah's ministry. Jesus said of John, "'And if you are willing to accept it, he (John) is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.'" (Matt. 11:14-15, 17:11-13)

* John's parents were told by an angle before he was born. "'And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'" (Luke 1:17)

* "Are you the Prophet?" -In Deut. 18:6-8, 18-19 Moses prophesied, "...I will raise up a prophet..." This refers to the Christ, but they did not know that John was not the Christ.

* "He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, 'I am not the Christ.' < Or Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah" (Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One."> -John 1:20

* John's answer to the questioners became shorter and shorter: "I am not the Christ," "I am not," "No," (20,21) Through this, what do you learn about John?
    1. John did not want to talk about himself. He did not want to exalt himself. Instead he humbled himself. This took self denial. John said, "'He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.'" (John 3:30)
    2. John overcame the temptation of receiving recognition from men and live a comfortable life.
    3. John kept his mission of revealing the Christ.
    4. John made use of every opportunity to reveal Christ.

>2. What do the words of Isaiah 40:3 tell us about John and his mission?

* "'A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the Lord <Or A voice of one calling in the desert: / "Prepare the way for the Lord>; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. <Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God>'" -Isaiah 40:3

* John's life key verse.

* John mission field was to be in the desert.

* John's mission was to prepare the way for the Lord, Israelis' God.

* Prophesied about God and Christ. Commissioned by God.

* "A voice" -this is an abstract meaning, declare the message; be an instrument. No self identity. Delivered a message then disappeared. A voice once spoken slowly fades until it can no longer be heard.

* "a highway" -level out

* "in the wilderness" -of man's empty heart

* John had a one-tracked-mind.

* John didn't want to think or talk about himself only Christ, his mission, and purpose.

* John lived for Christ. He was great in the eyes of God. (Matt. 11:11)

* John knew his position.

>3. What other question did they ask John? (24,25)

* "Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, 'Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?'" (24,25)

* First priest and Levities, now Pharisees. This is a different group.

>How did he answer? (26,27)

* "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." (John 1:26-27)

* "I baptize you with water" -when questioned about himself, John replied to them what they already knew about him. He did this only to magnify Christ.

* "you do not know" -they did not know Christ nor recognize him.

>According to verse 31, why did John baptize with water?

* "I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." -John 1:31

* "I myself did not know him" -even great men of God need introduced to Jesus.

* "that he might be revealed" -Baptism was for Gentiles who accepted the God of Israel not for Jews. Jews did have ceremonial water cleansing rituals though. Both represented cleansing of sins. John baptized all, Jews and Gentiles, who came to him because they did not know Christ and therefore were not of the true Israel in God's eyes.

* John used baptism as a sign of repentance. Repentance is a preparation for the true baptism of the Holy Spirit. (33)

* To John people's opinion about him didn't matter. He continually focused on Jesus.

>How did this reveal Jesus? (reveal=introduce)

* It was sign of what Jesus would do with the Spirit. (33)

* Again John didn't talk about what they asked, but about Jesus.

* It is good when fishing and witnessing to control the conversation and to reveal Christ as John did.

* John's powerful witness was the result of good Bible study in the desert and the Holy Spirit's revelation to him when he prayed.

>What can we learn from this answer? (26-27)

* ""I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." -John 1:26-27

* "Do not know..." -they did not know who Jesus, the Christ was. This was challenging to their pride and intelligence (learning).

* We do not know who Jesus is unless God and/or God's servant points him out.

* "I am not worthy" -John knew his place (27) even though God used him greatly.

* "to untie" -this is a servants job. So John is saying Christ is his great master and he is the lowest of servants. This is how to be great in God's eyes.

* John is a model of a servant of Christ.

II. Look, the Lamb of God! (29-34)

>4. The nest day when Jesus came, what did John say about him?

* "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! -John 1:29

* "The next day" -John's ministry was not just one day of the week.

* "!" -John was happy to see Jesus.

* In the world's point of view John's life was miserable, but somehow he was happy. How? John 10:10 says, "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."

* The Holy Spirit revealed to John who Jesus was, through the word. He learned that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Most Jews did not know that the Messiah, the Christ, would be a sacrifice for they did not know the word correctly. Most were like the Essenes who only saw the Messiah as a conquering king.

>What did he mean by "the Lamb of God"? (cf. Ex. 12:11-13; Ex. 29:38)

* "This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD'S Passover. "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. -Exodus 12:11-13

* "This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. -Exodus 29:38

* "But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! -Romans 5:15

* "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. -Romans 5:17-18

* In Jesus' day the Israelites offered the Passover lamb each year at the temple in Jerusalem per the Law (aka Torah). Originally, when the Israelites were lead out of Egypt, the Lord, through Moses, told the Israelites to prepare a lamb (see above) and eat it quickly for that night they were going to be delivered from slavery in Egypt. The Lord's instructions was very precise because it foreshadowed Jesus' death for our sins.

* Historical representation:
    Pharaoh = sin
    first born sacrificed = Jesus first born killed
    blood of lamb on door post = blood on our hearts

* Israel had to offer each year because it was only temporary, a shadow of things to come. However Christ died once for all, completely. Through the Old Testament we can learn more of Christ.

>How does the Pascal lamb in the Old Testament point to Jesus, the Lamb of God? (1 Co. 5:7; Heb. 9:24-26)

* "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." -1 Corinthians 5:7

* "For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." -Hebrews 9:24-26

* Christ is our Pascal lamb. (1 Cor. 5:7)

* Christ offered himself so we can serve God. (Heb. 9:14)

* Ex. 12:11-13, Isa. 53:3-7.

>How does he take away the sins of the world? (Isa. 53:3-7; Heb. 9:14)

* "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. -Isaiah 53:3-7

* "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! -Hebrews 9:14

* "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." -1 Peter 2:24

* This took place in the realm of heaven. The Old Testament helps us understand it. It is like an allegory of what happened spiritually.

* The Old Testament was the means to the end, Christ.

>5. What else did John say about who Jesus is? (30)

* "This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' -John 1:30

* "When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" -John 1:36

>How did John recognize him and become the first witness? (32-33)

* "Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' -John 1:32-33

* John did not know till Jesus was baptized.

* It was not made up nor imaginary but from God.

* "The one" -God or probably and angle.

* It came with praying and Bible study. (9)

III. We Have Found the Messiah (35-51)

Jesus' Early Travels

>6. Who were the first believers?

* "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus." -John 1:35-37

* This was probably shortly after Jesus' baptism.

* Andrew (John 1:37, 40)

* The other was probably John (John 13:23,24; 21:10)

* They followed by John the Baptist's testimony of Jesus. (35-37) This is an example of how being fishers of men like John is important. We are to point people (fish) to Jesus.

* They were John's disciples up until this time.

* John pushed them to follow Jesus. He pushed twice. We too must lead people to Christ.

>What did they ask when they first met Jesus?

* "Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" -John 1:38

* Different than the priest and the Levities who came with a critical mind. The Levities and priests asked questions like they had authority. But the disciples had a learning mind, where truth seekers, wanted to follow Jesus and were ready to make a commitment (actually they already had).

* "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. -Philippians 3:8-11

>7. What is the significance of Jesus' question, 'What do you want?" and of Jesus' invitation, "Come and you will see"?

* "What do you want?" -Jesus knew what they wanted but he wanted them to know what they wanted. He wanted them to be clear and to clarify their motives. He wanted them to proclaim it with a confession of faith and purpose. Jesus asked the best question. Our heart must be clear when Jesus sends us out. (Matt. 8:18-22)

* "Come and you will see" -they will come to know Jesus.

* Jesus had no permanent residence. He was mostly on the move. James and John were probably relatives of Jesus and yet did not know where he stayed at this time for Jesus had left his family to start his ministry.

* Our purpose is to learn of and from Jesus.

>What does this short conversation teach us about what it means to believe in Jesus?

* Another's testimony to us about Jesus is good. But we have to come and see ourselves.

* "Come" -we have to personally get involved, experience, meet, learn from Jesus, take time, make a conclusion, etc.

* "See" -eye witness, experience

* It meant to have a common life with Jesus, in Jesus. This is important for growth.

>8. When they went with Jesus and spent time with him, what did they come to believe about him?

* ""Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). -John 1:39-41

* 39b - "tenth hour" = 4:00pm. Jewish day goes from sunrise to sunset. Their time with Jesus was short. It did not take long from them to accept Jesus as the Messiah. They were not the only ones who quickly believed in him. The Samaritan women time to conversion when was also short.

* This tells us it is not a matter of time but attitude and heart when we come to Jesus. Of course in the disciples case John the Baptist had prepared their hearts. So once they meet and learned from Jesus it didn't take long.

>What did Andrew do?

* "The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, 'We have found the Messiah' (that is the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." -John 1:41-42a

* Andrew
    1) told of Jesus (41)
    2) brought them to Jesus (42)

* "The first thing" -no time wasted.

* This was a natural thing to do. (Note: Peter didn't go to John.) (Note: Peter didn't make a confession here. It was only after the fishing event that Peter made a confession of faith.)

* Andrew's witness about Jesus to Simon was simple and powerful.

>What can we learn from him?

* It is important to tell others of Jesus.

* When we come to know Jesus we get really excited and want to share our faith.

* We come to know Jesus more and more with continually Bible study.

* "We have found the Messiah" -be clear in our witness.

* Start telling about Jesus with our family and friends.

>What was the new name Jesus gave Simon?

* "Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter)." -John 1:42b

* Jesus knows all men's hearts even before we meet him.

* "Peter" means sand or small pebble. "Cephas" means rock. Ephesians 2:19b-20 states, "You are... members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."


* Simon son of John was a man of emotion; quick to act slow to think; he was not stable nor solid like sand. Jesus knew he could and would change to be as Paul later said, "a pillar in the church in Jerusalem."

* Jesus saw how Peter could be. He had the hope and vision of God for Peter.

* This changing of Peter's name in significant all throughout the gospel of John.

>9. How did Philip and Nathanael become believers?

* "The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethesda. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "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." -John 1:43-45

* Philip's witness to Nathanael is interesting. He never clearly said Jesus was the Christ. He had many elegant words which didn't work to well. But when he was simple and imitated Jesus' words (46b) Nathanael came.

* "from the town of Bethesda" -Bethesda was around 60 miles due north of where John the Baptist and Jesus was at the time (north of The Dead Sea). The trip was several days by foot, following the Jordan river. The city was on the north side of The Sea of Galilee.

* Since Philip, Andrew, Peter, James and John were all from the same area and the trip was so long, it can be assumed that they journeyed together to listen to John. The trip must have been similar to what we call a spiritual retreat. John's ministry had become so famous that not only had people in Jerusalem heard of him and come, but even people from Jewish cities at the far end of Israel.

* "The next day" -This phrase is repeated in this chapter. The events in this chapter were consecutive within a matter of a few days, most likely right after Jesus' temptation.

* "Jesus decided to leave for Galilee" -Jesus and all of these disciples were from Galilee, about 60 miles due north. Jesus could have started his ministry up there, but did not because he wanted John to point him out to his soon to be disciples. Later, Jesus would point out to the Pharisees and teachers of the Law that John was his witness, but they did not believe John and if they had, they would have followed him like his disciples followed him when John pointed him out. Also, not all of John's disciples followed Jesus as can be seen when John was in prison. While in prison, John sent his disciples to Jesus.

>What was similar in their experience to that of Andrew and his friend and Simon?

* John, Simon and Nathanael came because others told them about Jesus.

>What important lessons do we learn from these first believers?

* That people we bring to Jesus can be made into great men and women of God. Anyone can be made great through Jesus.

* John 15:16a says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bearing fruit - fruit that will last..."

* Witness to anybody we know or even don't know.

* Overcome obstacles to believe in Jesus like Nathanael did.

* To come to Jesus simply, as little children, and accept him as the Messiah, the Son of God.

* 1 to 1 Bible study is important and powerful.

* Have a clear view of Jesus.

* Speak up for truth.

* This chapter is a good example of the parable of the mustard seed. (Lk. 13:18-21)

>10. Why was Nathanael doubtful? (46)

* ""Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip." -John 1:46

* Historically in the Bible Nazareth in not mentioned.

* It was a town full of rebels and outlaws and gentiles.

* Jesus was not hurt when Nathanael said bad things about his hometown.

* Even good people can come from bad towns. It doesn't matter what environment or human background we are in if we are God's people. We can overcome the environment by faith in God.

* Nathanael is known by church history to be Bartholomew.

>What moved him to confess faith in Jesus?

* "When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." -John 1:47-48

* Proverbs 1:7 says, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

* His words could be a bad statement or shows a bad attitude but it is probably a good one for Jesus said, "...a true Israelite..."

* Job 28:28 says, "And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord that is wisdom and to shun evil in understanding.'"

* Fear and amazement was his motivation.

* Jesus helped Nathanael overcome him doubts.

* Jesus knew what he needed.

>What did Jesus say to Nathanael? (51)

* "Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." -John 1:49-51

>What does this mean?

* Nathanael was a meditative man. But he was spiritually blind. Perhaps because he responded so quickly with little evidence and little spiritual insight Jesus was saying he would see more clearly the spiritual truth of who Jesus is. Nathanael would then mature and deepen in conviction.

* God reveals many things to those who believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah.

* Experience Jesus teaches us who he is.

* Jesus confronted with each disciple differently. Disciple making isn't mass production.

>11. The early disciples made a confession of faith (41,45,49) when they first met Jesus. Presently, who is Jesus to you personally?

* My friend, Lord, Savior, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, everlasting life, the truth, way and life.