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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
John 1

Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of JohnHarvey's Notes on John

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Verse 1

John 1:1

To begin his gospel, John took us back to THE beginning (Genesis 1:1), and in so doing pointed out that the entire Jewish narrative has been all about Jesus. The Old Testament testifies that Jesus was and is and is to come (Psalms 90:2, Isaiah 44:24). This same testimony, and this same Jesus, remains the point of everything even now (Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 1:8, Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:4, Revelation 4:8, Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:13).

Jesus never wrote anything, but one could fill entire libraries with the books written about Him and inspired by His life (John 20:30, John 21:25). There are no artifacts, no articles of clothing, no cup nor bowl, no sandal, no brush left behind as evidence He was here, but millions still swear to His existence. He was born into the family of a common carpenter, but He is called the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16).

His end of physical life marks our beginning of eternal life. This Jesus, whom we worship, is a paradox of the usual. The greatest irony being, He died that we might live. He came, but His coming isn’t as important as what he left behind. We have His words, and through the Word, we believe and gain salvation (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:6). On the cross, He spoke the words, “It is finished,” (John 19:30) however, it wasn’t the end of the Word. The Word is and always will be.

Before anything else, there was the Word (Proverbs 8:22-23, John 17:5). Creation of what now is owes its existence to the Word (Psalms 33:6, Colossians 1:16). “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light (emphasis added) (Genesis 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Acts 17:28, Hebrews 1:3).” So, when creation began, the Word was there with God (John 17:5). Additionally, John wrote, “the Word was God (Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:17, Philippians 2:6, 1 Timothy 3:16).”

Somehow that we don’t fully understand, the scriptures, the word of God, are Jesus in written form (1 John 5:7, Revelation 19:13). When we memorize scripture verses, we are making more room for the Lord in our hearts, and He told us to love Him with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). When we speak scripture, we speak God into our situations (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45, Romans 10:6-10, 2 Corinthians 4:13), because the Word is God (Philippians 2:6, 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 John 5:20).

Verse 2

John 1:2

See notes on John 1:1

Verse 3

John 1:3

God, The Word, participated in every part of the creation process (Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:17).

Verse 4

John 1:4

God would breathe out life, and, in so doing, created new life (Genesis 2:7). He is not only the source of physical life though, but also the source of spiritual life as well (see notes on John 20:22). So that, when we were lost and walking in darkness, He became a light to show us the way (John 8:12).

See notes on John 5:24 about spiritual life compared to physical life.

Verse 5

John 1:5

A flashlight is only good, if one recognizes its usefulness and utilizes its beam to illuminate the way out of the darkness. Likewise the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus (John 9:5), was not recognized for what He was or what good He could do in showing the way (John 1:10).

Verse 6

John 1:6

The “man sent from God” is John the Baptist. John didn’t come by his own will. He came heeding the calling on his life. John was on a mission given to Him by the Lord (John 1:15). God sends us too into our own mission fields.

Verse 7

John 1:7

How incredible, darkness so permeated the hearts of the lost, and they were so deluded, that they couldn’t perceive the light right in front of them. In order that they might believe they could be in the light rather than darkness, God sent a witness. As an honest witness does, The Baptist bore testimony to the truth. Let us then leave our delusions in the darkness and step out into the light of Jesus Christ. Let us leave the lie and believe the truth (John 8:32).


The Baptist always understood his role in the Kingdom. He was a voice crying in the wilderness (John 1:15, John 1:20, John 1:23, John 1:27, John 3:30). What is your role in the kingdom?

Verse 9

John 1:9

There were and will be many people claiming illumination from sources other than the true God. There were and will be many false messiahs, but Jesus is the true light (John 9:5). His light was for salvation out of darkness, and it was prophesied to come (Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 29:18). Jesus shows everyone in darkness the way out. He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). It is an all inclusive message of hope to “whosoever” will believe it (John 3:15-16, 1 Timothy 1:16).

From the beginning, God’s plan was to divide the light from darkness (Genesis 1:3-4, Job 12:22, Matthew 8:12). Jesus was given to us that we might be brought into the light and taken out of the darkness (Psalms 107:14, Isaiah 42:7, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 Peter 2:9). Jesus is the true light (John 14:6).

Verse 10

John 1:10

The “light” was also the “word,” (John 1:1-3, John 1:14). The created didn’t even notice that the creator was here (1 Corinthians 2:8). To have the awesome and incredible God of all glory physically in one’s presence and to miss it is the profoundest irony of all (see notes on John 1:1).

In this moment, as these notes are read, God’s presence is with the reader. Don’t miss the awe. Take some time to praise Him.

Verse 11

John 1:11

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a Jew. She was from the Israeli tribe of Judah, because

David was of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10, 1 Samuel 16:1, Isaiah 11:10, Psalms 132:11, Luke 1:32, John 7:42, Revelation 5:5), and *she was a descendant of David. So, Jesus was born a Jew (Matthew 2:2) and was raised as a Jew (Luke 4:16, Acts 13:23) and behaved as a Jew (Matthew 13:54). However, He was not accepted by the Jewish people... his own people (Isaiah 49:7, Isaiah 53:3-4, Matthew 13:57).

* Mary’s genealogy is in Luke 3:23-38. In Luke 3:23, where it said that Joseph is “the son of Heli,” it means the son-in-law. We know this is so, because in Matthew 1:16, where we find Mary’s husband Joseph’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16), Joseph’s father is clearly identified as a man named Jacob. Her genealogy’s greatest significance, because through it we see the mortal connection of Jesus to King David thereby fulfilling prophetic scripture regarding the Messiah’s linage (Luke 3:31). Knowing the ancestry of Jesus’ mother assures us that He was indeed a Jew from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).

Verse 12

John 1:12

He gives power and adoption to those that receive Him through their belief in Him. The gift of salvation is for anyone and everyone, but only a few will actually get it (Matthew 7:14). Why will there only be a few?

To be the recipient of any gift, the gift must first be received. God loved us and so He gave us His own son (John 3:16), but we must first receive Him through our belief in Him and what He did at the cross (Romans 3:22). When we receive Christ, we receive redemption from our sins and are adopted into the family of God (Romans 5:1-2, Galatians 4:4-5, 1 John 5:1).

Having full belief (see notes on John 3:15-16) means that we change from the way we were (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23-24, Colossians 2:6, Colossians 3:9-10). Since we then have received the spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15) along with the gift of salvation through our belief and faith in Him (John 3:36), we have also been given the power to succeed at being a Christian (1 Corinthians 1:18).

That is good news. That means you can do it! You can be an effective Christian.

Verse 13

John 1:13

When we receive Jesus, we are born again (John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:3). Jesus said, “Born again,” because we were born the first time in the flesh through our mothers. We are born again, since we accepted Christ, through the Spirit (1 Peter 1:23). When we are born again (spiritually), we are adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:15). We are then considered His children, but we are not of His flesh and blood, as is the case in any adoption (Isaiah 56:5, Romans 8:16, Galatians 4:5-7). Two mortal people didn’t decide to have the child, it was the will of God (Luke 22:42, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:11-14).

Before we came to Christ, we were as walking zombies (Psalms 119:25, Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:5). We were led by the will of our flesh (Romans 6:19, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:13). We did what we did to gain gratification (2 Peter 2:10). Our spirits were in a type of coma (John 6:63). The “re-birth” (being born again) is a quickening or an awakening of our slumbering spirit (Psalms 71:20, Romans 4:17, Colossians 2:13).

We were asleep in our own darkness, but Jesus comes and replaces the darkness with His light (John 5:21, John 8:12, 1 Corinthians 15:45 ), and we are now spiritually alive. We came up out of the dark tombs of our sin and were reborn into newness of life (Romans 6:4, Romans 8:11). Praise God!

Verse 14

John 1:14

What an awesome passage of scripture!

We have seen that John 1:1-13 speaks of the Word. We now see that the Word, whom was God (see notes on John 1:1) was made flesh. In other words, God, whom is a spirit without the limitations of flesh (John 4:24), was put into a mortal body of flesh and blood (John 6:56, Hebrews 2:14).

God was willing to step down out of eternal splendor and glory and cleanliness and submit Himself to the fleshly condition of fallen man. He set aside His royal garments in favor of an Earth suite fashioned in the womb of a poor young woman in the Middle East on one of His small planets. It was He that created us, but He decided to spend some time with us as one of us. Still though, He had glory. It must have been amazing to see a “man” full of grace and truth (Colossians 1:19, Colossians 2:3, Colossians 2:9).

Verse 15

John 1:15

(See notes on John 1:7)

John the Baptist saw his place in the redemption plan (John 3:30). Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29, John 1:36, Revelation 5:11-14, Revelation 7:9-12, Revelation 7:17, Revelation 12:11, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 21:14, Revelation 21:27, Revelation 22:1-3), and He was perfect for the sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19). John knew that the Lord preferred a lamb without blemish or spot (Exodus 12:5).

John said, “For he was before me.” Although the knowledge of Jesus’ ministry began after John had already been preaching, The Baptist knew that Jesus was the originator of everything (John 1:1). We too should keep things in an eternal perspective no matter how high a place we attain in this life.

Verse 16

John 1:16

Recall that John had already mentioned that Jesus was seen as having a fullness of grace and truth (John 1:14). So now this fullness was mentioned again in terms of something that can be imparted to us (1 Timothy 1:14-16). We can receive it, and we can continue receiving it.

Verse 17

John 1:17

See the notes on John 1:14 and John 1:16.

The Jewish people honored the law as the hope from God, but John pointed out that the law was ministered to us through a man, i.e., Moses. Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1). Jesus is the fulfillment of the law in bodily form (Matthew 5:17, Hebrews 7:11). The law brought with it the condemnation of sin (Romans 7:9). Jesus brought grace (John 8:11).

Verse 18

John 1:18

“Seen” is from the Greek word horao G3708, and it means, “to stare at (compare G3700), that is, (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally).” Prophets, such as Moses (Exodus 33:21-23), had seen God partially (John 5:37). Jesus was the only man, seeing that He was in the flesh, to have seen God completely and clearly and as He truly is (John 6:46, 1 John 4:12). Even so, the Son is willing to reveal the Father to us through Himself (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22, John 14:9).

Being “in the bosom” is to be in a safe nurturing place (John 13:23, Isaiah 40:11, Luke 16:23). Jesus was saying the Father nurtures the Son and keeps Him safe.

James Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Strong’s New Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible (Nelson Reference, Updated Edition, 1996), Appendix: A Concise Dictionary of the words in the Greek/New Testament with their Renderings in the King James Version

Verse 19

John 1:19

The Apostle John dedicated a portion of his gospel to the telling of John the Baptist’s story as it affected the ministry of Jesus. This initial section on the Baptist’s teaching goes through John 1:19-37.

The “Jews” referred to the Jewish leadership (see notes on John 7:20), that is, mostly the Sanhedrin, since they had the ability to give direction to the priests. It was obviously a function of the Sanhedrin council to inquire into and test the ministry of prophets and thus protect their religion from heretical teachings. The council was curious, in this case, as to how the Baptist saw himself. Did he claim to be a contemporary prophet, the historical prophetic figure Elijah (which was prophesied to come back before the Christ in Malachi 4:5), or the messiah (John 1:19-25)?

Verse 20

John 1:20

The priests started off by asking simply who he was. John cut to the heart of their question with the answer they most earnestly sought; no, he wasn’t the Christ.

Verse 21

John 1:21

John had said he wasn’t the Christ (John 1:20). They inquired further. Was he Elijah, which was prophesied to come back before the messiah (Malachi 4:5). John said no, he is not Elijah. “That Prophet” refers to the priests’ idea that perhaps some great prophet other than Elijah might also come back at the advent of the Christ (Matthew 16:14). John tells them once again, “No.”

Verse 22

John 1:22

The priests had taken some stabs at the answer themselves, but the Baptist refused to let them identify him or put words in his mouth. So, they made a plea to his good nature that he might help them by asking him to answer for himself. They attempted to play good cop - bad cop by implying that it isn’t them that actually wanted to know.

Verse 23

John 1:23

In a way of answering their question, he quoted Isaiah and essentially told them that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy found in Isaiah 40:3.

Verse 24

John 1:24

Now we see that the priests were Pharisees. Pharisees were one of the two major parties in the Jewish religious political system of that day (see notes on John 8:3). Additionally, there were minor groups that held lesser influence in the culture.

Verse 25

John 1:25

The Jewish people, according to Mosaic laws and Hebrew traditions, participated in many “washing” ceremonies (John 2:6, Hebrews 9:10). Moses baptized the people by sprinkling water and blood upon them (Hebrews 9:19). They knew that the Mosaic Law required washing for different things from menstrual cycles to cleansing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:5-7, Leviticus 15:22, Numbers 8:7). Moreover, the Israelites were very familiar with the concept of cleansing the unclean with the “water of separation.” If the unclean person was not cleansed, according to the law, that person would be “cut off” or no longer accepted among the people (Numbers 19:19-20).

David asked for purification by washing (Psalms 51:7). Isaiah spoke about washing and then changing one’s ways (Isaiah 1:16). Ezekiel spoke about baptism through the sprinkling of water (Ezekiel 36:25). Zechariah prophesied that there would be a fountain opened up to wash away sin (Zechariah 13:1).

Having been so familiar with the theology of washing for purification, the Pharisees essentially were asking John why he was baptizing Jewish people that are not cut off. By what authority does he now essentially change the Law of Moses and the traditions of the people of God?

Verse 26

John 1:26

The Pharisees had asked The Baptist “Why do you baptize?” See the notes on John 1:25. He ignored the “why” and minimized his baptisms, and thus the Jewish “diverse washings” (John 2:6), in comparison to the work and ministry of someone they didn’t yet know.

Verse 27

John 1:27

John the Baptist declared that there is one coming, and who is already here (John 1:26), that he doesn’t compare to. The person coming is above him and is to be more preferred than he. To magnify his humility before the one coming, John said that he wasn’t even “worthy” to loosen the man’s shoe. Notice that he didn’t say that he was unworthy to take the shoe off. He said instead that he wasn’t even worthy to undo the sandal’s strap.

Verse 28

John 1:28

John was not baptizing in the Jordan River but in waters near Bethabara (Joshua 18:22), which was likely a stream flowing into the Jordan (Judges 7:24). It wasn’t the Jordan as many have said, because Bethabara couldn’t be a part of the Jordan River and yet be “beyond” it (John 3:26).

How then though are Matthew 3:13 and Mark 1:9 which state that Jesus went to Jordan where John was to be baptized, reconciled with this verse that clearly said that Jesus was baptized beyond the Jordan river in a place called Bethabara? The Bible, in a couple of places, informs us that the valley around the Jordan River was called the plain of Jordan (Genesis 13:10, 1 Kings 7:46). Both Matthew and Mark chose to not give as close a detail as John, but instead gave only the general area. Matthew also referred to the Jordan area another time in Matthew 3:5.

Verse 29

John 1:29

John could have said, “Look, the Christ.” “Look, the Messiah.” Look, the redeemer.” He could have introduced Jesus as, the Savior, Emmanuel, the Son of God, or the Prince of Peace. He could’ve said many things in declaring Jesus to the world (John 1:23), but he chose to identify our Lord as “the Lamb of God.”

This declaration was a call to remembrance how God had saved His people from death by the blood of a lamb before (Exodus 12:3-13). It was a hearkening back to one of Isaiah’s prophesies regarding the Christ that was to come (Isaiah 53:7). It was a look forward to the final sacrifice, of which Peter would later write (1 Peter 1:18-19). It was declaring here on Earth what is declared in Heaven (Revelation 5:12-13).

Jesus was God’s perfect lamb (Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19). His sacrifice would save all people that were covered in His blood from spiritual death and bring the eternal spiritual life (John 3:15-17). This covering in blood would be a baptism that would wash away our sins (1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5).

See note on John 5:24 about spiritual life compared to physical life.

Verse 30

John 1:30

John identified Jesus as the one he was describing to the Pharisees (John 1:26-27).

Verse 31

John 1:31

Jesus and John were cousins, because John’s mother, Elizabeth, was Jesus’ mother’s cousin (Luke 1:36). John likely knew Jesus. What he might have meant was... he didn’t know that Jesus was the one he was called to prophesy about. It was as though when Jesus walked up that day, John received a revelation from the Lord that this man is the Lamb of God (John 1:32-33). As soon as it was made manifest to John, he made it manifest to Israel.

Verse 32

John 1:32

The Baptist received a revelation from God as a vision of a dove descending from the sky and landing on a man, and also a word from the Lord that the person the dove landed on would be the baptizer with the Holy Ghost... in other words, the Messiah (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16).

Verse 33

John 1:33

See notes on John 1:31-32.

Verse 34

John 1:34

See notes on John 1:31-33.

Verse 35

John 1:35

It would seem as though the Baptist was simply standing there “people watching,” with two of his disciples. One of the two disciples was Peter’s brother, Andrew (John 1:40). The other is not mentioned. It might have been the John whose work we are studying. Possibly, it was the Apostle John’s humility and intent on keeping his Gospel account about Jesus (John 20:30-31) that motivated him from mentioning himself as the other disciple ... if it was indeed John.

Verse 36

John 1:36

See notes on John 1:35. He wasn’t looking at the two disciples he was talking to, but his eyes were following after Jesus as the Christ walked by. Almost thinking out-loud, John said, “Look at that... the Lamb of God.”

See notes on John 1:37.

Look and see how the Son of God walked when He was among us, and keep your eyes upon Jesus. As the hymn says, “Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this Earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Taken from the hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel. Worship His Majesty Hymnal (Gaither Music Company, Inc., 1987).

Verse 37

John 1:37

John may have been merely thinking out-loud (see notes on John 1:36). What he said might have been barely audible, but the two that were standing there with him heard it. After hearing John say that Jesus was the Lamb of God the second time (the first was in John 1:29), they decided to spend some time with Him.

Verse 38

John 1:38

“Jesus turned.” Oh... to turn God, to move Him, to gain His attention. These two disciples of John the Baptist turned the Lord.

He saw them following Him, so He challenged them to consider why. Why are you following Him? What is it you want from Him? They wanted to simply know where He lived. Where does He come from? Perhaps there they can be at rest with Him in a more private setting and get to know Him better.

Verse 39

John 1:39

John wrote that they stayed with Jesus that day, but then he added it was about four in the afternoon, so they stayed with Him the rest of the day.

Notice how Jesus invited them to come with Him, and He will show them where He lived. Jesus says this to all of us even still... “Follow me, and I will take you to my Father’s house. There, where I am at rest, you can be at rest with me.”

Verse 40

John 1:40

See John 1:35-36.

Verse 41

John 1:41

Andrew must have sought out other people and told them about Jesus too, but he chose to tell his brother about his discovery first. Interestingly, he used the word “Messias” or “Messiah.” This was the first time John recorded anyone having had associated Jesus, the man, with that term. Messias is a Hebrew word that means anointed. Similarly, Christ is a Greek word, the Gospel of John is written in Greek, which means the same thing as Messiah ... anointed.

Verse 42

John 1:42

Jesus took one look at Simon, and He added to his name the word Cephas G2786 (which is Aramaic for “rock,”) (see also Mark 3:16, Luke 6:14). Notice some things; first, Jesus knew Simon’s name without being told what it was. Also note that, although a person Simon just met changed his name, there’s no record of Simon Peter (Peter is Greek for “rock”) objecting to it. Lastly, we learn Peter’s dad’s name was Jona. Later, Jesus would revert back to calling him Simon son of Jona in John 21:15.

Verse 43

John 1:43

We can presume from John 1:28, that the things that happened from John 1:19 until this verse took place in Bethabara, including Jesus taking Andrew to where He lived and meeting Peter. So, Jesus didn’t live in Galilee.

“Follow me.” Even now it is the same. Jesus calls to us in the condition that we are, and He takes us just the way we are. We have issues, bad attitudes, habits, problems and hang-ups, but still He says, “Follow me.” He doesn’t condemn us. He just calls us to Himself. As we walk with Him, we change. It doesn’t happen overnight. It took a long time to get messed up, and it’s going to take some time to be transformed into the people God ultimately wants us to be (Romans 12:2). It happens progressively... in stages (Isaiah 28:10, 2 Corinthians 3:18). After coming to Him, we still make mistakes. We are no surprise to God. He knew we would make mistakes even as Christians, and yet He still calls us out from our old dead lives.

Verse 44

John 1:44

Three of His first disciples, later each of them would become Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:14-19, Luke 6:13), all came from one city. Bethsaida was on the west side of the Sea of Galilee in the land of Gennesareth (John 12:21, Mark 6:45, Mark 6:53).

Verse 45

John 1:45

Jesus “found” Philip (John 1:43) and Philip found Nathanael. Philip introduced Jesus to his friend, Nathanael, as the awaited and anointed one Moses and the other prophets foretold would come.

Why though would John mention Nathanael when the other writers of the gospels did not? According to the four gospels, the twelve Apostles were; Simon (whom Jesus called Peter - Luke 6:14 or Simon Bar-jona - Matthew 16:17 or Cephas - John 1:42, 1 Corinthians 15:5, Galatians 2:9), James (the son of Zebedee), John (another son of Zebedee, the disciple whom Jesus loved and brother to James), Andrew (Peter’s brother - Matthew 10:2, Luke 6:14), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas (Didymus or Twin- John 11:16 and also traditionally known as Doubting Thomas), Matthew (or Levi - Luke 5:27-29, the Publican - Matthew 10:3, or Tax Collector - Matthew 9:9, and also the son of Alphaeus - Mark 2:14), James (another son of Alphaeus and brother of Matthew), Lebbaeus Thaddaeus - Mark 3:18 (Jesus’ half-brother Judas - Matthew 13:55, or Jude Judges 1:1, and the brother of James - Luke 6:16, John 14:22, Acts 1:13), Simon Zelotes - Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13 (Simon the Canaanite - Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18), and Judas Iscariot (the traitor and betrayer).

The names of the original twelve apostles that are listed above can be garnered from the verses referenced or seen in complete lists found in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, and Luke 6:12-17. The group was referred to as “The Twelve” (see notes on John 20:24). Interestingly though, John gave us the name, Nathanael, that was with The Twelve (John 21:2) and not included in the lists. Nathanael could quite possibly be another name for Bartholomew then, since John never acknowledged Bartholomew. John made no reference to Matthew either, but Matthew was seen as a publican (Luke 5:27), and Nathanael was seen as a devout and studied Jew (John 1:47). Additionally, both Nathanael and Bartholomew were associated closely with Philip (Matthew 10:3, Luke 6:14, John 1:45). Also notice how Bartholomew and Matthew are listed as separate people (Mark 3:18, Acts 1:13).

There is another possibility. Although unlikely, given Nathanael’s close inclusion with The Twelve (John 21:2), it is feasible that Nathanael might have been a disciple, but he may never had been one of the chosen twelve apostles.

After Jesus’ ascension, there would be other apostles. The eleven remaining apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas, and a disciple named Matthias was chosen (Acts 1:26). Barnabas and Paul were both considered apostles too (Acts 14:14). And, as seen above, Jesus’ brother James was not one of the original twelve Apostles, but Paul clearly identifies him as an apostle in Galatians 1:19.

Verse 46

John 1:46

Nathanael wasn’t ridiculing Nazareth as having nothing but evil people. It was an ongoing interpretation of prophetic scriptures in those days to suppose that Galilee as a whole (Nazareth being a part of Galilee) would never produce a prophet and surely not the Christ (John 7:41-42, John 7:52).

Verse 47

John 1:47

Jesus wanted us to see that in God’s eyes, blood line to Abraham without obedience to the Lord was a mockery of Abraham’s name (John 8:39).

Guile is sin, because it is the same trick the Devil used on Eve (Genesis 3:13, 2 Corinthians 11:3). Guile is the use of words to avoid telling the whole truth. It is using the power of speech to lead someone else into believing a lie without actually telling the lie. It is the purposeful omission of certain details that leaves the image of something other than the actual and complete truth.

Say I had a car, for example, that was a two-seater sports coup and looked great, but it had a continually malfunctioning circuit in the electric system. Let’s also say that after I had the circuit replaced for the sixth time, I decided to sell the car. Besides, the car made more sense when I was in college and single, but I now have a family. There is no room for my kids in a two-seater car. So, I place an ad in the local paper advertising the sale of my car. When a potential buyer came to look at the car, he asked, “Why are you selling it?” I neglect to tell him about the electric problem. After all, it is fixed. The car runs great again. I answer his question by explaining how the car is too small now that I have a wife and kids. I told the truth, but, by omitting a significant part of the truth, I used guile.

We are encouraged in the Bible not to use guile (Ephesians 4:21-25, 1 Peter 2:1-2, 1 Peter 2:21-22). For me personally though, it was a long-term problem. I would carefully craft my responses to inquiries so as to not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but still not require a lie on my part. Then, I’d pat myself on the back for my trickery. I always believed I wasn’t sinning, because I didn’t lie. At least ... I had always thought my “trickery” wasn’t lying. However, I was deceiving not only the people I used guile on, but I was deceiving myself as well. I was sinning.

Guile is, in short, a lie by omission. It is a deceptive and cunning lie that buffers any conviction by deceiving ourselves into thinking, “I really didn’t lie.”

Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 1:12 that his communication was sincere and open. He informed us that he didn’t hide his true intentions, and his motives were clearly demonstrated and easily understood. Is this how you deal with others? He adds though that he is able to do this, not because of any ability of his own, but by the grace of God. To add quality to our lives (1 Peter 3:10), we should behave in the same way. How can operating with deception add quality to anything?

If we use guile in our dealings with others, we are not operating with simple honesty and sincerity. People who use guile are not fully trustworthy. Paul was saying he was up-front and honest. He wasn’t deceiving anyone or operating with hidden agendas (2 Corinthians 4:2). Who wouldn’t prefer to have relationships with people they can trust? Let us look for character. Let us look for character not just in others though, but in ourselves as well.

Verse 48

John 1:48

Nathanael wondered how it was that Jesus talked as if He knew him and yet they had only just met. Then Jesus revealed a truth about Himself that is even more peculiar. He shows us that He has abilities beyond the normal realm of mortal experience. He doesn’t need to be in a place to have witnessed the goings on there.

Verse 49

John 1:49

Aware that Jesus has abilities and knowledge beyond typical human understanding, Nathanael blurted out his greatest Jewish hope … this is the Christ.

Verse 50

John 1:50

Jesus told Nathanael that his belief was based in a miracle that will soon lose significance, due to even greater signs and wonders that will be performed right before his eyes. This statement then is the Apostle John’s first recorded prophetic statement from our Lord. John will relate more of Jesus’ prophesies to us, showing us that Jesus exhibited the gift of prophecy and thus insights into things that have not yet happened.

Verse 51

John 1:51

Here at the beginning of His Earthly ministry, Jesus gave a prophecy (see notes on John 1:50) about the end of His time on Earth (Acts 1:9-10).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 1". "Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of John". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shj/john-1.html.
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