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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
John 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-5

JOHN’S GOSPEL

You observe, thus far, not a word has been said about John’s Gospel. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all wrote historically. Consequently, they go much together, most felicitously corroborating one another. Matthew wrote for the Jews, fifteen years after the ascension of our Lord; Luke, for the Greeks, twenty-five years after the ascension; and Mark, for the Romans, thirty years after the ascension. John wrote for the Christians, not so much historically as doctrinally, experimentally, and spiritually, about sixty-five years after the ascension of our Lord. A.D. 95, Domitian, the Roman emperor, had John thrown into a caldron of boiling oil at Rome, to make soap of him. In the providence of God, his work wasn’t done. Consequently he did not saponify, but enjoyed the hot bath, floundering round and shouting “Hallelujah!” Then the emperor had him taken out, and banished to the Isle of Patmos, in the Agean Sea. I sailed by it the other day in my detour from the Holy Land. At that time it was so infected with malaria as to be uninhabitable, and was used by the Roman emperors as a place of banishment for the worst criminals. His custodians arriving with him late Saturday afternoon, and throwing him out on the bleak rocks of that desolate shore, hastened away, leaving him alone, with the bones of his predecessors bleaching in the moonlight on those barren heights. The man of God prays all night. Next morning, which was Sunday (Revelation 1), the glorified Savior comes down from heaven amid lightning, thunders, and splendid corruscations, bringing heaven with Him; throws open the door, and invites His beloved apostle to look in, contemplate the wonders of the latter day, and write them to the people.

John spent the last years of his long and eventful life at Ephesus, the metropolis of Asia Minor, where history keeps track of him till A.D. 101, when, losing sight of him, we have no record of his death, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, who lived in the second century, and John Wesley, as well as many others, believing that he was translated to heaven alive, like Enoch and Elijah.

THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST

John 1:1-5. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “Word” means revelation. The incarnation of Christ is the greatest revelation of God ever made to man. Hence, Word here simply means the Incarnate God. “The same was in the beginning with God.” Hence, you see that the Son, like the Father, is uncreated, never having had a beginning, and can never have an end. “All things were made by Him, and without Him there was nothing that was made.” You see from this, not only the co-eternity of the Son with the Father, but that He actually created all things; i.e., the Divinity becomes creative in the Second Person. (Colossians 1)

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Darkness is the concomitant of death, and light that of life.


Verses 6-34

TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

John 1:6-51. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, that he may testify concerning the Light, in order that all may believe through him. He was not that Light, but that he may testify concerning that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John the Baptist clearly and powerfully preached the gracious possibility of universal salvation, involving the saving efficiency of Christ from the foundation of the world. Darkness here means sin, and light means grace. Hence, you see that the true, saving grace of God in Christ is actually given to every human being, of all ages and nations, Pagan, Mohammedan, Papist, and Protestant.

Christ died for all, and by His Spirit shines on all. Hence, none will have an excuse for their own damnation, as all they have to do is to walk in the light God gives, and in that case, “the blood cleanses from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Hence, people are only lost for rejecting the light, as God only requires all to be true to the light and the grace given.

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” The Savior was unknown, misunderstood, falsely accused, unjustly condemned, and cruelly put to death. Two hundred millions of martyrs have added their blood to His for the same reason; i.e., because the World knew them not. Jesus and the martyrs suffered condemnation and death as malefactors, while they were the best people in the world. Such will always be the case till our Lord comes in His glory. The people of this wicked world will never understand God’s true people. When they understand and appreciate you, an awful suspicion arises that you have gotten wrong. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not;” i.e., He came to the Jews, His own consanguinity, and given to Him in an everlasting Covenant. Because they were carnal and worldly, they misunderstood, disowned, and killed Him. If He had been carnal, like themselves, they would have received Him all right, as they did several false Christs within forty years after His crucifixion. But in that case, He could not have saved them, but must have failed, like all of those false Christs.

“But so many as received Him, unto them gave He the privilege to become the children of God, to them that believe on His name, who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In this wonderful and beautiful passage, setting forth so clearly and gloriously the great fundamental doctrine of regeneration, the word translated “power” in E.V. is exousia, signifying, not only power, but more properly, privilege, right, authority. The word most prevalent in the New Testament and translated “power” is dunamiz i.e., dynamite, an infinitely stronger word than exousia. It means the very omnipotence of the Almighty; whereas, exousia here means the right or the privilege of every one that receives Christ to become the children of God through faith, salvation being optionary with the recipient; i.e., you can all believe and be saved, or disbelieve and be lost. The specification here given on the negative side is exceedingly valuable, as it is God’s Warning against Satan’s delusion. “Not from bloods.” Until the date of this Scripture, all Church services consisted in bloody sacrifices. Hence the conclusion, that no one can be regenerated by water baptism, the eucharist, good works, or ritual ceremonies of any kind; nor “from the will of the flesh” — i.e., you can not receive the Divine birth by the carnal will. “The Ethiopian can not change his skin, nor the leopard his spots.” Wonderful force in this Scripture! The black man may exercise all the power of his will, and put forth the greatest possible resolution to become a white man, and yet his skin remains black as an Ethiopian sky ever tanned. This certifies the utter impossibility of regeneration superinduced by everything we can possibly do. “Nor from the will of man.” The pope of Rome, and all the interceding priests on the face of the whole earth, and you may add to them all the apostles, if they were risen from the dead, can not possibly impart life to the dead soul of the sinner. As inspired John here well says, none but Cod can possibly do this work. When God calls you from death to life, He always reveals to you the glorious fact. How few, comparatively, have the witness of the Spirit that they are born of God!

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father, full of grace and truth.”

As depravity, in all its forms and phases, is antithetical to grace, it is impossible for any one to be full of the latter and contain any of the former. A bucket is not full of water if it has a quantity of rock or dirt at the bottom. Hence, we see this statement annihilates a dogma somewhat now afloat; i.e., that Jesus had depravity, having inherited it from His mother.

“For we have not a High Priest who is not able to sympathize with our infirmities; He also having been tempted in all things, in like manner, without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15.)

This Scripture sweeps all controversy from the field. They argue that the fact of His temptation is a proof that He had depravity. You see this Scripture covers all the ground, though He was tempted in all things as we are, yet He was without sin. The Word of the Lord is the end of all appeal. Consequently this question is settled. Sin and error are Siamese twins, which always live and die together. Jesus was full of grace; therefore He had no sin, and no depravity, which is but another word for sin. Neither did He have any infirmity, which is the normal effect of sin. He was full of truth; therefore He had no error.

“John testifies concerning Him, and cried, saying, This is He of whom I spoke; He that cometh after me was preferred before me, because He was before me.” While John the Baptist stood before the people as the forerunner and introducer of Jesus, he is very emphatic in his testimony to His uncreated eternity. “Of His fullness, we all receive grace upon grace,” or grace in addition to grace; i.e., the grace of sanctification in addition to the grace of justification. “Because the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The law never had any power to save, but only to convict, and thus prepare people for the saving grace and truth which God gave in Christ.

“No one hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, being in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” Did not Moses stand face to face with God on Mt. Sinai? Did not the Lord visit Abraham’s tent at Mamre, and eat with him? These, like the “Form of the Fourth,” seen by Nebuchadnezzar in the fiery furnace, were all manifestations of Christ, the Jehovah of the Old Testament being identical with the Christ of the New, and the incarnate manifestations to Moses, Abraham, and Nebuchadnezzar being adumbrations of His first coming, like His appearing to Paul near Damascus and in the temple at Jerusalem, anticipatory of His second advent.

John 1:19-22. Here John relates the history of the Jews sending priests and Levites to John the Baptist, to interview him directly with reference to a problem much agitated among them; the learned clergy and theologians standing on the desert sand hours together, straining their eyes, looking over the long rolls of prophecies, diagnosing and investigating the phenomena of John’s ministry, and trying to settle the question whether he is the Christ; but finally sending their delegation to interrogate him in presence of the multitude, “Art thou the Christ or do we look for another?” John the Baptist puts a final quietus to all their inquiry by a candid and unequivocal negation, responding,

“I am not the Christ, but the voice of one roaring in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said.” (Isaiah 40:3.)

Here, as recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John the Baptist certifies constantly and repeatedly that his office is to roar out the warning to the people to repent and make straight ways to the Lord; — i.e., get rid of all their crookedness, so the Lord can come into their hearts.

John 1:28. “These things took place in Bethany, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” E.V. has here Bethabara, which is incorrect; Bethany, which means “house of dates,” being the correct reading. “The town of Bethany was ten miles up the Jordan in Perea, on the other side, the Baptist having moved thither since our Savior’s baptism.”

John 1:29. “The following day, John sees Jesus coming to him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” This occurred the day following the transactions of the preceding verses, and after Jesus had been baptized and gone away into the wilderness, spent the forty days and more, and has now returned to the scene of John’s baptism, ten miles up the river, and on the other side, at the town Bethany. O that all the world would take this good, solid, Baptist doctrine! John the Baptist preaches no shoddy gospel, but entire sanctification all the time. He does not represent Jesus as suppressing sin or conquering it, and leaving it, like a rattlesnake, coiled up. and hidden in the deep subterranean regions of the fallen soul; but he describes Him as taking it away, world without end. The world is full of counterfeit salvation, multitudes standing in the pulpit and preaching a counterfeit Savior, who does not take away sin. Remember that sin here is in the singular number, not meaning simply sinful acts, but the sin principle; i.e., the body of sin, root, branch, germ, and seed, the entire entity, without any exception. It is the sin peculiar to the world — i.e., the depravity — which, though operating in different ways, is identical with all races, colors, sexes, and nationalities. If you could leap through the earth, and jump out in China, you would find sin there just what it is here. Jesus came, not to wash, dress, educate, and control it, but to take it away. This is simple, unmistakable gospel truth, preached by holy John the Baptist. Good Lord, help us all to receive it and preach it to others! O how few this day stand up and cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” Here, again, John asserts the priority of Jesus.

John 1:31. “And I did not know Him; but in order that He may be manifest to Israel, on this account I came baptizing with water. John testified, saying, That I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and He remained on Him. I did not know Him, but the One sending me to baptize with water, He said to me, On whom you may see the Spirit descending and abiding on Him, the same is the One baptizing with the Holy Ghost. And I have seen, and I have testified that He is the Son of God.” We are not to conclude from these statements that John was utterly unacquainted with Jesus before the baptism, as they were related by consanguinity and the families acquainted. But God had revealed to John that he should have the indisputable confirmation of our Lord’s identity by the descension of the Holy Ghost on Him and His abiding there, thus revealing to John, and all the people, that He is truly the Christ, the only One in all the universe who baptizes with the Holy Ghost; John, His precursor and introducer, faithfully preparing the people by not only preaching to them a genuine, evangelical repentance, which was to be perseveringly perpetuated “unto remission of sins,” but it was his office also to symbolize the baptism of Jesus with the Holy Ghost and fire by the baptism with water. You see here in verse 34 that John, like Mark, omits the fire in the record, Matthew and Luke giving it, illustrating and confirming the fact, as attested by Paul (Ephesians 5:4) — i.e., the unity of baptism — the fire being a concomitant of the Spirit, and the water the symbol.


Verse 9

CHAPTER 27

THE LEAVEN

Matthew 13:33. “He spake another parable to them: The kingdom of the heavens is like unto leaven, which a woman having taken, hid in three measures of meal, until all were leavened.” Leaven is zume, which has no meaning but fermentation, corruption. . . .We have no right to depart from the lexical meaning and the uniform Biblical signification of a word. The point of illustration is its progressive and general dissemination throughout the entire lump in which it is deposited. You must not think that the parables all symbolize the kingdom in all its phases. This is not true.

Hence the number of them, some illustrating one phase, and some another. Of course our fallen Mother Eve is the woman here alluded to, in her common maternity of the whole human race. You must remember humanity took on three distinct varieties in the house of Noah-Shem, the red man, who inherited and populated Asia; Ham, the black man, who received Africa in the distribution of Father Noah’s universal patrimony; and Japheth, the white man, Europe, which has spread out and taken in America. How do you know that the tri-color distinction there originated?

Shem is a Hebrew word, which means red; Ham, black; and Japheth, white. You see how the leaven — i.e., depravity — by the mother of humanity, was deposited in these three measures of antediluvian meal, which, in Noah’s ark, survived the flood, and O, how it has spread to the ends of the earth! The gospel kingdom is like this leaven in the sense in which God is like the “unjust judge” (Luke 18), where the similitude is simply at the point of independency; this leaven of heavenly grace, being more contagious than small-pox, going to the ends of the earth, beautifying the elect and revealing the non-elect, and thus preparing the world for the coming of the Lord. “Jesus spoke all of these things to the multitudes in parables, and without a parable He was not accustomed to speak to them; in order that the word, having been spoken by the prophet, may be fulfilled, I will open my mouth in parables; I will reveal things which have been hidden from the foundation of the world.” (Psalms 78:2.) The Old Testament is the gospel in symbolism — i.e., blackboard exercises, spread out extensively and elucidated minutely, accommodatory to an uncultured, semibarbaric people, such as Israel, degraded by two hundred and fifteen years in Egyptian slavery. The Gospels of our Lord are in parables, occupying a much higher grade than the Mosaic typology, an intermediate between the rudimentary teaching of the Old Testament and the clear, straight, positive, and unequivocal, doctrinal, experimental, and practical deliverances of the Holy Ghost in the Acts, Epistles, and Revelation.

“Then leaving the multitudes, Jesus came into the house.” It is highly probable this was Peter’s house in Capernaum, headquarters of the Great Prophet and his apostles. “His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. Responding, He said to them, The one sowing the good seed is the Son of man, and the field is the world, and these children of the kingdom are the good seed.” “He is the True Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9.)

The omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient Excarnate Christ has been in this world from the beginning, sowing the good seed of the kingdom; His children, the elect, always having been here from the days of Abel. “The tares are the sons of the wicked one; the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned with fire, so it shall be in the end of this age. The Son of man will send forth His angels, and he will gather out from His kingdom all things which offend and cause iniquity, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Here you see that these tares — i.e., the hypocrites — are the devil’s sort of Christians. They are everywhere in the Churches. We are just to let them alone till the end of the age, when the great tribulation will come upon the world, God hackling out of all nations the unsavable material (Daniel 7:9), when the world will be divested of hypocrites, and infidels, and all others who have grieved away the Holy Spirit and sealed their doom in endless woe. On the resurrection morn, O how brightly will the risen and transfigured saints shine in the kingdom of God! When Satan shall be bound and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20), and the reprobates all taken out of the world, thus Satan and his armies retreating before the King of kings and Lord of lords, descending in His glory, accompanied by the mighty host of His bridehood, to girdle the globe with the splendors of the Millennial Theocracy.

THE HIDDEN TREASURE

“Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a treasure which has been hidden in the field, which a man, having found, concealed, and from his joy goes and sells all things, so many as he has, and purchases that field.” The field here is the Church, which God has made the depository of redeeming grace. I was a member of the visible Church before I was converted, and during my regenerated life an enthusiastic amateur of it. It is the province of the Church to get souls converted to God. The man in this parable is a Church member, perhaps born and reared in it, ignorant of experimental salvation. Somehow he gets an inkling that there is something wonderful and glorious in the Church. Then he turns over all of his resources, soul, mind, body, and estate, and buys this field; i.e., he takes the Church for his portion, becoming truly devoted and exceedingly zealous. Very soon he is enabled to appreciate this treasure, which had been hidden in the field until he recently found out that it was there. O how grateful to the Church, and how enthusiastic and enterprising in her behalf!

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

“Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a mercantile man, seeking goodly pearls, who, having found one pearl of great price, having gone, sold all things which he had, and purchased it.” Here is another selling out and new embarkation in mercantile enterprise. You must remember that these two are mercantile parables, the salient facts consisting in buying and selling. In the former parable the man had no treasure — i.e., he was destitute of a heavenly investment of any kind; so he sold out his carnal chattels and bought the field — i.e., the Church — for the sake of the treasure hidden in it, only discernible by spiritually-illuminated eyes. Hence they could live and die all around it, and walk over it, and not know it was there. Now we see the man is a merchant — i.e., a Christian — in the phraseology of the parables. By some means he ascertains that there is on hand a pearl of great price — i.e., of infinite value — its beauty and brilliancy eclipsing all others. Now he goes and sells out all he has; and you must remember that now be has an infinitely better stock in trade than he had before he bought the field, and found in it the first blessing; but he makes a complete invoice of all, not only his earthly possessions, but the Church, the membership, the choir, the big pipe-organ, the Official Board, the pastor, presiding elder, bishop, and all the Conferences; the Creed, rites, and ceremonies, — putting all on the altar, without any reservation, for time and eternity:

“Here I give my all to Thee — Friends, and time, and earthly store; Soul and body, Thine to be;

Wholly Thine, for evermore.”

The final issue is, that he purchases the pearl of great price, entire sanctification, which a man does not get through the normal administration of the Church, but, forsaking all, must go to God alone, and sink away into Him.

THE DRAG-NET

“Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto the net, having been cast into the sea, and gathering from every kind.” This illustrates the kingdom after the similitude of the visible Church. “Which, when it may be filled, drawing it up on the shore, and sitting down, they gathered the good into baskets, but threw the bad away.” We are on the constant outlook for our Lord to appear, and take His saints with Him to glory, and turning over to Satan his due, and leaving them for the great tribulation, exposed to the doom of the ungodly. “So it will be in the end of the age;” i.e., the end of the gospel age, in which we live. “The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from the midst of the righteous; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The gathering of the good into baskets is the rapture. (Matthew 24:31.) Now we see the angels, girdling the globe with the splendor of their pinions.

“A fiery stream issued, and came from before Him; thousands and thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” (Daniel 7:10.)

This is the pre-millennial judgment by the Ancient of Days, dethroning all the kings of the earth, preparatory to the glorious coronation of His Son King of kings and Lord of lords. Here you see the Ancient of Days is attended by this innumerable host of angels, who are evidently His subordinates in the administration of the retributive judgments against the wicked, thus hackling them out of the world preparatory to the glorious millennial reign.

DISCIPLESHIP

“Jesus says to them, Do you understand all these things? They say to Him, Yea, Lord. And He said to them, Therefore, every scribe, having been discipled into the kingdom of the heavens, is like unto a man who is a landlord, who bringeth out of his treasure things new and old.”

“Instructed into the kingdom,” E.V., is not a literal translation of matheteutheis, which is the passive aorist participle from nathetes, “a disciple.” Hence it simply means “being discipled;” i.e., being made a disciple. The Commission reads, “Go, disciple all nations.” Hence the only way to become a member of the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God, which are precisely synonymous, is to become a disciple of Christ, which requires a genuine regeneration, wrought by the Holy Spirit, leading on to entire sanctification, which is indispensable to the successful perpetuity of that discipleship. This is true of the scribe — i.e., the preacher — and every other human being. Now what is the characteristic of every one who has become a member of the Lord’s kingdom? He has a treasure in his heart which a world of gold can not purchase. “Out of his treasure he bringeth forth things both new and old.” Now what of the new? Do you not know that the work of the Holy Ghost is always new? Instead of getting old, stale, and dingy, a genuine experience “shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.” So his experience, regeneration and sanctification, is always new. What is old? Why the blessed truth of God. While a spiritual experience is always new, kept bright and sweet by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the doctrine of the Bible is always old, every new doctrine being false. Hence Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” “And it came to pass, when Jesus finished these parables, He departed thence;” i.e., He went away out of Capernaum to embark on the sea.


Verses 35-43

DISCIPLES OF JESUS

John 1:35-43. “On the following day, John again stood, and two of His disciples, and looking upon Jesus walking about, says, Behold the Lamb of God. And the two disciples heard Him speaking, and follow Jesus. And Jesus turning, and seeing them following, says to them, What are you seeking? And they said to Him, Master, which is interpreted Teacher, where dwellest Thou? And He says to them, Come and see, And they came and saw where He dwelleth, and they abode with Him that day; it was about the tenth hour;” i.e., four o’clock in the afternoon. The Apostle John, the author of this Gospel, is too modest to call his own name, always alluding to himself in some indirect way. Lord, help all of us preachers to profit by John’s modesty! How many are not satisfied with their names, but want D.D. and LL.D. added to them! Here, John specifies that Andrew was one of those two disciples, but does not give the name of the other, there being no doubt but he himself is the other one; and I believe, as these two were the first disciples of Jesus, that John himself led the way, being actually the first of all; as you see here they are falling in line, and following Jesus, at the instigation of John the Baptist, who, in the Divine economy, taught the primary department in the school of Christ, thus preparing His disciples for Him, as the disciples of Christ, including the apostles, were first the disciples of John the Baptist, this explaining the reason why none of the original apostles were baptized with water after they followed Jesus, they all having received the baptism of John.

John 1:40. “Come and see.” When John and Andrew, pursuant to the diagnosis of John the Baptist, said to Jesus, “Master, where dwellest Thou?” (“Where is Your lodging, that we may appoint a time to come and see You?”) Jesus said, “Come now.” Lord, help us to profit by Thy example, and quit all of this buncombe of appointing an hour to call! Now is the accepted time. Tomorrow may never come. We should be always ready for the Lord’s work. “The King’s business requires haste.” The sainted Miller Willis, during a fashionable, worldly, pseudo-revival, while the pastor, in a very formalistic way, was announcing from the pulpit that penitents could call upon him at his office at a stated hour, or, if they preferred it, call upon one of his official members at another hour, startled the whole congregation by a loud, sudden exclamation, “The Lord Jesus Christ is ready at all hours!” so that no burdened soul need wait a moment. Immediately after John and Andrew followed Jesus, the latter finds his brother Simon and notifies him: “We have found the Messiah, which is interpreted Christ; and he led him to Jesus. And Jesus looking on him said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah; but thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter.” Cephas means rock in Hebrew, and Peter in Greek. The moment Jesus saw Simon, He looked down into the deep interior of his heart, and saw his wonderful solidity and stability, and consequently named him Cephas in Hebrew and Peter in Greek, which means rock. Did not Peter show much vacillation and instability? He did, till the sanctifying fires of the Holy Ghost, which he received at Pentecost, burnt out the vast accumulations of debris with which hereditary depravity had encumbered him. After this glorious work, the rock was clearly revealed to all who knew him. He was steadfast as Mt. Zion, and inflexible under the combined powers of earth and hell. He lived a hero and died a martyr. So it is with all of us; like Peter, we are unstable as water and unsubstantial as mud till we receive the sanctifying fires of Pentecost.

John 1:44. “On the following day [i.e., the day after Jesus called Peter], He finds Philip, and says to him, Follow Me. Philip was from Bethsaida, from the city of Andrew and Peter.” Bethsaida stood on the northwest coast of the Galilean Sea, at a great spring, which issues from the base of a mountain contiguous to a beautiful, fertile plain, quite convenient for the site of the city and its gardens. Jesus pronounced an awful woe against it (Matthew 11:21), which has been signally fulfilled in its utter desolation, with scarcely a vestige to mark its situation, and many centuries without an inhabitant. As the situation is beautiful and the water excellent, it is a favorite camping place. Our party stopped and lunched there. This city was the home of Peter and Andrew and Philip. However, in the days of our Savior, Peter was a married man, having left the home of his nativity and settled in Capernaum, which became the home of Jesus after His rejection at Nazareth, and, as we believe, making the house of Peter His home. “Philip finds Nathanael, and said to him, We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets in the law did write, Jesus the Son of Joseph, who is from Nazareth. And Nathanael said to him, What good is able to be from Nazareth? Philip says to him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, says concerning him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.” Nathanael is a Hebrew word, and means

“Given of God.” We here see that he enjoyed the sanctified experience, being a guileless Israelite, confirmatory of the conclusion that he was saved from all depravity; i.e., sanctified wholly. “Nathanael says to Him, Whence do you know me? Jesus responded and said to him, Before Philip called you, I saw you while you were under the fig-tree. Nathanael responded and says to Him, Master, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel. Jesus responded and said to him, Because I said to thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, dost thou believe? Thou shalt see greater things than these And He says to him, Truly, truly, I say unto you, You shall see heaven opened, and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Here we find that Nathanael was thoroughly convinced of the Christhood of Jesus because He saw him under the fig-tree. He was there alone, sequestered and hidden, and Jesus was nowhere about there, but away beyond great mountains and obstructions, so he knew that He had no chance to see him; hence, when He told him that He saw him, he knew that He was omnipresent, and believed in His Divinity unhesitatingly. Here our Savior alludes to the ladder which Jacob saw in his night vision, while sleeping on Mt. Bethel. Hence we see that Jacob’s ladder, connecting earth and heaven, was a type of Christ, who is the Mediator between God and man, bridging the intervening chasm, and bringing heaven and. earth into intercommunication. “The Son of man” has a deep signification, and is quite a favorite phrase in the diction of our Savior. Humanity, before the fall, enjoyed membership in the Divine family. In the fall, spiritual life was forfeited and superseded by death. Therefore the wicked are denominated the children of the devil (John 8:44), spiritual life and Divine sonship only being regained by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost. Now, since Jesus is the only unfallen Son of Adam, He, in an exclusive and peculiar sense, is truly the Son of man.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on John 1:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/john-1.html.

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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