John 1:35-51

Jesus' Public Ministry, First Converts

35 Again 1the next day John was standing [a]with two of his disciples,
36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, 2the Lamb of God!"
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "3Rabbi (which translated means Teacher ), where are You staying?"
39 He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the [b]tenth hour.
40 4One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the 5Messiah " (which translated means [c]Christ ).
42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of [d]6John; you shall be called 7Cephas " (which is translated [e]8Peter ).
43 9The next day He purposed to go into 10Galilee, and He found 11Philip. And Jesus said to him, "12Follow Me."
44 Now 13Philip was from 14Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 15Philip found 16Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom 17Moses in the Law and also 18the Prophets wrote -Jesus of 19Nazareth, 20the son of Joseph."
46 Nathanael said to him, "21Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" 22Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an 23Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"
48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before 24Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathanael answered Him, "25Rabbi, You are 26the Son of God; You are the 27King of Israel."
50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these."
51 And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see 28the heavens opened and 29the angels of God ascending and descending on 30the Son of Man."

John 1:35-51 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN

The author of this epistle was John, the son of Zebedee, the disciple whom Jesus loved: he was the youngest of the apostles, and survived them all. He does not indeed put his name to this epistle, as the Apostles Paul, Peter, James, and Jude do to theirs; and it is easy to observe, that when this disciple, in his writings, had any occasion to speak of himself, it was usually by such a circumlocution, as the disciple whom Jesus loved, or the other disciple, studiously concealing his name: so that his not putting his name to this epistle need not create any scruple about his being the author of it, which everywhere breathes the temper and spirit of this great apostle; and whoever compares this epistle, and the Gospel written by him, together, will easily conclude it to be his, both from the style and subject matter of it: besides, as Eusebius asserts {a}, this epistle was generally received without scruple, both by ancient and modern writers. It is called "general", because it was not written and sent to any particular church, or person, and not because it was for the general use of the churches, for so are all the particular epistles but because it was written to the Christians in general, or to the believing Jews in general wherever they were; for that it was written to the Jews seems evident from 1Jo 2:2. It was called, by some of the ancients, the epistle of John to the Parthians {b}; by whom must be meant not the natives of Parthia but the Jews professing to believe in Christ, who dwelt in that empire. We read of Parthian Jews a the feast of Pentecost, Ac 2:9, who at that time might be converted, and, upon their return to their own country, lay the foundation of a Gospel church state there Dr. Lightfoot {c} conjectures from a passage in 3Jo 1:9 that this epistle was written to the Corinthians; but there does not seem to be any sufficient reason for it. As for the time when, and place where, this epistle was written, it is not easy to say: some think it was written at Patmos, whither the apostle was banished in the reign of Domitian, and where he wrote the book of the Revelations; see Re 1:9; and here some say he wrote his Gospel, and this epistle, and that a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, and which he calls the last time or hour; and that his design in writing it was to exhort the believing Jews, either in Parthia, or scattered about in other countries, to brotherly love, and to warn them against false Christs and false prophets, which were now gone forth into the world to deceive men; see 1Jo 2:18, 4:1. Others think that it was written by him, when a very old man, after his return from his exile to Ephesus, where he resided during his life, and where he died, and was buried. It is called his "first" epistle general, not that it is the first general epistle, for the other two are written to particular persons, but is the first he wrote, and which is general: the occasion, and manifest design of it, is to promote brotherly love, which he enforces upon the best principles, and with the strongest arguments, taken from the love of God and Christ, from the commandment of Christ, and its being an evidence of regeneration, and the truth and glory of a profession of religion: and also to oppose and stop the growth of licentious principles, and practices, and heretical doctrines. The licentious principles and practices he condemns are these, that believers had no sin in them, or need not be concerned about it, nor about their outward conversation, so be they had but knowledge; and these men boasted of their communion with God, notwithstanding their impieties; and which were the sentiments and practices of the Nicolaitans, Gnostics, and Carpocratians. The heresies he sets himself against, and refutes, are such as regard the doctrine of the Trinity, and the person and office of Christ. There were some who denied a distinction, of persons in the Trinity, and asserted there was but one person; that the Father was not distinct from the Son, nor the Son from the Father; and, by confounding both, tacitly denied there was either, as Simon Magus, and his followers; regard is had to these in 1Jo 2:22, 5:7 and others, as the unbelieving Jews, denied that Jesus was the Messiah, or that Christ was come in the flesh; these are taken notice of in \1Jo 2:22 4:2,3 5:1\. Others, that professed to believe in Jesus Christ, denied his proper deity, and asserted he was a mere man, and did not exist before he took flesh, of the virgin, as Ebion and Cerinthus; these are opposed in \1Jo 1:1,2 3:16 5:20\. And others denied his real humanity, and affirmed that he was a mere phantom; that he only had the appearance of a man, and assumed human nature, and suffered, and died, and rose again in show only, and not in reality; of which sort were the followers of Saturninus and Basilides, and which are confuted in 1Jo 1:1-3. This epistle is, by Clemens Alexandrinus {d}, called his "greater" or "larger epistle", it being so in comparison of the other two that follow.

{a} Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 24. {b} Augustin. apud Grotium. {c} Hor. Hebr. in 1 Cor. i. 14. {d} Stromat. l. 2. p. 389.

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 1\\

In this chapter the apostle gives a summary of the Gospel, and the evidence of it, and from thence presses to a holy life and conversation, The sum of the Gospel is Jesus Christ, who is described both as God and man; his deity is expressed by being that which was from the beginning, the Word of life, life, and eternal life; his humanity by being the life manifested in the flesh, of which the apostles had full evidence by the several senses of seeing, hearing, and handling, and so were capable of bearing witness to the truth thereof, 1Jo 1:1,2. And the ends had in view in giving this summary, evidence, and testimony, were, that the saints wrote unto might have fellowship with the apostles, whose fellowship was with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and that their joy on hearing these things might be full, 1Jo 1:3,4. And the amount of the message declared by them was, that God is light, or a pure and holy Being, and that there is no darkness of sin, or unholiness in him; wherefore all such that pretend to communion with him, and live a sinful course of life, are liars; only such have fellowship with him, and with his Son, whose blood cleanses them from all sin, who live holy lives and conversations, 1Jo 1:5-7, not, that it is to be expected that men should be clear of the being of sin in this life, only that they should, as often as they sin, be humbled for it, and confess it before God, who will forgive them, and cleanse them from all unrighteousness; but as for those who affirm they have no sin in them, or any done by them, they are self-deceivers, the truth of grace is not in them, nor the word of God, and they make him a liar, 1Jo 1:8-10.

John 1:35-51 In-Context

33 "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'
34 "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."
35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher ), where are You staying?"
39 He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah " (which translated means Christ ).
42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas " (which is translated Peter ).
43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow Me."
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote -Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46 Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"
48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel."
50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these."
51 And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Cross References 30

  • 1. John 1:29
  • 2. John 1:29
  • 3. Matthew 23:7; John 1:49
  • 4. Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11; John 1:40-42
  • 5. Daniel 9:25; John 4:25
  • 6. Matthew 16:17; John 21:15-17
  • 7. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:5; Galatians 1:18; Galatians 2:9, 11, 14
  • 8. Matthew 16:18
  • 9. John 1:29, 35
  • 10. Matthew 4:12; John 1:28; John 2:11
  • 11. Matthew 10:3; John 1:44-48; John 6:5, 7; John 12:21; John 14:8
  • 12. Matthew 8:22
  • 13. Matthew 10:3; John 1:44-48; John 6:5, 7; John 12:21; John 14:8
  • 14. Matthew 11:21
  • 15. Matthew 10:3; John 1:44-48; John 6:5, 7; John 12:21; John 14:8
  • 16. John 1:46-49; John 21:2
  • 17. Luke 24:27
  • 18. Luke 24:27
  • 19. Matthew 2:23
  • 20. Luke 2:48; Luke 3:23; Luke 4:22; John 6:42
  • 21. John 7:41, 52
  • 22. Matthew 10:3; John 1:44-48; John 6:5, 7; John 12:21; John 14:8
  • 23. Romans 9:4
  • 24. Matthew 10:3; John 1:44-48; John 6:5, 7; John 12:21; John 14:8
  • 25. John 1:38
  • 26. John 1:34
  • 27. Matthew 2:2; Matthew 27:42; Mark 15:32; John 12:13
  • 28. Ezekiel 1:1; Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:21; Acts 7:56; Acts 10:11; Revelation 19:11
  • 29. Genesis 28:12
  • 30. Matthew 8:20

Footnotes 5

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