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John Chapter 1 - In the Beginning

Verses 1-18 are a prologue to his gospel. There are a few verses of epilogue the most important of which, I think, is:

"But these (things or signs) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:31)

That will be the goal of our study of John - to have life, even eternal life. Please join me as we seek to understand the gospel of John and find the most important messages there for us.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

We will look at "in the beginning" with verse 2.

"Word" is from the Greek "logos." Commentators have suggested a parallel here in that just as we express our thoughts in words, God has expressed Himself through the Word, His Son.

The Bible Uses the Word "God" in Different Ways

1. To refer to one being Yahweh, the Father Who is God in the ultimate sense:

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Cor 8:6)

Source and Channel - There is some very good reasoning that the Father is the Source and the Son is the Channel. This works in the husband-wife relationship and many others. From the verse above:

of (Strong's #1537) whom = the Source
by (Strong's #1223) whom = the Channel

The On-line Bible describes these words as:

Strong's #1537 ek
a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; prep

AV-of 366, from 181, out of 162, by 55, on 34, with 25, misc 98; 921
1) out of, from, by, away from

Strong's #1223 dia
a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; TDNT-2:65,149;

AV-by 241, through 88, with 16, for 58, for ... sake 47, therefore + 5124 44, for this cause + 5124 14, because 52, misc 86; 646
1) through
1a) of place
1a1) with
1a2) in
1b) of time
1b1) throughout
1b2) during
1c) of means
1c1) by
1c2) by the means of etc.

The Bible makes it clear that, in the ultimate sense, there is one being who is God:

"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph 4:6)
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17)
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Tim 2:5)
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)

2. To refer to divinity (an order of being) as opposed to humanity:

Since Jesus is the Son of God that makes Him God as opposed to human. In His unique case, He is also the Son of man which makes Him human. He is the only being who is both God and man. Like begets like. We are human because our parents are human.

It is interesting that we are (or can be) begotten of God:

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (1 John 5:18)
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)
"Thou madest him a little (Strong's #1024) lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:" (Heb 2:7)

"Little" (Strong's #1024) is also translated as "little while":

"And after a little while (Strong's #1024) another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not." (Luke 22:58)

God seems to be into elevating those in a lower position to a higher one. There are a number of clues about that in scripture. Interesting.

3. To refer, in a more general sense, to mankind:

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Psa 82:6)
"Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together." (Isa 41:23)
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)

4. To refer to false gods:

"Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;" (Deut 6:14)

The point of the above is to distinguish that Jesus can be God while not being the same being as the Father Who is the God.

Is the Word "a" God or "the" God or just "God"?
1. "A" God
John 1:1 is clearly not using god in the sense of a false god or the most general sense. Some would prefer to understand "a" God but there is no indefinite article in the original.

We could refer to the Sun as a star that lights planet Earth and that is correct but it is also the star that lights planet Earth. Likewise, we could say that Jesus is "a" God but He is not, in the ultimate sense, "the" God.

2. "The" God
If we assume the definite article "the" it doesn't make sense - it doesn't make sense to say you are "with" yourself. "The Word was with God" and therefore must be a separate being from God.

The Word was God

It makes the most sense to understand "God" (as the King James Version gives it) as opposed to "man" or "humanity" (or "angels"). To say "the Word was God" (divine) as opposed to "the Word was human" makes common sense and is easy to understand.

Verse 14 makes it clear that "the Word" is referring to Jesus.

In the Beginning

The word "beginning" always has reference to the beginning or start or origin of something. In our common use it is always connected to time. Perhaps this is when time itself started.

"The same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:2)
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Gen 1:1)

It seems likely that the references to "in the beginning" in Genesis 1 and John 1 are referring to the same time. John 1:1 is really just saying that the Word was with God (the Father) at a point in time - in the beginning. It is not saying when that was or making a reference to His origin. Genesis 1:1 says that "the beginning" is a reference to creation (the original creation not creation week) of the earth and the heavens (everything beyond the earth). In John 1, verse 3 also links to creation - "all things were made by Him." We could lay out a sort of timeline from Genesis and John showing how "in the beginning" fits - see below. The verses referring to Lucifer are included because they also include a reference to the beginning.

    the Word was begotten (John 3:16) before any creation - all things made by Him (John 1:3, Col 1:17)
the beginning (of time?) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Gen 1:1) in the beginning the Word was with God (John 1:1-2) the Word was with God in the beginning so was there before
creation of Lucifer     by him (Jesus) were all things created, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers: (Col 1:16)
Lucifer perfect     "... perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created ..." (Eze 28:15a)
sometime after initial creation - the fall of Lucifer   Satan a murderer and liar from the beginning (John 8:44) "... till iniquity found in you." (Eze 28:15b)
before creation week (billions of years?) earth had no form, darkness (Gen 1:2a)    
  light (God's Spirit, presence?) came to the world (Gen 1:2b-3)    
about 6,000 years ago God began work of remodeling the earth - "creation" week (Gen 1:3)    
about 2000 years ago   light (God's presence as His Son) came to the world (John 3:19, 12:46)  

"The beginning" could just refer to the general time of early history, before man came along. It is not referring to just a single point in time because in the beginning God created and took 6 (or say 7 days, including the Sabbath) days to do that. So, "in the beginning" is probably best understood as something like we would say "back in the good old days" - a general time and not a specific point in time.

Note that Satan was "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). This was after his creation (he was perfect until iniquity was found in him - Eze 28:15) and before creation week on earth.

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3)

"All things" would be all other things - obviously, He didn't make Himself. Jesus, the Word, was the active agent in creation. Again, it may be understood as the Father being the source and the Son being the channel. I think of it like the producer and director of a movie. The producer initiates the project, provides the resources and hires the director who then does the actual work.

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Col 1:16-17)

The Light-Darkness Metaphor

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:4-5)

The conflict of light and darkness is a major theme of John. "Light" is used 16 times in John where, perhaps once, it is used with the meaning of physical light as opposed to physical darkness. "Darkness" is used (seven times in five verses - John 1:5, 3:19, 8:12, 12:35, 46) always in opposition to light and mainly as a metaphor for separation from God or ignorance of God.

"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46)
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:" (Eph 5:8)

Light is used to represent the presence or influence of God or knowledge of Him.

"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev 22:5)
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:6-8)

The name "John" is from the Hebrew "Yochanan" or "Yehochanan" meaning "Yahweh is gracious."

"To bear witness of the Light" is to point to the Light. Not only John the Baptist was to do this.

"For so hath the Lord commanded us (Paul and Barnabas etc), saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47)
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9)

Compare that verse to this:

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Rom 12:3)

God has given to every person born a capacity to know (light) and trust (faith) God but it is up to each of us to make the right choices.

People sometimes get off track right away in Gen 1:1-3 with discussions on light and darkness and which came first and certain timing issues. Light and darkness is very much used in scripture in a metaphorical sense. This will be discussed more as we encounter further uses of "light" in John.

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:10-11)

In "He came unto his own" the word "own" has a neuter gender - it refers to his own things - the world which He created. Think of the parable of the householder in Matthew 21:33-41. In "His own received him not" the word "own" is masculine and is a reference to His people.

"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psa 100:3)

Why didn't they receive Him or recognize Him for what He was? It seems that He didn't match what they were expecting. They were looking for a Messiah who would free them from the Romans, restore their national greatness, be their own king etc. They had a different concept of the Messiah and of God than the true one having been very much deceived by Satan's lies about God. Pride was a very big factor in this as well.

It is interesting to imagine what the record would read like if they had received Him.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)

"Believe" if from the Greek word "pisteuo" (Strong's #4100), the verb form of the noun "pistis" (4102). It is most often translated as "believe," whereas the noun "pistis" is translated most often as "faith." It is interesting that John, in his gospel, always uses the verb form and never the noun. The word "faith" does not appear in John's gospel or his epistles. "Believe" is more of a relational word. John speaks much of the need to believe in Jesus, to trust Him, to have confidence in Him.

To believe on a name involves more than the name as in the word used. What would it mean to believe on the name of John or Johannes? Many people were called Jesus. It is a reference more to the person behind the name. It would be more accurate to say "believe in Him" or "trust in Him" or "have confidence in Him."

"Power," in this verse, is from the Greek "exousia" (Strong's #1849) and is used in the sense of authority, a right or privilege, not might or strength.

"To become the sons of God" is, at least, to become part of God's family to enter into a closer relationship with Him. It may involve much more than we presently think.

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

To be "made flesh" is the same as to be incarnate, in flesh. Think of the term "carnal" as in Rom 8:7. He dwelt among us when He was born in Bethlehem, when He became human. When was it that they "beheld his glory?" We will see in this study that glory very much relates to character and they often say displays of His character as He healed and blessed and generally dealt with people. We will see this even in the first miracle Jesus did when He showed His concern for the happiness of those at a wedding feast (in chapter two).

The word "dwelt" is from the Greek word skenoo (Strong's G4637) which is from the word "skenos" that is translated as "tabernacle" in 2 Corinthians 5:1 and 4. Jesus came to dwell or tabernacle with us. (The best reasoning regarding the time of Jesus' birth is that He was born in Bethlehem at the Feast of Tabernacles..

In John 1:14, "the Word ... dwelt among us" is combined with "and we beheld his glory." In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for "dwell" (Strong's H7931) has the same consonants as the word for "shekinah" (which, interestingly, does not appear in the Bible) or "glory."

"John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me." (John 1:15)

John was actually Jesus' older cousin so to say that he (Jesus) was before me (John) is referring to something other than their birth order. John understood that Jesus was more than human.

"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:16-17)

Compare "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" with:

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" (Titus 2:11-12)

It was Jesus who brought the grace and truth of God and presented it to man.

The word "but" is supplied; John did not intend to contrast the law with grace and truth.

"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18)

If no man has ever seen God, what about all the Old Testament passages? There are passages that suggest that it was Christ (at least in some instances) who interacted with people in the Old Testament:

"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Cor 10:4)
"Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." (1 Pet 1:10-11)

Consider these two passages:

"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father." (John 6:46)
"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:7-9)

In John 6:46 (as well as John 1:18), Jesus said no man had seen the Father. In John 14:9 He talks about people who have seen the Father. Where between these two statements of Jesus did anyone see the Father? John, writing decades after the events also says:

"No man hath seen God at any time. ..." (1 John 4:12))

So, it seems that no one had actually, physically seen the Father. Look at this parallel structure in John 14:7-9:

  1. " ... known me ... known my Father ..." (v7)
  2. " ... seen me ... seen the Father ..." (v9)

What Jesus meant is that to know or see Him is as good as or equivalent to knowing or seeing the Father because they are the same in character. "Like Father, like Son."

John 1:18 is saying that the Son, with such a close relationship to the Father, is the One to "declare Him," to show what the Father is like. "Declare" is actually from the Greek word from which we get the term "exegesis." So the Son is the One to exegete or explain the Father.

Scripture says that John, at least on one occasion, had a similar position to the Son.

"Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved." (John 13:23)

The disciple whom Jesus loved, the one closest to, in the bosom of Yahshua, is, likewise, the best one to show what He, Yahshua, is like and that is what John attempts to do in his gospel.

Verse 18 marks the end of the prologue to the gospel of John. Next begins the account of John the Baptist introducing the Messiah.

John Introduces the Messiah

"And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." (John 1:19-21)

John was becoming well-known and people were wondering if he might be the long-looked for Messiah.

"And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;" (Luke 3:15)

Perhaps because of this, an official delegation was sent to John to question him. They gave him three options:

1. The Christ, the Messiah - it seems some were suggesting that John the Baptist was the Messiah but he answered no, "I am not the Christ" the Messiah but the one to announce Him

2. The prophet Elijah - John answered no, but he did identify his message with that of Elijah (Elias) the prophet (v 23). Elijah was prophesied to come (to return having been taken bodily to heaven without seeing death - 2 Kings 2:11):

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" (Mal 4:5)

It is interesting that Jesus, it seems, applied Malachi's prophecy to John the Baptist:

"For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matt 11:13-14)

This seems kind of like Peter on the day of Pentecost applying Joel's prophecy to the day of Pentecost even though the time frame was not correct.

End-time Prophecy
Prophecy Applied
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: ..." (Joel 2:28-32) Joel "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will ..." (Acts 2:16-21) Peter
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" (Mal 4:5) Malachi "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matt 11:14) Jesus

3. That prophet - referred to the unnamed prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy:

"The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;" (Deut 18:15)

This prophecy was actually referring to Jesus according to Acts 3:22

"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." (Acts 3:22)

Many people thought that later of Jesus as John relates:

"Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." (John 6:14)
"Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet." (John 7:40)

Again, John said no; he had replied in the negative to all the options they suggested. So they then just asked him outright to tell them who he was.

"Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." (John 1:22-23)

John explained himself by quoting from the prophet Isaiah (spelled "Esaias" in John's gospel):

"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." (Isa 40:3)
"And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." (John 1:24-28)

The Pharisees did not ask "What are you doing?" - they were familiar with baptism. However, they did ask him why he was doing it. It seems they were questioning his authority to baptize - he had not been sanctioned by the church leadership. Perhaps they should have been more interested in the announcement that the Lord was coming.

John said "there standeth one among you" but did not identify Jesus. John said "coming after me" because Jesus was born later and started His public ministry later - John was His forerunner

Bethabara is equivalent to Bethany and the Bethany beyond Jordan was specified as there was also a Bethany near Jerusalem.

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

This time, "the next day," John identified Jesus as the Lamb. The Pharisees had possibly left as there is no recorded reaction from them. In fact, it is not mentioned that anyone reacted to what John said. It seems that Jesus did not say anything and as He did not especially stand out, appearing as one of the common people nothing more happened. John did make an interesting statement which takes some thought to understand.

What does "the sin of the world" mean - the "world" does not sin? Which sin (singular) is being referred to? What is sin? John defines it in his first epistle:

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4)

Taking the first part of that verse, it is saying that whoever sins also does something else. Sin is identified with transgression of the law - "sin is the transgression of the law" - therefore we could say sin = transgression of the law; they are equivalent. It is like saying that whoever sins also sins which doesn't sound quite right.

The word "also" suggests a difference between committing a sin and transgressing the law. Like the word "sin" in John 1:29, the word "law" in 1 John 3:4 is also singular. When someone commits sin they are breaking a law, one of many possible laws. How many laws are there? There are, of course, 10 commandments and the Old Testament lists 613 statutes and judgments. But 1 John 3:4 says "the" law. Which law? Why the law? (singular)

God's law can be understood as in the following diagram from a larger study on the law of God.
God's Law

Love can be understood as the major principle on which God operates, it is the underlying design for how His universe is to operate. Here is one published statement that may help to clarify:

"Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is "the transgression of the law;" it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government." (The Great Controversy, 493)

That "only definition" is, of course, the one given in 1 John 3:4. We can think of God's law as a principle that comes from the very nature and character of God Himself. God is love. Scripture reflects this:

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Gal 5:14)

If all the law is fulfilled by loving others, then, really, all the law requires is that we love others. Unfortunately, self-centered humans don't understand very well what that means. As a result, how to love others had to be spelled out for us in a multitude of specific laws.

Individual sins are symptoms showing that we are not following the great principle of love and, ultimately, showing our state of a broken relationship with God, a lack of trust in Him.

John emphasizes relationship more than behavior:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

Paul does the same:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." (1 Tim 6:12)

"Believe" and "faith" are the verb and noun forms of the same root word.

"This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water." (John 1:30-31)

"Preferred before me," in many versions, is translated more like the following:

"This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' (John 1:30, NASB)

Jesus was born later than John so "He was before me" must be referring to His preexistence in the pre-incarnate state. John may have said "I knew him not" because he had never actually met Jesus. Jesus was raised in Nazareth; Luke tells us where John grew up:

"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel." (Luke 1:80)

This was likely in the wilderness of Judea, an area of barren hills between the Dead Sea and the central mountain range which would include the area between Jericho and Jerusalem.

"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea," (Matt 3:1)
God's Law

Verse 31 is where John actually answers the question of those sent to him. He was baptizing so that the Messiah could be made manifest to Israel. John had the job of announcing the arrival of the Messiah. But what a simple introduction! There was no fanfare, no blowing of trumpets but simply "behold the Lamb of God ..." of which most people wouldn't even have understood the full significance.

"And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." (John 1:32-34)

Because John had never met Jesus, he was given a special sign to indicate that He was the Messiah. John bare record or witnessed or testified (v 19, 31, 34) that Jesus was the Son of God.

"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother." (John 1:35-40)

The two disciples were Andrew and John, the disciple, author of the gospel of John. Rabbi, in Aramaic, means "my great one" and is used as equivalent to "sir." John's disciples addressed him that way (John 3:26). John, writing for a mainly-Greek audience, often provided the original Aramaic words but then always gave the Greek translation.

"Where do you live?" sounds like a trivial question to ask but they likely were looking for an opportunity so spend some quiet time with Him to ask many important questions. The second of John's disciples that visited with Jesus was John (the gospel writer).

"He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." (John 1:41-42)

"Stone" is from the Greek word "petros" meaning a rock or stone. Matthew helps to distinguish the meaning here.

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18)

The stone that Peter was represented more like a pebble as opposed to the word "rock" from the Greek "petra" which referred to something more like bedrock. While we don't see it, Jesus may well have been pointing at Peter when using "petros" and then at Himself when using "petra." Peter was not going to be the cornerstone of the coming Christian church - Jesus was.

"The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." (John 1:43-46)

Nathanael was likely the Bartholomew (means "son of Talmai") mentioned in Mark 3:18. It seems he was also a Galilean, from Cana in Galilee (John 21:2). Philip, Andrew and Peter were from Bethsaida (John 1:44) a town in Galilee and John was also from Galilee as that is where he was fishing with his father (Mark 1:19). So within a few days, Jesus had a group of five disciples all from the Galilee following him. They likely all already knew each other. Nathanael's comment indicates that Nazareth did not have a good reputation.

Galilee in Jesus' Day
"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." (John 1:47-49)

There was likely some significance to Nathanael about Jesus statement. Perhaps Nathanael had shortly before been sitting under his fig tree earnestly praying or reading about the promised Messiah.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." (John 1:50-51)

The phrase "verily, verily" is used 25 times in the New Testament, every time in John's gospel. Verily is from a Greek word that is often rendered in the King James Bible as "amen."

This is an interesting word. Its origin is from the Hebrew word amen (Strong's H543) comprised of the Hebrew letters "aleph," "mem" and "nun" which are basically equivalent to the English letters a, m and n. It is pronounced very similarly to our word "amen;" or perhaps more like "aw-mane."

It has been transliterated (To transliterate is to write the words or letters in the characters of another alphabet. Example: the Greek word logos can be transliterated as "logos.") from Hebrew into Greek as the word αμην (Strong's G281) pronounced as "am-ane." From the Greek, it has been transliterated into Latin and English and many other languages, so that it is an almost universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech.

The word is directly related and very close to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam, Strong's H539), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly," an expression of absolute trust and confidence.

Like the ladder in Jacob's dream at Bethel (Gen 28:22), Jesus is the connecting link between man and God. Related verses are:

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (John 3:13)
"What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" (John 6:62)
That Jesus is the connecting link corresponds to what we saw in John 1:18 - Jesus, being the one closest to the Father, can show us what the Father is really like - just like Himself - and thus help us to connect to God our Father.  

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The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
God always forgives!


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