The Disciple-Making Saviour
Text: John 1:43-51
In John 1:11 we were told his own received Him not, and largely this is true, and we’re going to see that in John’s gospel. But here in our passage we are brought into another day where we see that it wasn’t entirely the case. Some Jews did believe, and they were significant.
The first testimony John uses is that of John the Baptist, the Forerunner.
The next testimony John uses is that of the disciples who would later be apostles of the Lord, these are the Followers.
This time, instead of John the Baptist being the instrument to point to Jesus for Andrew and John, Jesus actually goes seeking for the next disciple.
Notice the differences – John and Andrew needed their motives challenged. Peter needed to be dealt with from a family member first and then addressed by Christ, but Philip is dealt with like someone shy.
Notice the similarities – called to follow Him. This is a call to the gospel. I wonder is the Lord addressing you with these words tonight?
I. THE DISCIPLES THAT ARE MADE
i) Their home
Philip – v44 – Bethsaida is a small place, “house of fishing.” It’s a fishing village on the northeast tip of the Sea of Galilee. They were all from the same village. Jesus didn’t need to look around to find the best possible people from throughout Israel to make up his disciples. These were going to be great men, but not because they were great in themselves, but because He would make them great. So the Lord could take a bunch of men from a small town and make them the men to turn the world upside down.
Nathaniel – becomes an important part of the followers of the Lord and ends up being an apostle. He is referred to most often as Bartholomew. Only John calls him Nathanael. Bartholomew would be kind of his family name. He lived in another little village called Cana, (Jn 21:2) The place of the first miraculous sign in the next chapter.
ii) Their humility
Jesus didn’t need to look around to find the best possible people from throughout Israel to make up his disciples. These were going to be great men, but not because they were great in themselves, but because He would make them great. So the Lord could take a bunch of men from a small town and make them the men to turn the world upside down.
The truth of the gospel spreads through humble people. That’s how it has generally spread, one soul at a time influenced by another. Sure there are preachers who preach to groups, but the primary way the kingdom goes forward is by the influence of a personal witness.
And Jesus advances his kingdom through humble means. Not by the testimony of the High Priest or others in the religious establishment, but through faithful believers.
II. THE DECLARATIONS THAT ARE MADE
v45 – Clearly Nathaniel was a student of the Bible, otherwise these words would have made no sense to him. v47 – Nathaniel was a sincere man looking for the Messiah. But we notice that all these men knew things about Christ. And followers of Christ must recognize these things.
v41 – Messiah
v45 – subject of the entire OT
v49 – Son of God, King of Israel
III. THE DEPICTION THAT IS MADE
v51 ‘hereafter’ i.e. from now on. It’s a summary of the work of Christ for His people. Heaven is closed without Christ. Christ says you’ll see heaven open. He is Jacob’s ladder.
i) The importance of the statement – Verily.
ii) The Identification in the statement “Son of man” – Christ must be man – Only Christ refers to himself with this title. No man does that. Christ is saying I can only open heaven if I am man.
Stand in the place of man, and open up access to a humanity transformed by the power of the gospel. You might not be able to break habits, but the gospel of Christ enables men to break habits.
Gen 28:12 – Jacob’s ladder touches both earth and heaven. This is Christ.