John’s Blog 3 – Disciples in the making

John 1:35-51

As before this blog is the work of Derek McKelvey though it purports to be written by John the writer of the Fourth Gospel. Any heresy is solely mine!

We are reversing the Order of the chapter as Michael Ots of Evangelism Trust will speak this Sunday (7th) evening and the latter part of Chapter one suits his theme. I will deal with verses 19-34 next week (14th). I trust John and you will forgive us!

 It is hard to make people understand how charismatic, engaging and on fire John (the Baptist) was. There was a whole crowd of us, young people who wanted more than the prayers and reading at synagogue – who felt let down by the complacency of so many of the elders and the lack of passion in the people. When we spoke we were told ‘grow up’ – that’s what we wanted to do but to grow up into God not into complacency. And then John appeared.

Different isn’t the word! I think they would have fainted if he’d turned up at synagogue looking like that!

But more of him next week – today I want to focus on what happened after the Baptism[1] – as soon as John saw Him he said: ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. In a funny way Peter[2] would say he didn’t need to say it – he (we) knew this was the man that John had been waiting for. There was just something about him so that we found ourselves wandering after him. And he turned and said ‘What do you want?’ I suppose if we had known what we wanted we might have said ‘to be with you!’ but the best we could manage was ‘Where are you staying?’  ‘Come and see’ he said – and we did. And we saw so much that’s why I write this book.

It started the very next day – he found Philip and he rushed off to get Nathanael[3] – you need to know who Nathanel was – he was one of those who prayed often for the Messiah, long and hard ‘under the fig tree’ he prayed but there had been so many false Messiahs down the years that he needed to be sure. He knew his prophets – the Messiah is from Bethlehem not Nazareth (a one horse town if there ever was one). But what a change! ‘Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree’.  Only the Christ would have known where he went to pray for the coming of Messiah.[4]  Nathanael was convinced  and remained so. For he and we were promised so much more – we would see Heaven open and angels ascending and descending – Jacob’s Ladder – but we saw so much more. ‘Come and See’ he said – and he was right.

[1] John does not mention Christ’s Baptism but it is implicit in verses 32-34.

[2] Peter, and an unnamed other, are noted as being present. John does not tell us if he or James was the other. We can only speculate that they (the four cousins Andrew Peter James and John) were, as in the other gospels, among the first to follow.

[3] The identity of Nathanael has caused much speculation as he does not appear  in the other gospels – but Bartholomew appears in all the lists of the twelve. Since Nathanael is a first name and Bartholomew a surname that may be the simple explanation. They are one and the same person.

[4] Christ and Messiah are the same thing – the Greek and the Hebrew respectively for the ‘Anointed One”.