December 7, 2013
Continuing with the series on the the spoken words of Jesus Christ, the words written in red……
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had at their fingertips much information on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. At issue for each of them was what to include in the books we know as the Gospels. Directed by the Holy Spirit, Matthew assembled facts concerning Christ as King. Christ’s words written in red in Matthew reflect that He is the sovereign one. Mark emphasized Christ’s role as a suffering servant. The words of Christ in Mark bear this out. Luke gathered info concerning Christ as the Son of Man, emphasizing His humanity. Christ’s words in Luke confirm his humanity. Lastly, John presented our Lord as the Son of God. Christ’ words in the gospel of John highlight the fact that He is God.
We will begin our look at the amazing Bible words written in red by combing through the gospel of John. The second person of the Trinity, the the Lord Jesus Christ, created this universe with His spoken word, fashioned Adam from the clay breathing His own life into him, and took on Himself a physical flesh and blood body. He was born into this world via the womb of a young virgin named Mary. He grew to manhood and began His public ministry.
The first recorded words of Jesus Christ in John came immediately after John introduced Him as the Lamb of God (John 1:36). Two potential disciples began to follow. Jesus asked them, “What do you seek?” He was asking them (and us) what they were seeking from Him. We need to ask that same question. What do we want from Christ? They responded by asking, “Where are you staying?” Jesus said simply, “Come and see.” This is His first recorded invitation. He wasn’t asking them to come to the house where He lived, but He was inviting them (and us) to come into His world and see amazing spiritual truths that would forever change their lives (and ours).
One of these followers was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew quickly went to his brother and told Him that he had found the Messiah. This gives us a simple but insightful way to begin to share our faith. We should take the news of our meeting Jesus Christ to our relatives first – those whom we love most. What an obvious place to start, right! What are we to say? Our witness should be that we have found the Lord Jesus Christ. The way to do this is by sharing the gospel with them. Note what Andrew did next. Andrew found Peter, and he brought him to Jesus. That’s not complicated! We are likewise to bring our family members to Christ. We cannot make them believe in Him but we can bring them to Him, giving them the opportunity.
When Jesus saw Peter, He said, “You are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas,” which is translated “A Stone.” Christ’s deity immediately shines through. He called Peter by name. Peter must have been thrilled. It was only natural for the God-Man to recognize Peter; He created him. He had also fashioned all of Peter’s days before he was ever born (Psalm 139:16). He named him with the Aramaic name, Cephas, a rock. Peter was destined by the Christ to be one of the foundation blocks of the early church (Matthew 16:18). This should give us great confidence that God knows every believer intimately and has a special purpose for each.
The Lord Jesus spoke these simple words to Phillip: “Follow Me.” I believe that Christ said it simply and softly. In like manner, Jesus Christ calls every believer out from the world by the gospel to follow Him (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). His soft voice-print “Follow Me,” can be heard in the minds of those who heed His gospel and believe it. Jesus Christ actually calls us to Himself by name (John 10:3).
Phillip thought of a friend – Nathaniel – found him and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” The targets for our sharing our faith should be first family then friends. Nathaniel asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathaniel knew the history of Nazareth in his day. It was a poor city and no one of any prominence could possibly come from there, surely. Nathaniel at this point did not realize that Jesus Christ was going to focus in on the poor and helpless of the earth, not the wealthy or the strong. Paul later would challenge the Corinthian church to take a look at the people sitting around them. They would recognize that the wise, strong, and those of nobility were in short supply. In fact, God has chosen those whom the world thinks are foolish, weak, and nobodies (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). The reason? So that God will receive all the praise for their salvation.
Phillip answered Nathaniel with the now familiar, “Come and see.” And did Nathaniel ever see! When Jesus saw Nathaniel walking up, He said to him, “Behold and Israelite in whom that is no guile.” Or more literally, Behold a son of Jacob (the name means deceiver because Jacob was) in whom there is no deceit (no deceit in Nathaniel). Jesus knew Nathaniel’s character. He knew him intimately. Nathaniel was astonished! He asked Jesus how He could possibly know Him. Jesus then flashed His ID card by saying, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathaniel began immediately connecting the dots. The fig tree was not in the area and yet Jesus had seen him? How was this possible? God is everywhere present, that’s how. Nathaniel responded: Teacher, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel. It’s really you! Wow!
Nathaniel was going to need special motivation to throw caution to the wind and share the gospel. For this reason, our Lord did not stop there. His written in red words continued to flow with amazing power. “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these. . . Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” Christ is saying, Nathaniel if you thought my reference to Jacob was amazing then listen to this. You do remember Jacob’s ladder, don’t you? Do you recall when Jacob saw the angels coming down from heaven and going up into heaven? You shall see heaven open and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. Jacob’s dream was a beautiful prophecy that one day God was going to come down to man and then go back again. Christ is telling Nathaniel that Jacob’s ladder was speaking of Him (Genesis 28:12). I’m the One, Nathaniel. I’m that Ladder! Nathaniel – and we – should be sufficiently motivated. What amazing words! The ladder – the Lord Jesus Christ – is the way to heaven (John 14:6). Allow the word of Christ to richly dwell in you!