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The Unknown Jesus

John 1:24-28

John the Baptist was a real puzzle to the official religious leaders.  They did not know who had given him the spiritual authority in his preaching, which was recognised by the crowds.  Baptising non-Jews was an official priestly function.  Although John’s father had been a priest, the Baptiser was not part of the authorised hierarchy; but also, John was baptising circumcised Jews who had already considered themselves part of God’s people.  So, what was he doing?

Announcing Jesus

John 1:29

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist announced Jesus to the world.  Interestingly, he did not proclaim the Saviour as a great teacher, example, prophet, healer or wise man – but as the Lamb of God.  Although that might be an unusual title to some of us, its significance would have been clearly understood by his Jewish hearers.  The Lamb of God could only mean one thing: the Lamb was to be a sacrifice. The Lamb was born to die.  

Only a Part of God's Master Plan

John 1:30-34

Although John the Baptist was a close relative of Jesus, and John’s parents would have told him about God’s special calling on his life (Luke 1:11-17), he did not presume to manage Jesus or manipulate the Saviour into His ministry.  Quite the reverse: he said that he did not even know for certain that Jesus was God’s Messiah!  All John knew was that God would reveal His Son quite distinctly.  And so, when Jesus came out of the River Jordan, and the dove settled on Him, John knew that He was God the Son.

From Promise to Fulfilment

John 1:35-39

John the Baptist had attracted disciples [the Bible word means learners or pupils] who had been impressed with his message and were looking forward to meeting God’s Messiah.  The day after Jesus’ baptism, when John the Baptist announced Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), Jesus was back at the River Jordan.  John pointed Him out to two of his disciples giving Him the same title, ‘Lamb of God’.  Having identified Jesus, the two men left John to follow Jesus.

Passing the Word On

John 1:40-42

Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist before he met Jesus (John 1:35).  But when he heard that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36), he turned to follow Him.  Having spent a day with Jesus (John 1:38-39), and seeing something of His amazingly unique character, Andrew understood who Jesus was.  Excitedly, he then went back home to the lakeside of Bethsaida (John 1:44) and looked for his fisherman brother, Simon.  When he found him, Andrew said, “We have found the Messiah!”

A Simple Command

John 1:43-44

Simon Peter and Andrew had just met with Jesus in the home where He was staying (John 1:40-42).  The next day Jesus was on the move again.  He decided to visit the area around Lake Galilee.  Everything Jesus did was intentional, and He had come to call Philip and Nathanael.  Philip lived in Bethsaida, which was also Andrew’s and Peter’s home; it was a small fishing village on the north side of Lake Galilee, not far from the main town of the area, Capernaum.  

God in Unexpected Places

John 1:45-46

Nazareth did not have a good reputation.  Many Gentiles who passed through on the nearby trade roads, bringing their own pagan values, and the Roman army, had brutalised its religious culture.  Trading and money spoke loudly in Nazareth, which had no reputation for holiness.  So, when Philip found his friend Nathanael, and told him about Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael was not impressed.  He came from Cana (John 21:2), about 10 miles from Nazareth.  He knew its reputation.  How could God’s Messiah possibly be the son of a carpenter from Nazareth?

God Sees Us While We Are Looking For Him

John 1:47-51

Nathanael had been introduced to Jesus by Philip who invited him to ‘Come and see’ (John 1:46).  But even as Nathanael was walking down the road towards Jesus, Jesus knew all about him.  Jesus never flatters people but knew that Nathanael was a man who lived honestly and in awe of God.  Jesus called out, for all to hear, that this man was a true Israelite in whom there was nothing false.  

The Time To Take Action

John 2:1-5

John’s first chapter includes what looks like his personal eye witness accounts of the first three days of Jesus’ ministry after His baptism (John 1:29; John 1:35; John 1:43).  Jesus had called His disciples and initially made His ministry base in the region of Galilee.  Having arrived at Cana, the home-town of Nathanael (John 21:2), a wedding feast was well under way.  It might have lasted a week. To the embarrassment of the host, the wine had all been drunk and the feast was still going on.  So Jesus’ mother informed Jesus, believing that He could resolve the problem.

Jesus Does Everything Excellently

John 2:6-11

Jesus, His mother and His disciples had all been invited as guests to a wedding at Cana (John 2:1-2).  This village was about eight miles north of Nazareth, and the place where the disciple Nathanael came from (John 21:2).  They had no official role; it was not their responsibility to do anything except to enjoy the celebration.  But the wedding feast had run into a crisis.  All the wine had been drunk and the feast was still going on.  It would have been shameful for the host to be so rude to his guests.  Jesus’ mother told Him of the problem, also telling the servants to do whatever Jesus