Harmony of the Gospels--Teaching the Life of Christ in Chronological order

 Harmony of the Gospels

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Beyond Jordan
(3) Calls First Disciples
John 1:35-51

The men that Jesus gathered to Him were common men.  They had to be trained by Him and it would take time for them to become strong and faithful.  In the beginning they were often afraid and unsure of themselves.  They would require His constant attention and it would take the events of His Baptism, His transfiguration, the cross and his death, His resurrection, His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost for them to become that group of men who would begin to build His church.

John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to his disciples.  They would bring others to Jesus and later, after John’s death, some of them would begin to follow Him.

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.  (John 1:35-36)

John baptized Jesus and at that time the Holy Spirit identified Him.  Now when he sees Jesus walking by, he points Him out to his disciples and calls Him the “Lamb of God.”

And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  Then Jesus turned, and saith unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say being interpreted, Master.) where dwelleth 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 twelth hour.  (John 1:37-39)

Jesus impressed John’s disciples and they followed Him.  I imagine that they were surprised when Jesus turned around and spoke to them.  All they could think to say was, “’Master, where dwellest thou?” Jesus told them to, “Come and see.”  Psalms 34:8 says, “Come and see.  Taste of the Lord and see whether or not He is good.”  Today, many can declare that He is good and that He saves to the uttermost.

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  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 1:40-42)

This man Simon was as weak as water.  When Jesus told him that he would be a stone man, some may have laughed, maybe even Simon.  But he would become a rock man, who would, on the Day of Pentecost, give the first great sermon of the New Testament, and sweep 3000 people into the church.  ([1]Acts 2:40-41).

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.  (John 1:43-44)

Peter, Andrew and Philip were fisherman.  They knew each other and applied their trade in the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus’ invitation to them was a simple one, “Follow me.”

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 come out of Nazareth?  Philip saith unto him, Come and see.  (John 1:45-46)

Nathanael was a wise guy and he made a wise crack, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth.”  He may have laughed at his own joke, but I don’t think that Philip laughed.  He just said, “Come and see.”  That is the important thing.  We need to come to Him and see Him for who He is; the Son of God and our Savior.

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.  (John 1:47)

Although he is a wise cracker, Jesus says that he is not deceitful.

Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knoweth 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 1:48-49)

The Lord had two doubters among His disciples.  In the beginning it was Nathanael; at the end it was Thomas.  Even though Nathanael began by doubting, he would end the interview by declaring that Jesus is the Son of God.  Now he knows that someone very important did come out of Nazareth.

Jesus answered and said unto him, because I said unto thee, I saw thee under a fig tree, believest thou?  Thou shalt see greater things than these.  (John 1:50)

Jesus gave Nathanael a rebuke saying, “Do you believe just because I told you something about yourself?”  Jesus promised him that he would see much greater things in the future.  In the next three years, Nathanael would see many things that were greater than this.

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 1:51)

Jesus says that He is a ladder, and that you will see angels ascending into heaven upon the Son of Man and returning on the Son of Man.  Angels had ministered to Him and they were subject to Him.  He was given charge over the angels.  He also said that Nathanael would see the heavens open.  When that happens, he will see the Father at the top of the ladder and he will say of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

The ladder is Christ and only in Him can you come into contact with God.  In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  He is not a ladder that you climb; but one that you trust, one that you believe in and rest upon.  That is the important thing to see here.

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([1]Acts 2:40-41; NKJV) "And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation ."  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them."

Be saved from this perverse generation—Separate yourselves from them: be ye saved, the power is present with you; make a proper use of it, and ye shall be delivered from their obstinate unbelief, and the punishment that awaits it in the destruction of them and their city by the Romans.

They that gladly received his word—The word (gladly), which signifies joyfully, readily, willingly, implies that they approved of the doctrine delivered; that they were glad to hear of this way of salvation; and that they began immediately to act according to its dictates. Then they who approved of their words consorted with them. Were baptized—That is, in the name of Jesus, Acts 2:38, for this was the criterion of a Jew's conversion; and when a Jew had received baptism in this name he was excluded from all communication with his countrymen; and no man would have forfeited such privileges but on the fullest and clearest conviction. This baptism was a very powerful means to prevent their apostasy; they had, by receiving baptism in the name of Jesus, renounced Judaism, and all the political advantages connected with it; and they found it indispensably necessary to make the best use of that holy religion which they had received in its stead. Dr. Lightfoot has well remarked, that the Gentiles who received the Christian doctrine were baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; whereas the Jewish converts, for the reasons already given, were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Were added—three thousand souls—They went over from one party to another. The Greek writers make use of this verb to signify that act by which cities, towns, or provinces changed their masters, and put themselves under another government. So these 3000 persons left the scribes and Pharisees, and put themselves under the teaching of the apostles, professing the Christian doctrine, and acknowledging that Christ was come, and that he who was lately crucified by the Jews was the promised and only Messiah; and in this faith they were baptized.

These 3000 were not converted under one discourse, nor in one place, nor by one person. All the apostles preached, some in one language, and some in another; and not in one house—for where was there one at that time that could hold such a multitude of people? For, out of the multitudes that heard, 3000 were converted; and if one in five was converted it must have been a very large proportion. The truth seems to by this: All the apostles preached in different, parts of the city, during the course of that day; and in that day, 3000 converts were the fruits of the conjoint exertions of these holy men. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that the account in this place is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 110:1, etc.: The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand; this refers to the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, Psalm 110:3. This was the day of his power; and while the apostles proclaimed his death, resurrection, and ascension, the people came willingly in, and embraced the doctrines of Christianity.—Adam Clarke's Commentary


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