John Message #4 “The Titles of Jesus and the Story of Nathanael Chapter One” Ed Miller, Dec. 6, 2023

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As we come to the word of the Lord, there is a principle of Bible Study, which is total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit, that always applies when we’re studying the word of God and when we’re just living day by day.  We need to trust the Holy Spirit.  I want to share this verse from Job 42:5, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees Three.”  When I’m going to warn my heart and yours against, is knowing God by hearsay, “I’ve heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear.”  If all we have is what others say, then we’re missing the Lord.  We need to see Him with the eyes of our heart.  With that in mind, let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father, thank You again for who You are, for leaving us this wonderful Bible, and putting in our heart the Holy Spirit to turn our eyes to Jesus.  So, we commit this session unto You and pray that by Your grace You would speak to our hearts.  Protect Your people from anything that might be from me and just flesh and blood.  We thank You in advance that You’re going to meet with us this morning, because we ask it and claim it in the name of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Once again, welcome to our meditation of our Lord Jesus in the wonderful gospel of John.  Every book in the Bible presents the Lord Jesus in a way that no other book presents Him in the same way.  So, the gospel of John has a revelation of Christ that no other book gives in the same way.  As you study the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, ask the Lord to reveal that distinctive revelation of Christ which appears in every book, because He delights to do this. 

We’ve begun our meditation on the Lord Jesus in John chapter one verse one, “In the beginning was the Word.  The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  The distinctive revelation of Christ, the clue is given right in the first verse of the gospel of John.  He’s the Word.  The Word is for communication.  He’s the communication between God and between man.  The book opens by expressing God’s great desire to make Himself known.  He longs to make Himself known.  John 1:14, in order for Him to do that, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”  The Word, who is Jesus, who is God, had to become flesh, the incarnation, and we’re about ready to celebrate it this season, and why?  It’s because God wanted to communicate with us.  Listen to verse 18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”  God wanted to communicate, and the only way He could do it, to open the lines of communication, is that the Lord Jesus would become incarnate, that the Word would become flesh. 

That revelation, we’ve been talking about it now for our three sessions, is summarized in Hebrews 1:2, “In these last days, He has spoken unto us in Son.”  It doesn’t say “in the Son”, and it doesn’t say “in His Son”.  Most of the accurate translations have that in italics because it’s not in the original.  It just says, “He has spoken to us in Son.”  You’d understand that if it said, “He spoke to us in English,” or in German, or in French, or in Spanish, or some other language, because Jesus IS the language of God.  He has spoken unto us in Son.  Jesus is God’s language.  He’s the Word to communicate God.

So, that’s the distinctive revelation of Jesus in the gospel of John.  He’s the Word, He’s God’s communication, He’s the Logos, He’s God’s desire to make Himself known.  The only way God will ever be explained to my heart and yours is through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By way of review, I want to show you exactly, once again, why John wrote the gospel of John.  We’re not left to guess; we’re not left to wonder.  He spells it out.  John 20:31, “These have been written so that…,” that’s why, “you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”  We divided that verse into three different principles.  Why did John write?  He wants us to know who Jesus is.  He’s the Messiah.  He wants us to trust Jesus, that you might believe, and He wants us to enjoy Jesus, that you might have life in His name.  That’s why John wrote, and that’s what he said, and that’s his testimony.  “I wrote, that you might know Him, that You might trust Him, and that You might enjoy Him.”  So, as we go through John, that’s my prayer, that we’ll know Him better, that we’ll trust Him more, and enjoy Him even more intimately.

For the past few sessions, we’ve been meditating on the first eighteen verses, which commentaries call the prologue of the gospel of John.  The prologue is so full of truth, eighteen verses, but it is packed full, so much that it’s impossible for anyone to reach the bottom.  We can’t plumb the depths of these eighteen verses.  I’m not even going to attempt to review what we’ve looked at so far, or then this lesson would be nothing but review.  I want to move on.  I’m not foolish enough to believe that we’ve exhausted the first eighteen verses.  There are things I left out, and there are things I left out because I don’t have a clue what they mean.  But I know the big thing; these eighteen verses are designed to show how God stooped down, sent His Son, in order that He might communicate with us. 

In our discussion, we looked at the steps.  I took them one by one, but I’ll just sort of mention them now.  The first step He took, of course, was to become flesh.  The next step He took was to indwell us by the Holy Spirit.  And then He made the whole creation, in order to communicate Himself.  And then He put eternity into everyone’s heart, a conscience, in order that He might communicate Himself.  And then He sent down His servants, in order to proclaim the Word of God, in order to communicate Himself.  Then He put His fullness, not in any one person, but in the whole body, the church, and spread the church over the whole world, because every one of us expresses Him in a different way.  All of that He did, in order to make Himself known.  He longs that we have ears to hear when He speaks to the church. 

We closed a couple of weeks ago meditating on verse 16, “Of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”  The entire book is going to be the fullness of the Lord Jesus.  God is going to dip into that fullness and reveal it to us.  When Job was refuting Bildad, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book of Job, but in Job 26:7 he said, “He hung the world on nothing.”  How graphic that is!  Then in verse 10 he said, “He sets up a boundary for light and for darkness.”  In verse 11 he says, “He sets the pillars of heaven, and they tremble at the Lord.”  But then he adds this, Job 26:14, “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; how faint a word we hear of Him.”  Christ’s fullness is so full that the best we’re ever going to get are the fringes of His ways, “How faint a word we hear from Him.”  So, I’m leaving the prologue satisfied and very dissatisfied because I know there’s a lot more in it.  We’ve begun to see just the fringes of His way. 

If someone comes to you and boasts, “I know the Lord,” we’re all toddlers, and we’re all babies.  We don’t know the Lord; we’re starting to know the Lord.  We know Him a little bit, you know a little and I know a little, but we don’t know the Lord.  You know who the Lord is; He’s infinite and we can’t fully know the Lord, but His great desire is to reveal the Word, the Logos, to communicate His Son, and all of that because He wants us to know Him, to trust Him and to enjoy Him.

Speaking of His fullness, just to emphasize it again, we only have just a little picture of it.  Each one of us has a measure.  We went through that last time, just a measure of His fullness.  The whole church is called in Ephesians 1:23, “His body, the fullness of Him that fills all and all.”  But even that is limited.  The church that’s alive on the earth, and those that  have gone to heaven and those not yet born, the church is just the fringes of His ways.  Even the Bible does not contain all the fullness of the Lord.  The fullness of the Lord is in the Lord Himself, and we can only begin to touch it.  John 1:16, “Of His fullness we have all received.”

With that as review, let’s begin our fresh material.  After the prologue which we spent three weeks on, there are still thirty-two more verses in this first chapter.  I know chapters and verses were made by man, and they aren’t inspired, but they’re helpful.  So, pretty much, we’re going to stick with the chapter divisions.  However, there will be a couple of exceptions.  I think in a couple of cases the chapter breaks right in the middle of the revelation of Christ.  So, I’m going to try to bring that together when we come to it.

Let me begin by pointing out the terminal points of John 1, in other words, how it begins and how it ends.  John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God,” and we know that’s Jesus because the Word became flesh.  So, the book begins with a revelation of, not only the Son of God, but God the Son.  He’s God, He’s the Son.  How does the book end?  Look at the last verse, John 1:51, “And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man,” that expression, “the Son of Man.”  The beginning started with “the Son of God,” and it ended with “the Son of Man”. 

In an earlier study I asked the question, “When Jesus became the Son of Man, how long was that decision for?”  We know He had to humble Himself and become flesh, to explain God, to communicate His Father.  We know He was born of a virgin, but how long did that last?  Was that thirty-three and a half years?  Was that thirty years of obscurity, and then three and a half years of ministry?  When did that culminate?  We know He died for us, and we know He was buried, and we know He rose again, and we know He ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the holy Father God, but is that when the human side ended?  Many Christians think that after His ascension, He went back to being what He was before.  Before He came He was God the Son, and then He became God the Man for a little while and then went back to being God the Son.

I hope you catch the wonder of the decision that God made, especially as Christmas is coming upon us.  I hope this truth captures your heart.  It’s one thing to agree to something if it’s a short period of time.  For example, if someone says, “Will you take care of my pet?  Will you take care of my dog, or my cat, or my gerbil, or my bird?”  The first question you ask is, “How long do I have to take care of your pet?”  We want an answer to that because usually after a short period we want some relief.  “Will you take care of my kids?”  “Well, for how long do you want me to babysit?”  “Well, we’re just thinking until they get married and have there own kids.” 

There’s a strong illustration in the martyrdom of Stephen.  Remember that Stephen, the martyr, was about four years after Jesus went to heaven and sat at the right hand of God.  So, He’s glorified now, and He’s in heaven.  He’s been there for four years.  When Stephen was stoned to death, listen to Acts 7:55&56, “Being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intensely into heaven, and he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens open up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’”  He’s the Son of Man in heaven, after four years.  He’s still the Son of Man. 

When the Lord made a decision to become man, it wasn’t for thirty-three and a half years.  In order to communicate Himself, He said, “I will have to become man forever, as ages roll upon ages.”  The Apostle Paul was saved seven years after God was glorified, and when he gave his testimony in Acts 22, here’s what he said, “’Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He answered and said, ‘I’m Jesus, the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’”  The Nazarene?  I thought that belonged to earth.  He still is the Nazarene in heaven, and He’s still the Son of Man.  All through eternity He’s going to be the Son of Man.  We just sort of take that la, la, la, a piece of theology, but that’s what it took to save you, and that’s what it took to save me.  He had to become man forever, and forever He will be the God-man in heaven.  We’ll look at that a little closer as we move on.

I want to return to that verse 16, “Of His fullness we’ve all received, and grace upon grace.”  I want to look more at the events in verses 19-51, in other words, following the prologue.  What God is going to begin doing now and for the rest of the book, He’s going to be unfolding the fullness of Jesus.  In a special way, in chapter one He does something.  He didn’t do it in chapter two, three or any other chapter.  He does it in chapter one, and only chapter one, and I have an idea that He didn’t do it anywhere else in the New Testament–only in chapter one.  What I’m going to do is an overview of these remaining verses, and I want to call attention to the various titles, descriptions and attributes that are given to the Lord Jesus.  Each title you could spend a lot of time on; each one has a meaning of it’s own.  He’s the baptizer with the Holy Spirit; well, we could spend a whole day talking about that.  But what I want to do is not explain any of the titles.  I just want to list them and mention them.  I just want you to see how full chapter one is of Jesus, how many titles, and how different are those titles. 

The titles I’m going to mention are in addition to the ones that we’ve already looked at in the prologue.  In case you forgot, He’s the Word, He’s God, He’s the Creator, He’s Light, He’s the Life, He’s the only begotten from the Father, He’s Jesus Christ, He’s the only begotten God.  That’s just in the first seventeen verses.  In addition to those, he begins to list others.  As we go through, don’t try to understand these titles; I just want you to listen to them.

John 1:30, and we’ve already discussed this a little, “He said, ‘In behalf of whom I said that after Me comes a man who has a higher rank thank I; He existed before Me.”  The description is the pre-existent one.  John 1:33, “This is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.”  That’s quite a title!  Pretty much, as I said, I’m just going to mention these titles.  John 1:34, “I myself have seen and testified that this is the Son of God,” the pre-existent One, the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, the Son of God.  John 1:38, “They said to Him, ‘Rabbi,’ which translated means teacher.”  He’s the rabbi; He’s the Teacher.  John 1:41, “We have found Messiah, which translated is Christ.”  He’s the pre-existent One, He’s the One that baptizes with the Holy Spirit, He’s the Son of God, He’s rabbi, He’s the Teacher, He’s the Messiah, He’s the Christ, and remember the ones we’ve already done; He’s the Word, He’s God, He’s Creator, He’s Light, He’s Life, He’s the only begotten from the Father, He’s Jesus Christ, He’s the only begotten God, He’s the Lord, He’s the Lamb of God, He’s the pre-existent One, He’s the One that baptizes in the Holy Spirit, He’s the Son of God, He’s the rabbi, He’s the Teacher, He’s Messiah, He’s Christ.  This is all in one chapter, and we’re not done.  John 1:45, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.”  He’s the summary of the whole Old Testament.  He’s the One of whom the prophets wrote and of whom Moses wrote.  In that same verse, “He’s the son of Joseph, He’s Jesus of Nazarareth.”  I read a poem.  I don’t know who wrote it:

Lord, engrave it on my heart,

That Thou the one thing needful art.

I could from all things parted be,

But never, never Christ from Thee.

Exactly right!  Look at John 1:49, “Nathaniel answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, You’re the King of Israel,’” two more titles.  John 1:1, “The Word, God,” verse 3, “Creator,” verse 4, “Light,” verse 14, “The only begotten of the Father,” verse 17, “Jesus Christ,” verse 14, “He’s God,” verse 23, “He’s the Lord,” verse 29, “The Lamb that takes away the sin of the world,” verse 14, “The pre-existent One,” verse 33, “The One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit,” verse 34, “The Son of God,” verse 38, “Rabbi, Teacher,” verse 41, “Messiah, Christ,” verse 45, “The One of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote,” verse 46, “Jesus of Nazareth,” verse 45, “Son of Joseph,” verse 49, “King of Israel.”  Do you get the point?  It’s so amazing that one chapter would just pile on all the descriptions of the Lord right after he talks about the fullness of Christ.  In other word, John chapter one is just saying, “Jesus is everything.  He’s not just a little bit; He’s full.  He’s so great and He’s so infinite,” and John begins the gospel just by dumping on us.  As you study that book you can be in every direction studying every one of those titles.

You are going to find out as you go on in the Lord with your walk with Him that different titles of the Lord, different descriptions are going to mean different things to you at different times.  In other words, at some time you might need to see Him as the Lamb of God, and other times you might need to see Him as the Creator when you’re going through suffering, who can create what it takes to go through that.  Sometimes you need to see Him as the source of Life or as the Lord or as the King.  As you go on you’re going to meet Him in all of these different ways.  Sometimes He’s Shepherd and sometimes He’s Provider and sometimes He’s Comforter and sometimes He’s Guide and sometimes He’s Smelter, and sometime He’s the Husband who is going to chasten you.  We need to see Him in all these different ways, and there are many different ways, unlimited ways.

Before I leave this idea of all the titles in chapter one, I want to give just two warnings about these many, many titles that we read, and the many descriptions.  The first warning is that Jesus is not a pie.  Some people cut Him up like a pie, and they cut up little slices, and they say, “I have Jesus as Savior, but I haven’t had Him as Lord, and I didn’t have Him as Priest, yet.”  He’s not a pie; He’s a Person, and if you have the Person, you have all of Him.  If I have the Person, I have all of Him.  I accepted Christ as my Savior, and I also got Him as my Lord, and I also got Him as my Priest.  I haven’t yet entered into the fullness of those things, but don’t suggest that you don’t have Him as the Baptizer of the Holy Spirit or any other of these things.  He is a Person, and all His titles and all His attributes and all of His offices, and every description is in the Person. 

When I married my Lillian, it was a wonderful day, I received her; I received a life companion, I received a faithful wife, I received a mother of my children, a grandmother of my grandchildren, a great-grandmother of my great-grandchildren.  She’s a person; when I accepted her, I accepted a housekeeper, I accepted a cook, I accepted a friend, I accepted a collector of stuff.

I have a son-in-law, and I think you know Ben Griffith.  I’ve seen a picture of him in his military uniform; that’s Ben in the Navy.  I see him in a tuxedo at the altar; that’s Ben as the husband of my daughter.  I see him at his desk in a suit; that’s Ben the businessman.  I saw him sailing a boat; that’s Ben the fun-lover in his bathing suit; I see him with his children, and that’s Ben the family man.  He’s the same person; he’s fun-loving Ben, Ben the officer and Ben the family man, Ben the father and Ben the grandfather and the husband, and Ben the missionary, and Ben the believer in Christ—many hats.  All I’m suggesting is don’t fall into the trap of saying, “Have you already received Christ as your Priest?  You need to.”  No, you don’t; you already have Him as your Priest.  You have everything He is.  You have Him.  Paul didn’t have Christ any more than you have.  I don’t have Christ and you don’t have Christ more than I do.  We all have the same Christ in all of His fullness.  John 1:16, “Of His fullness, we’ve all received.”  So, that’s the first caution; don’t divide Him up and think you don’t have all of Him.  Every one of us has all of Him.

The second caution is, as you come to these titles, remember that apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, you aren’t going to enter in to that title.  That’s so basic.  I used to think, “I need to know Jesus as the rock.  So, I’m going to take my concordance and I’m going to trace ‘rock’ all the way through my concordance, and then I’ll know Jesus as the rock.”  No, no, no, no, I don’t know Jesus as the rock until the Holy Spirit reveals Him.  I’m not saying, “Don’t go through the concordance.”  Go through the concordance, and study “shepherd”, but you can know all about a shepherd and never know the Lord as your Shepherd until the Holy Spirit reveals Him.  Many Christians can tell you a doctrine about the Lamb and about the King and about the Comforter, but they don’t know squat about forgiveness, surrender and peace.  So, we need to have the Holy Spirit show us these things.  Study the titles, but remember that you have all of Jesus.  Study all there is to know about the Lord, but then come as a little child before the Holy Spirit and say, “Lord, make this real to me; all that I’ve studied, I want that to be real.”

To conclude this brief overview of chapter one, we’re coming back to chapter one, Lord willing next time, but I want to look at the end of chapter one, the story of Nathanael.  It’s only seven verses, so I’m going to read it.  John 1:45,

“Phillip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.’  Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’  Phillip said to him, ‘Come and see.’  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite in deed in whom there is no deceit or guile.’  Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jeus answered and said to him, ‘Before Phillips called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’  Nathanael answered Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.’  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?  You’ll see greater things than these.’  And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you that you’ll see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’”

Before I tell you Nathaniel’s story, I want to give you a couple of technical points first, historical facts that I think will help us as we get into the story.  The first historical fact is to identify Nathanael.  John 21:1&2,

“After these things, Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.  He manifested Himself in this way.  Simon Peter and Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Canaan and Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee and two others of his disciples, they were together.”

What I want you to see from that verse is that Nathanael is one of the twelve disciples.  He’s mentioned as a disciple.  The reason I bring that up is because the question comes that God has given us four lists of disciples, one in Matthew 10, one in Mark 3, one in Luke 6, and one in Acts 1 (actually, that’s eleven, because Judas is absent at that time.)  But Nathanael is not listed in those lists of twelve disciples in all four of the gospels.  So, you might say, “How do you know he’s a disciple?”  He has another name, and his other name is Bartholomew.  Bartholomew is the disciple, and that’s Nathanael.  There’s another disciple, also, who has two names.  In Matthew and Mark we read about Thaddeus, the son of James, but in the book of Luke and Acts we read about Judas, the son of James.  It’s exactly the same person.  Bartholomew is Nathanael and Thaddeus is Judas.  I’ll show you why that’s important in a moment.

The second historical reference is the Old Testament reference to the story of Jacob.  When Nathanael was sitting under the fig tree, there’s no question he was meditating on the story of Jacob from Genesis.  We know that as a fact.  Was he reading the story?  Probably not.  The average guy didn’t have the scrolls, but I’m sure he had heard the story, and I know he was thinking about it. 

There are two clear evidences that he was thinking about it.  One, the first words Jesus spoke to him in verse 47, “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit or guile.”  You know that the name “Jacob” was associated with a liar, a deceiver, a heal-snatcher, a crooked man, full of guile and deceit.  When he wrestled the Lord, God changed his name from Jacob to what?  To Israel, chapter 32 of Genesis and verse 28, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel.”  It’s as if Jesus said to Nathanael, “Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no Jacob, no guile, no deceit.”  That’s what He was saying.  Evidently, Nathanael was not a hypocrite like some of those Pharisees were and the religious leaders, and he was real, he was true and honest.  So, when Jesus say him He said, “Oh, I see here an Israelite in whom there is no Jacob.” 

The second clear reference to the Jacob story is in verse 51, “And He said, ‘Truly, I say to you, you’ll see the heavens open, the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  You know that’s a reference to Jacob’s ladder with the angels going up and down.  Genesis 28:12, “He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”  God was at the top of the ladder wanting to bless man at the bottom of the ladder, and in this case it was Jacob, the deceiver, the sinner, and Jacob was at the bottom needing the blessing from God.  There’s only one thing in the middle, and that’s a ladder, a connection, something between man and God.  In John 1:58 it tells you what that ladder was, “You’ll see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  The ladder is Jesus.  John 1 ends with the revelation of the Lord Jesus to Nathanael.

How soon it looks, reading the record, Nathanael was convinced. At first, he was skeptical.  Did you notice that?  John 1:46, “Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’”   And suddenly in verse 49, “Nathanel answered, ‘Rabbi, You’re the Son of God; You’re the King of Israel.’”  May I suggest that there’s a big step between, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth,” and, “You’re the Son of God, the King of Israel.”  What convinced him?  Jesus said two things before his confession.  In verse 47, “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile,” and verse 48, “’How do you know me,’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’”  What is He saying?  Now, clearly, the fig tree was out of sight; it wasn’t seen with the natural eye.  I don’t know of the record, but where is the fig tree?  It’s down the street, it’s around the corner, it’s under the bridge, it’s past the bar, and it’s over in the woods some place.  It’s far away, and Jesus saw him.

He not only saw the fig tree from a distance, He saw a man under the fig tree from a distance.  He not only saw the man under the fig tree from a distance, but He saw his heart from a distance, “An Israelite in whom there is no guile.”  He not only saw the tree and the man and his heart, but He also saw his mind; He knew what he was thinking about, the Jacob story.  All of that put together was a powerful influence on Nathanael.  John 1:48, “He asks, ‘How do you know me?’”  He didn’t say, “How did you know where I was sitting, or how did you know what I was meditating on?”  He didn’t say that.  He looked at Jesus and he knew that Jesus knew him; He saw right to his core.  That was what caused him to say, “You are the Son of God and You are the King of Israel.”

I want to make a couple of observations as we get ready to close.  There’s an interesting Greek word that God uses five times at the end of John 1.  It’s the word “Heurisko”.  It’s the word “found”.  In verse 41 Andrew finds Peter.  In verse 41, “We have found Messiah.”  In verse 43, Jesus finds Phillip.  In verse 45, Phillip finds Nathanael, and then he says, “We’ve found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote.”  The Greek word “Heurisko” is from the same root that we get our word “Eureka”.  Have you ever heard of Eureka?  “Eureka!  I found it!”  It’s an exaltation; it’s an explanation, a surprise, “Whoa, look, I found it!”  It’s a discovery, and the chapter one of John ends with discovery, “Eureka, I’ve found it!”  Nathanael had his eyes open to discover Jesus, and suddenly he just said, “Eureka, I have found it!”  That’s the first observation.

The second observation has to do with a great principle.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m happy to announce to you that there are no ends to your “eurekas”, there are no ends to your discovery.  You’re going to be continually discovering Christ to the wonder of your heart.  Nathanael was impressed because Jesus saw him, his heart, when he was out of sight, under a fig tree, and He read his mind and He knew what He was thinking about.  But listen to what Jesus said in response to that, verse 50, “’You will see greater things than these,’ and He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, you’ll see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  Phillip got all excited, and Jesus said, “You believe Me because I saw you under the fig tree?”  Now, this is not in your Bible; this is Miller reverse, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”  That’s what He is saying, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”  Jesus returned to the Jacob story and identified Himself as the ladder.  Jacob didn’t know it, but Jesus said, “I’m the ladder; there’s no other connection to God.  I’m the Word, I’m the One that communicates, I’m the One that explains God, I’m the One that has the fullness of God, and there is no other.”  The angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man; He is the connection.

I told you earlier that Nathanael was a disciple.  Now let’s tie that into the story.  He’s one of the twelve disciples.  He was so impressed, “Eureka! He saw me under the fig tree!”  He’s a disciple.  How do you think he shouted eureka when Jesus turned water into wine?  It’s because he was there.  And how do you think he felt when Jesus cured the nobleman’s son?  He said, “Eureka!  You’re right; I haven’t seen anything.”  And when he saw the draft of fishes, “Eureka!”  And when Jesus cast out demons, he couldn’t believe it, “Eureka!” again.  And then Jesus heals a leper, and he says, “Eureka!”  And He heals a crippled man, and he says, “Eureka!”  And He heals a blind man, and he says, “Eureka!”  And He raises the dead, and he says, “Eureka!”  There’s no end to discovery of Christ.  You’ve only begun to know the Lord, and I’ve only begun to know the Lord, and He wants us to be moving forward day by day with “Eureka!”

The Christian life is nothing but a continual discovery of Jesus.  I already told you, you already have all of Jesus.  That day you bowed and gave your heart to Christ, He couldn’t give you more; He gave Himself; He gave Jesus.  He’ll never give you anything else, except one thing, and that’s eyes to see it.  That’s the only thing you’ll ever get—eyes to see what you already have.  You have a full Christ, but you need to see Him more and more, and every experience will be a fresh “Eureka!”

So, now let me close by giving the theology of all of this.  John 1 is a glorious chapter, and I hope you’ve seen that, but here’s the theology.  In God’s revelation of Himself to man, He has made Jesus Christ central in the Godhead.  I’ll say it another way.  All of God’s dealing with you must come through Jesus Christ, and all of your dealings with God, must go through Jesus Christ.  He’s the Mediator, He’s the ladder, He’s the communication, He’s the Word, He’s the One that explains God.  There is no other knowledge of God.  There’s one Mediator between God and man—the man Christ Jesus.

I used to think that I was neglecting God the Father because I didn’t spend time on God the Father.  I was so busy looking to Jesus that I felt guilty that I was neglecting God the Father.  Then I went through a whole series.  I grew up during that charismatic movement in the Holy Spirit, and I thought that I was neglecting God the Holy Spirit.  I’m one of those that locked myself in a closet and fasted and prayed for tongues and gifts and all kinds of things, but do you know what I discovered?  I discovered that God doesn’t have a second blessing; He only has one blessing and a constant rediscovery of that blessing.  It’s just Christ and rediscovering Him all over again.  I found out that by spending time with God the Father, I was neglecting Him.  And by spending time with God the Holy Spirit, I was neglecting Him.  The only way not to neglect the Father and neglect the Holy Spirit is to focus on His Son the Lord Jesus.  God the Father wants you to know Jesus; God the Spirit is constantly pointing you to Christ.  We’re not supposed to focus on the Father.  If you’ve seen Me, said Jesus, you’ve seen the Father. 

That’s the only connection in time and in eternity.  You will never know God apart from Jesus in heaven, and I will never know God apart from Jesus in heaven.  That was His stooping love that He would come as the God-man, so that we could know God.  The only way in God’s revelation of Himself to us, He has made Christ central in the Godhead.

I want to close with three verses, Exodus 33:20, this is spoken to Moses, “You can not see My face, for no man can see Me and live.”  No one can see the face of God and survive.  It’s not possible.  1 Timothy 6:16, “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to Him be honor and eternal dominion.  Amen.”  Even in heaven it’s unapproachable light, even with your glorified body, but here is a eureka for you;  2 Corinthians 4:6, “God, who said that light shall shine out darkness is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  I can’t look in the face of God, but I can look in the face of Christ; I can look in the face of Jesus.  That’s how I will see God.  That’s how you will see God.  All through eternity it’s going to be through the face of our Lord Jesus. 

So, let’s live under an open heaven, like Nathanael, and let’s confess we’ve seen Him.  That’s John chapter one; He’s the Word, He’s everything, He’s the One that has fullness, and we find Him, “Eureka”, He’s the ladder.  Let’s pray.

Father, thank You for your precious Word, not what we think it means, but what You’ve inspired it to mean.  Will you work that in our hearts, please?  Thank You for John chapter one and continue to guide us as we go back and look again at other precious things.  Thank You for the refreshments provided and guide our fellowship together.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.