Summary: Jesus continues to call His Disciples and they reveal that He is the Son of God and Son of Man, King of Israel, and their "rabbi".
The Continual Call of Discipleship John 1:43-51
Jesus continues to call His disciples together in John 1:43-51: The next day (day four of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel of John) Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (He is referring to MESSIAH or CHRIST, which we looked at in v.41: Jesus is the one prophesied in the OT.) 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
More on Discipleship
Jesus teaches more principles of the nature of true discipleship in these verses. Notice that it is JESUS who seeks, He finds, and calls Philip “on purpose” for “His purpose”. Jesus purposefully goes to Galilee, He finds Philip and gives a simple, familiar, yet powerful command by Jesus recorded 20 other times in the Gospels: FOLLOW ME! The tense of the verb tells us that Jesus says: Follow me today, and KEEP FOLLOWING ME! Remember from last week that “FOLLOWING” is taking that first step of faith concerning what you have HEARD and what has been revealed concerning Jesus. When THE Truth with a capital “T” is revealed to you, and you see Jesus for who He is according to God’s Word, you purposefully follow Him, and as a true disciple, you will continue to follow.
That’s the nature of a true disciple: When God calls you for His purpose, you will keep following. If you study the few things mentioned about Philip, you would find that he is a VERY, VERY ordinary disciple, but he immediately does what disciples do, He follows and Jesus uses the testimony of disciples to call others: “Philip found Nathanael.” The call TO discipleship inevitably results in sharing the best news in the world with others, and so He shares his findings concerning Jesus with Nathanael and Philip says to Him: “Come and see.”
Inviting others to meet Jesus does NOT mean that you KNOW EVERTHING. In the beginning of following Jesus, you know very little except that you know who Jesus is and you obey His call! It is quite normal at first to have an honest skepticism only because you have just begun to follow Jesus. You have to learn of Him and you have to be taught by Him. You have to fellowship with Him and with others who have been students a lot longer. And it does not mean that you are going to be “LIKE” those other students in giftedness, but you are going to KNOW JESUS.
“Come and see” is FAR, FAR, more than “seeing with the eyes”; it is understanding and knowing with your mind and heart. Jesus will later say in John 3:3: “Truly, truly, I say to you, UNLESS one is born again (born from above, unless you are born of God) he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.” If you have skepticism or doubt, come to Jesus. Come to hear His Word. Come closer and examine Jesus and allow His Spirit and Word to work on your heart and mind. Jesus is the one to illuminate your mind and heart.
Names and Titles of Jesus
Let’s look at the rest of the event: verse 47 “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, (a True Israelite) in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you (plural), you (plural) will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
John had given us a number of references already in this first chapter which exhibit Jesus’ spiritual and eternal qualities: The Word (God speaks to us through Jesus.) The Light, (Jesus is the illuminating revelation from God Himself which reveals the darkness and sin of the human heart.) He is The Life and The True Light, (Men are in darkness but as the Light is revealed to them they move out of the darkness ONLY through Jesus.)The Only Begotten (monogenes) and The Son of God (Jesus is God’s Son eternally in a way that makes Him entirely unique and divine with all Godly authority.)