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"God hath now sent to bless you :" "a Saviour which is Christ the Lord."
How many amongst us are constantly hearing Jesus represented as "the way, the truth, and the life," yet pass by on the other side! But these followed Jesus. Followed him, but not unknown or unobserved. He sees and encourages the first approach towards him; the first breathings of their faith. He turned, and saw them following: and when they inquired, Master, where dwellest thou? he saith unto them, Come and see.
This was a further trial of sincerity. Many will appear interested for a while, and then stop short. But these came, and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day. And whoever with an honest and good heart will consent to come and see, shall not remain unsatisfied. In the abode where Jesus dwells, he will see "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." He will see that, which can no where else be found.
And then, having learnt the truth, and discovered the greatness of the blessing, he will not keep the secret within his own breast, but will hasten to communicate it to his friends.
40. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 1
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
1 The other is commonly supposed to have been St. John himself.
2 The Messias in Hebrew, signifying the same as the Christ in Greek, the anointed.
42. 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.3
Here Jesus intimates what he afterwards confirmed that Simon should be endued with such a firm and consistent temper, as should be set like a flint," inflexible and unbroken: he should be a corner-stone of the temple which was about to be soon raised to the honour of God and the salvation of man.
All Christians have not the prominent station which Peter held. But he himself speaks of all Christians, as being living stones in that spiritual temple, the church of God. And none can maintain their integrity, who are not resolute and firm; as a stone, solid and stedfast: a character which they receive, as Simon received his new name, from the Lord who has called them.
43. The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45. 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.
46. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
3 Or rock, on whose preaching the foundation of shall be raised. See Matt. xvi. 18.
4 Isa. 1. 7.
5 1 Pet. ii. 5.
48. Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
The whole of this history is instructive. When Philip first acquainted Nathanael of his own belief, that the Christ was to be found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, Nathanael betrays a lurking prejudice. Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Can so obscure a place, so ill reputed of, send forth the Holy One of God, the King of Israel? And do not the prophets speak of Bethlehem as the birth-place of the Messiah? 6
This prejudice might not have been altogether blameable. He was not to take on trust so great a matter. Let him "6 prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." He did not speak in the spirit of the Pharisees afterwards, when they said in scorn, and without inquiry, "Search and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." When Philip invited him to come and see, he did not make excuse; he did not plead his family, or his business and worldly cares: he arose and went with Philip. And then we perceive how Philip had been directed by a superior guidance, that he should find Nathanael. He was suited to the purpose in which henceforth he was to be employed; for he was "a Jew, not outwardly, but inwardly ;" whose "circumcision was of the heart :" an Israelite
6 See Matt. ii. 4-6.
indeed, in whom is no guile. He was not one of those who loved to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they might be seen of men." He sought the retreat of his garden, and the shade of his fig-tree, and there he poured out his soul before God. This, surely, (though it is only conjecture,) is the allusion of Jesus, who said, when thou wert under the fig-tree, I saw thee. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good ;" and the prayer which is offered in secret, shall be "rewarded openly."
Such a proof of divine knowledge was irresistible to the mind of Nathanael.
49. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51. 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.
There were many seasons, even whilst the Son of man was on earth, when this sight might have been witnessed, and "angels came and ministered unto him." We cannot tell with certainty whether these are alluded to, or no. Hereafter, doubtless, the whole world shall see it together, when "the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, and shall sit on the throne of his glory."
But another truth is contained here, of great practical importance. Nathanael had not resisted the first call to inquiry, nor the first impulse of conviction. He had yielded his mind to the evidence which was presented to him. "To him that hath shall be given." Jesus says, Because I said unto
thee, I saw thee under the figtree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. So it is universally. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." He that now goes on his way softly, but sincerely, and opens his heart to the motions of the Holy Spirit, shall be brought to see greater things, than, in the beginning of his course and the infancy of his faith, he had ventured to desire.
JOHN ii. 1-11.
THE FIRST MIRACLE IS PERFORMED IN CANA AT A MARRIAGE.
1. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
4 Jerem. xxix. 13.
5 Hos. vi. 3.