The first chapter of John’s Gospel presents a trilogy of purposes which the Word would accomplish in bringing Life and Light (John 1.4 & 9) to Earth (Painter, June 29, 2018). We have considered two in previous studies of Grace and Truth (Painter, July 14, 2018) and Veritas Really (July 25, 2018). This study considers the third: Revealing God (John 1.18: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known”; ESV Bible; John 1.1, 4.24). Specifically, Jesus reveals God’s Omniscience in His introductions to Peter and Nathanael as we finish chapter one. In retrospect, the author should have connected Grace to God’s Omnipotence and Truth to God’s Omnipresence.
John 1.35-42tells the story of Jesus’ foreknowledgeof Peter’s proclamation in Matthew 16.15-18, but not recorded by John. Please read these passages in order before continuing. Jesus declaration to Simon, “You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter)” [Aramaic and Greek for “rock”, respectively (Strong’s)], is better understood by considering “shall be” as a future event, when Jesus confirms Peter’s declaration, “‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16.16), as coming from God (ibid, verse 17) and as being the foundation upon which the church is established and developed (ibid, verse 18; Acts 16.31; Romans 10.9-10). Peter did not begin with that understanding but grew into it; see Luke 5.8. The church is built upon the solid rock of faith that begins with receiving (John 1.12) the Anointed Savior Whom we must make Lord over our lives for the remainder of our earthly lives (Hebrews 12.1-2; Romans 12.1-2).
A curious question: does God foreknow the tasks He will accomplish through us when He welcomes us to Earth at our birth? Are many people dissatisfied with their lives and/or are they underutilized because they never discover His purpose for them? They may never have been taught and encouraged to this reality and, so, have chosen less than His best because that was satan’s scheme? God’s tasks, of course, become fulfilled by another, although the blessing was intended for the former. See Jeremiah 1.5, 9-10; John 3.27.
John 1.43-51tells the story of Jesus’ historical knowledge of Nathanael’s prayers for the coming of Messiah (Henry). Perhaps, Nathanael’s favorite location for praying to and for contemplating God and Scripture was a secluded fig tree, where Phillip may have found him (ibid, verse 45). “This showed [Nathanael] that our Lord knew the secrets of his heart. Through Christ we commune with, and benefit by the holy angels; and things in heaven and things on earth are reconciled and united together” (Henry).
It is interesting that Jesus addresses Nathanael as “‘an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit’” (ibid, verse 47). In the first part, Jesus certifies Nathanael’s lineage from Patriarch Jacob; in the second, He recognizes him as more pure than his deceiving progenitor (Genesis 27.36).
Jesus’ declaration in John 1.51may have reminded Nathanael of the story from Genesis 28.10-22. Jesus, then, reveals it’s true meaning: Jesus IS the ladder—the only way to God (John 14.6)! After all, the Lord Jesus stood at the top of the ladder (Genesis 28.13), and we, believers in Jesus (John 1.12), begin our upward climb by being baptized “into” His Name, “Jesus” (Matthew 28.19).
Jesus’ knowledge of Nathanael’s past practice sufficed as proof to him of Jesus’ divinity and as the answer to his prayers, as Nathanael declares in John 1.49: “‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’” Nathanael’s declaration is a contrast to his colloquialism in John 1.46, an adage expressing the historic insignificance of Nazareth; see John 7.52.Matthew 2.22-23states why Joseph chose Nazareth as Jesus’ home. Luke includes the later significance of ‘Nazarene’ in Acts 24.5(MacArthur).
Note the three levels of Nathanael’s understanding of Jesus: Teacher, Savior/ Messiah, Ruler! [Perhaps, Jeremiah 9.23-24was Nathanael’s statement of life purpose, as it is this writer’s.] Nathanael’s statement is a confirmation of John’s declaration in John 1.9. Apostle Paul states other ways in 1 Corinthians 15.28. Dr. Ronald Nash emphasizes the comprehensiveness of “Jesus” in the following:
After John describes Jesus as the cosmological Logos [John 1.1-3], he presents Him as the epistemological Logos. John declares that Christ was “the true light that enlightens every man” (John 1.9). In other words, the epistemological Logos is not only the mediator of divine special revelation (John 1.14), He is also the ground of all human knowledge. (Nash, 1982, p. 67)
Only God is Omniscient! Jesus’ statements to Nathanael and to Simon give us the extremes of omniscience: knowledge of the past and equal knowledge of the future. This has been and will be true for every person born in the image of God (Genesis 1.26). None escapes His notice (2 Chronicles 16.9a; Proverbs 5.21). But, how do you know and understand Him better in the contexts of your daily walk? Do you know His purpose for your life? Reflect upon the iterations of your career. How can you see God’s leadership? Is He finished with you? I doubt it!
Let me offer a final word about the description of Jesus by John the Baptist that must have piqued the curiosity of Andrew and Phillip; John 1.29: “‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” Because of this declaration by God through JB, Andrew found Simon and Phillip found Nathanael for sharing the good news. John, the Apostle, discusses the Lamb of God 28 times in his final Book, Revelation, beginning with the beloved Heavenly scene in Revelation 5.1-14(Naves). Concerning this first inclusion, Zondervan writes:
He had seven horns, which probably were symbolic of his great power. He had seven eyes that represented his ceaseless vigilance for the people of God; thus the eyes were reinterpreted as the seven spirits of God, the fullness of God’s Spirit working in behalf of his people. His attributes were those of God—omnipotence and omniscience. (Zondervan)
Apparently, the Holy Spirit chose this trilogy — Omnipotent Grace, Omnipresent Truth, and Omniscient Revelation — for John to remember and write about 60 years after he walked with Jesus on Earth. They are the Life and Light that will be seen, heard, and learned in the remaining chapters of John’s Gospel. Omniscience and Omnipotence, in His Omnipresence. And, you are IN Him (John 17.21)!
OMNISCIENT 180805/12* Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com. !3
References ESV Bible. English Standard Version. Referenced unless noted otherwise.
www.olivetree.com. Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible.
www.olivetree.com. MacArthur. MacArthur Bible Study Notes.www.olivetree.com. Nash, Ronald H. 1982. The Word of God and The Mind of Man. P&R Publishing.
Phillipsburg, NJ. Naves. Naves Topical Bible Index. www.olivetree.com. Painter, Maurice L. June 29, 2018. Explaining the Incomprehensible.
www.sozoclass.com. Painter, Maurice L. July 14, 2018. Grace and Truth. www.sozoclass.com. Painter, Maurice L. July 28, 2018. Veritas Really. www.sozoclass.com. Strong’s. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. www.olivetree.com. Zondervan. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. www.olivetree.com.