Second Sunday After Denaho
From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).
43. would go … into Galilee—for from His baptism He had sojourned in Judea (showing that the calling at the Sea of Galilee [Mt 4:18] was a subsequent one, see on Lu 5:1).
Follow me—the first express call given, the former three having come to Him spontaneously.
44. the city of Andrew and Peter—of their birth probably, for they seem to have lived at Capernaum (Mr 1:29).
45. Nathanael—(See on Mt 10:3).
Moses—(See Joh 5:46).
son of Joseph—the current way of speaking. (See Lu 3:23).
46. any good out of Nazareth—remembering Bethlehem, perhaps, as Messiah's predicted birthplace, and Nazareth having no express prophetic place at all, besides being in no repute. The question sprang from mere dread of mistake in a matter so vital.
Come and see—Noble remedy against preconceived opinions [Bengel]. Philip, though he could not perhaps solve his difficulty, could show him how to get rid of it. (See on Joh 6:68).
47. an Israelite indeed … no guile—not only no hypocrite, but with a guileless simplicity not always found even in God's own people, ready to follow wherever truth might lead him, saying, Samuel-like, "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth" (1Sa 3:10).
48. Whence knowest thou me—conscious that his very heart had been read, and at this critical moment more than ever before.
Before Philip called thee—showing He knew all that passed between Philip and him at a distance.
when … under the fig tree, &c.—where retirement for meditation and prayer was not uncommon [Lightfoot]. Thither, probably—hearing that his master's Master had at length appeared, and heaving with mingled eagerness to behold Him and dread of deception—he had retired to pour out his guileless heart for light and guidance, ending with such a prayer as this, "Show me a token for good!" (See on Lu 2:8). Now he has it, "Thou guileless one, that fig tree scene, with all its heaving anxieties, deep pleadings and tremulous hopes—I saw it all." The first words of Jesus had astonished, but this quite overpowered and won him.
49. Son of God … King of Israel—the one denoting His person, the other His office. How much loftier this than anything Philip had said to him! But just as the earth's vital powers, the longer they are frost-bound, take the greater spring when at length set free, so souls, like Nathanael and Thomas (see on Joh 20:28), the outgoings of whose faith are hindered for a time, take the start of their more easy-going brethren when loosed and let go.
50, 51. Because I said, &c.—"So quickly convinced, and on this evidence only?"—an expression of admiration.
51. Hereafter, &c.—The key to this great saying is Jacob's vision (Ge 28:12-22), to which the allusion plainly is. To show the patriarch that though alone and friendless on earth his interests were busying all heaven, he was made to see "heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon a" mystic "ladder reaching from heaven to earth." "By and by," says Jesus here, "ye shall see this communication between heaven and earth thrown wide open, and the Son of man the real Ladder of this intercourse."
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