Heaven Opened (John 1:45-51)
Topic: John Scripture: John 1:45–1:51
First Scripture Reading: Genesis 28:10-22
Second Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-35
Sermon Text: John 1:45-51
In describing the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, Saint Augustine said that “the new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.” Augustine recognized that the promises God made in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament, and so both need to be understood and read in light of each other. Iain Duguid explains:
The Old Testament is not simply the record of what God was doing with a motley crew of religious misfits in a land in the Middle East, far less a catalogue of stories about a series of religiously inspiring heroes. It is the good news of the gospel that we have been called to declare to the nations, beginning in Jerusalem and continuing until the message has been heard to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). At its height, the Old Testament gives us a glimpse in advance of who Jesus is. It gives us the categories of prophet, priest, and king that enable us to comprehend the ministry of the Messiah. In its many depths, the Old Testament shows us repeatedly why no one and nothing other than God himself in human form could possibly be the answer to our deepest need and provide us deliverance from our sins.
- For review, read John 1:43-44. How do these verses reveal God’s eternal decree and effectual calling? What did it look like for Philip to follow Jesus? What does it look like for Christians today?
- Read John 1:45 and Luke 24:13-35. How does Jesus’ explanation to the men on the road to Emmaus help us properly interpret the Old Testament?
- Choose a book of the Old Testament that you are familiar with and think about the ways in which Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah in that book.
- Why did Nathanael respond as he did in John 1:46?
- What do verses 47-48 reveal about Jesus’ ability to discern the heart? Can you think of other passages, such as Mark 2:8, that reveal Jesus’ discernment and knowledge?
- How does Jesus’ declaration to Nathanael in John 1:51 connect with Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28?
- In preparation for next week, read John 1 in one sitting and write down all the names and titles used for Jesus. Do you know the significance of each? Why do you think Jesus has so many names and titles in the Bible?