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John 1:29-44


1:29 On the next day John 1  saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God 2  who takes away the sin of the world! 1:30 This is the one about whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is greater than I am, 3  because he existed before me.’ 1:31 I did not recognize 4  him, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel.” 5 

1:32 Then 6  John testified, 7  “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove 8  from heaven, 9  and it remained on him. 10  1:33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining – this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 1:34 I have both seen and testified that this man is the Chosen One of God.” 11 

1:35 Again the next day John 12  was standing there 13  with two of his disciples. 1:36 Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 14  1:37 When John’s 15  two disciples heard him say this, 16  they followed Jesus. 17  1:38 Jesus turned around and saw them following and said to them, “What do you want?” 18  So they said to him, “Rabbi” (which is translated Teacher), 19  “where are you staying?” 1:39 Jesus 20  answered, 21  “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. Now it was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 22 

Andrew’s Declaration

1:40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two disciples who heard what John said 23  and followed Jesus. 24  1:41 He first 25  found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” 26  (which is translated Christ). 27  1:42 Andrew brought Simon 28  to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. 29  You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). 30 

The Calling of More Disciples

1:43 On the next day Jesus 31  wanted to set out for Galilee. 32  He 33  found Philip and said 34  to him, “Follow me.” 1:44 (Now Philip was from Bethsaida, 35  the town of 36  Andrew and Peter.)

1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (John) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 sn Gen 22:8 is an important passage in the background of the title Lamb of God as applied to Jesus. In Jewish thought this was held to be a supremely important sacrifice. G. Vermès stated: “For the Palestinian Jew, all lamb sacrifice, and especially the Passover lamb and the Tamid offering, was a memorial of the Akedah with its effects of deliverance, forgiveness of sin and messianic salvation” (Scripture and Tradition in Judaism [StPB], 225).

3 tn Or “has a higher rank than I.”

4 tn Or “know.”

5 sn John the Baptist, who has been so reluctant to elaborate his own role, now more than willingly gives his testimony about Jesus. For the author, the emphasis is totally on John the Baptist as a witness to Jesus. No attention is given to the Baptist’s call to national repentance and very little to his baptizing. Everything is focused on what he has to say about Jesus: so that he could be revealed to Israel.

6 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the narrative. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.

7 tn Grk “testified, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

8 sn The phrase like a dove is a descriptive comparison. The Spirit is not a dove, but descended like one in some sort of bodily representation.

9 tn Or “from the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.

10 sn John says the Spirit remained on Jesus. The Greek verb μένω (menw) is a favorite Johannine word, used 40 times in the Gospel and 27 times in the Epistles (67 together) against 118 times total in the NT. The general significance of the verb μένω for John is to express the permanency of relationship between Father and Son and Son and believer. Here the use of the word implies that Jesus permanently possesses the Holy Spirit, and because he does, he will dispense the Holy Spirit to others in baptism. Other notes on the dispensation of the Spirit occur at John 3:5 and following (at least implied by the wordplay), John 3:34, 7:38-39, numerous passages in John 14-16 (the Paraclete passages) and John 20:22. Note also the allusion to Isa 42:1 – “Behold my servant…my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put my Spirit on him.”

11 tc ‡ What did John the Baptist declare about Jesus on this occasion? Did he say, “This is the Son of God” (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, |outo" estin Jo Juio" tou qeou), or “This is the Chosen One of God” (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, outo" estin Jo eklekto" tou qeou)? The majority of the witnesses, impressive because of their diversity in age and locales, read “This is the Son of God” (so {Ì66,75 A B C L Θ Ψ 0233vid Ë1,13 33 1241 aur c f l g bo as well as the majority of Byzantine minuscules and many others}). Most scholars take this to be sufficient evidence to regard the issue as settled without much of a need to reflect on internal evidence. On the other hand, one of the earliest mss for this verse, {Ì5} (3rd century), evidently read οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. (There is a gap in the ms at the point of the disputed words; it is too large for υἱός especially if written, as it surely would have been, as a nomen sacrum [uMs]. The term ἐκλεκτός was not a nomen sacrum and would have therefore taken up much more space [eklektos]. Given these two variants, there is hardly any question as to what Ì5 read.) This papyrus has many affinities with א*, which here also has ὁ ἐκλεκτός. In addition to their combined testimony Ì106vid b e ff2* sys,c also support this reading. Ì106 is particularly impressive, for it is a second third-century papyrus in support of ὁ ἐκλεκτός. A third reading combines these two: “the elect Son” (electus filius in ff2c sa and a [with slight variation]). Although the evidence for ἐκλεκτός is not as impressive as that for υἱός, the reading is found in early Alexandrian and Western witnesses. Turning to the internal evidence, “the Chosen One” clearly comes out ahead. “Son of God” is a favorite expression of the author (cf. 1:49; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31); further, there are several other references to “his Son,” “the Son,” etc. Scribes would be naturally motivated to change ἐκλεκτός to υἱός since the latter is both a Johannine expression and is, on the surface, richer theologically in 1:34. On the other hand, there is not a sufficient reason for scribes to change υἱός to ἐκλεκτός. The term never occurs in John; even its verbal cognate (ἐκλέγω, eklegw) is never affirmed of Jesus in this Gospel. ἐκλεκτός clearly best explains the rise of υἱός. Further, the third reading (“Chosen Son of God”) is patently a conflation of the other two. It has all the earmarks of adding υἱός to ἐκλεκτός. Thus, υἱός τοῦ θεοῦ is almost certainly a motivated reading. As R. E. Brown notes (John [AB], 1:57), “On the basis of theological tendency…it is difficult to imagine that Christian scribes would change ‘the Son of God’ to ‘God’s chosen one,’ while a change in the opposite direction would be quite plausible. Harmonization with the Synoptic accounts of the baptism (‘You are [This is] my beloved Son’) would also explain the introduction of ‘the Son of God’ into John; the same phenomenon occurs in vi 69. Despite the weaker textual evidence, therefore, it seems best – with Lagrange, Barrett, Boismard, and others – to accept ‘God’s chosen one’ as original.”

12 sn John refers to John the Baptist.

13 tn “There” is not in the Greek text but is implied by current English idiom.

14 sn This section (1:35-51) is joined to the preceding by the literary expedient of repeating the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus being the Lamb of God (1:36, cf. 1:29). This repeated testimony (1:36) no longer has revelatory value in itself, since it has been given before; its purpose, instead, is to institute a chain reaction which will bring John the Baptist’s disciples to Jesus and make them Jesus’ own disciples.

15 tn Grk “his”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Grk “And the two disciples heard him speaking.”

17 sn The expression followed Jesus pictures discipleship, which means that to learn from Jesus is to follow him as the guiding priority of one’s life.

18 tn Grk “What are you seeking?”

19 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

20 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Grk “said to them.”

22 tn Grk “about the tenth hour.”

sn About four o’clock in the afternoon. What system of time reckoning is the author using? B. F. Westcott thought John, unlike the synoptic gospels, was using Roman time, which started at midnight (St. John, 282). This would make the time 10 a.m., which would fit here. But later in the Gospel’s Passover account (John 19:42, where the sixth hour is on the “eve of the Passover”) it seems clear the author had to be using Jewish reckoning, which began at 6 a.m. This would make the time here in 1:39 to be 4 p.m. This may be significant: If the hour was late, Andrew and the unnamed disciple probably spent the night in the same house where Jesus was staying, and the events of 1:41-42 took place on the next day. The evidence for Westcott’s view, that the Gospel is using Roman time, is very slim. The Roman reckoning which started at midnight was only used by authorities as legal time (for contracts, official documents, etc.). Otherwise, the Romans too reckoned time from 6 a.m. (e.g., Roman sundials are marked VI, not XII, for noon).

23 tn Grk “who heard from John.”

24 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tc Most witnesses (א* L Ws Ï) read πρῶτος (prwtos) here instead of πρῶτον (prwton). The former reading would be a predicate adjective and suggest that Andrew “was the first” person to proselytize another regarding Jesus. The reading preferred, however, is the neuter πρῶτον, used as an adverb (BDAG 893 s.v. πρῶτος 1.a.β.), and it suggests that the first thing that Andrew did was to proselytize Peter. The evidence for this reading is early and weighty: Ì66,75 א2 A B Θ Ψ 083 Ë1,13 892 al lat.

26 sn Naturally part of Andrew’s concept of the Messiah would have been learned from John the Baptist (v. 40). However, there were a number of different messianic expectations in 1st century Palestine (see the note on “Who are you?” in v. 19), and it would be wrong to assume that what Andrew meant here is the same thing the author means in the purpose statement at the end of the Fourth Gospel, 20:31. The issue here is not whether the disciples’ initial faith in Jesus as Messiah was genuine or not, but whether their concept of who Jesus was grew and developed progressively as they spent time following him, until finally after his resurrection it is affirmed in the climactic statement of John’s Gospel, the affirmation of Thomas in 20:28.

27 tn Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “the one who has been anointed.”

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. See the note on Christ in 1:20.

28 tn Grk “He brought him”; both referents (Andrew, Simon) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

29 tc The reading “Simon, son of John” is well attested in Ì66,75,106 א B* L 33 pc it co. The majority of mss (A B2 Ψ Ë1,13 Ï) read “Simon, the son of Jonah” here instead, but that is perhaps an assimilation to Matt 16:17.

30 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The change of name from Simon to Cephas is indicative of the future role he will play. Only John among the gospel writers gives the Greek transliteration (Κηφᾶς, Khfas) of Simon’s new name, Qéphâ (which is Galilean Aramaic). Neither Πέτρος (Petros) in Greek nor Qéphâ in Aramaic is a normal proper name; it is more like a nickname.

31 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Jesus is best taken as the subject of εὑρίσκει (Jeuriskei), since Peter would scarcely have wanted to go to Galilee.

32 sn No explanation is given for why Jesus wanted to set out for Galilee, but probably he wanted to go to the wedding at Cana (about a two day trip).

33 tn Grk “and he.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

34 tn Grk “and Jesus said.”

35 sn Although the author thought of the town as in Galilee (12:21), Bethsaida technically was in Gaulanitis (Philip the Tetrarch’s territory) across from Herod’s Galilee. There may have been two places called Bethsaida, or this may merely reflect popular imprecision – locally it was considered part of Galilee, even though it was just east of the Jordan river. This territory was heavily Gentile (which may explain why Andrew and Philip both have Gentile names).

36 tn Probably ἀπό (apo) indicates “originally from” in the sense of birthplace rather than current residence; Mark 1:21, 29 seems to locate the home of Andrew and Peter at Capernaum. The entire remark (v. 44) amounts to a parenthetical comment by the author.

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