137:2.1 Sunday morning, February 24, A.D. 26, Jesus took leave
of John the Baptist by the river near
never again to see him in the flesh.
137:2.2 That day, as Jesus
and his four disciple-apostles departed for
there was a great tumult in
the camp of John's followers. The first great division was about to take place.
The day before, John had made his positive pronouncement to
and Ezra that
Jesus was the Deliverer. Andrew decided to follow Jesus, but Ezra rejected the
mild-mannered carpenter of
proclaiming to his associates: "The Prophet
Daniel declares that the Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven, in
power and great glory. This Galilean carpenter, this
boatbuilder, cannot be the Deliverer. Can such a gift of God come out of Nazareth? This Jesus is a relative of John, and through much
of heart has our teacher been
deceived. Let us remain aloof from this false
When John rebuked Ezra
for these utterances, he drew away with many disciples and hastened south. And
this group continued to baptize in John's name and eventually founded a sect of
those who believed in John but refused to accept Jesus. A remnant of this group
even to this day.
137:2.3 While this trouble
was brewing among John's followers, Jesus and his four disciple-apostles were
well on their way toward Galilee. Before they crossed the
to go by way
to Nazareth, Jesus, looking ahead and up the road, saw one
with a friend coming toward them. Jesus had known Philip aforetime,
and he was also well known to all four of the new
apostles. He was on his way
with his friend
Nathaniel to visit John at Pella to learn more about the
reported coming of the kingdom of God, and he was delighted to greet Jesus.
Philip had been an admirer of Jesus ever since he first came to Capernaum. But
Nathaniel, who lived at
did not know Jesus. Philip went forward
to greet his friends while Nathaniel rested under the shade of a tree by the
137:2.4 Peter took
one side and proceeded to explain that they, referring to himself, Andrew,
James, and John, had all become associates of Jesus in the new kingdom and
strongly urged Philip to volunteer for service. Philip was in a quandary. What
should he do? Here, without a moment's warning—on the roadside near the
Jordan—there had come up for immediate decision the most momentous question of a
lifetime. By this time he was in earnest converse with Peter, Andrew, and John
while Jesus was outlining to James the trip through Galilee and on to Capernaum.
Finally, Andrew suggested to Philip, "Why not ask the Teacher?"
137:2.5 It suddenly dawned on
Philip that Jesus was a really great man, possibly the Messiah, and he decided
to abide by Jesus' decision in this matter; and he went straight to him, asking,
"Teacher, shall I go down to John or shall I join my friends who follow you?"
And Jesus answered, "Follow me."Philip
was thrilled with the assurance that he had found the Deliverer.
Philip now motioned
to the group to remain where they were while he hurried back to break the news
of his decision to his friend
Nathaniel, who still tarried behind under the
mulberry tree, turning over in his mind the many things which he had heard
concerning John the Baptist, the coming kingdom, and the expected Messiah.
Philip broke in upon these meditations, exclaiming, "I have found the Deliverer,
him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote and whom John has proclaimed."
Nathaniel, looking up, inquired, "Whence comes this teacher?" And Philip
replied, "He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, the carpenter, more
recently residing at
And then, somewhat shocked, Nathaniel asked,
"Can any such good thing come out of
But Philip, taking him by the
arm, said, "Come and see."
Philip led Nathaniel to Jesus, who, looking benignly into the face of the
sincere doubter, said: "Behold a genuine
in whom there is no deceit. Follow me." And Nathaniel, turning to Philip, said: "You are right. He is indeed a master of men. I will also
follow, if I am worthy." And Jesus nodded to Nathaniel, again saying, "Follow me."
Jesus had now
assembled one half of his future corps of intimate associates, five who had for
some time known him and one stranger,
Nathaniel. Without further delay they
crossed the Jordan and, going by the village of
reached Nazareth late that
137:2.9 They all remained
overnight with Joseph in Jesus' boyhood home. The associates of Jesus little
understood why their new-found teacher was so concerned with completely
destroying every vestige of his writing which remained about the home in the
form of the Ten Commandments and other mottoes and sayings. But this proceeding,
together with the fact that they never saw him subsequently write—except upon
the dust or in the sand—made a deep impression upon their minds.
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