51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
51 And He said to him,
Jesus assured Nathanael that he would see greater miracles performed during Jesus’ time on earth.
“Most assuredly” in the Greek is transliterated amen, amen or translated verily, verily. This is the first of 25 times these words are used in the gospel of John. The idea is an assertion of something important. The “verily, verily” formula never occurs in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Jesus did use the single “verily” 31 times in Matthew, 13 times in Mark, and 6 times in Luke. Jesus used these words before an utterance to emphasize its trustworthiness. It marks the authenticity of a statement or promise.
“Most assuredly” or verily, verily” conveys removal of all doubt. They would see this certainty in Jesus’ future ministry of signs and revelations in the gospel of John.
I say to you [plural],
Jesus changed from speaking to Nathanael to addressing all His disciples. “You” is plural in the Greek. He now drew a parallel between Himself and Jacob (called “Israel”).
hereafter you shall see heaven open,
The disciples would see greater revelation in days to come. Jesus drew on the story of Jacob in the Old Testament to illustrate how His disciples would be exposed to what God was doing through Jesus. His disciples would be accorded momentous revelations through Jesus’ life. They would see confirmations that Jesus was the Messiah.
and the angels of God ascending and descending
This phrase might carry the idea that Jesus had access to the eternal realm. Communication between heaven and earth would open wide so that people would be able to see God’s viewpoint on things.
This event may allude to Jacob’s dream, where he saw angels ascending and descending from heaven to earth (Ge 28:12).
upon the Son of Man.”
The “Son of Man” is a messianic title. Jesus used this phrase of Himself more than 80 times. God would reveal Himself through “the Son of Man. The “Son of Man” occurs 13 times in the gospel of John and 69 times in the synoptics.
Jesus used “Son of Man” to refer to His humanity. He may have done this to avoid the politically charged terms of His day such as Messiah, King of Israel, or Son of David. Jesus would reveal in time, on earth, as man, the purpose of creation. He would be glorified and fulfill God’s ultimate purpose on earth—to glorify God by His rule on earth as the Son of Man.
Vindication of Christ rests on revelation.
We sing, “I am climbing Jacob’s ladder.” That is theologically wrong. We do not climb to God; instead, He reveals Himself to us. Jesus is the link to truth between heaven and earth. He Himself is the ladder between us and God. Jesus is the “way” or road to God (Jn 14:6). Jesus Himself is God’s medium of revelation.