43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:43 - 51 (ESV)
The day after Jesus meets Andrew and Peter, He finds a man named Philip and He calls him to become a follower. Philip’s response to Jesus was like Andrew’s as he immediately goes out and finds Nathaneal and tells him about his encounter with Jesus.
Shortly after Philip finds Nathaneal he informs him that he has “found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote about.” His name is Jesus of Nazareth. Philip calls Jesus the “coming one” as written about in Deut. 18:15.
Nathaneal’s response is almost humorous in some ways, he replies “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He doesn’t say, “Wow you found the Chosen One! Please take me to meet Him!” His contemptuous reply could be attributed to a local rivalry between Galilee and Nazareth or maybe their discord ran a little deeper. Regardless, we can know for certain he did not have high regards for this Nazarene at first.
Philip tells Nathaneal, “Come and see for yourself”? He didn’t spend time trying to talk Jesus up or prove that he was right; his response is the same that ours should be, “Come and see for yourself.” This is not only an invitation to meet Jesus but a challenge to put aside his prejudices and see beyond his origin of birth and see God’s bigger plan.
It is interesting to see Jesus’ response to Nathaneal when he says, “Now here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Ironically, Nathaneal didn’t have good things to say about Jesus of Nazareth, but Jesus speaks wonderful words about Nathaneal and calls him a genuine man without hidden motives. Nathaneal asks, “How do you know me?” Jesus’ assessment of him must have been correct since he seemed to gain his attention. He must have been impressed by Jesus’ supernatural knowledge of him because he then addresses Jesus more respectfully and makes the claim that he is the Chosen One of Israel.
When Jesus hears Nathaneal’s response and claims, I can imagine Jesus saying, “Well, you have only seen a small part of what is yet to come. Buckle up man, because the ride is going to be wild.”
The imagery Jesus uses when he speaks to Nathaneal is taken from the vision their forefather Jacob had of a ladder (Genesis 28:10 -22). Once you read this account, you know it is a vision Jacob had of a ladder that reached to heaven. The angels of God ascended and descended on the ladder in this vision. The LORD stood at the top of the ladder and spoke a promise to Jacob about his descendants. Upon waking Jacob knew He met with God and he set up a pillar and called it Bethel which means The House of God. Jesus is saying that now the presence of God will be revealed through Him and no longer in the Temple. Certainly, Nathaneal and Philip could not grasp what Jesus was saying. I think the key words of Jesus are “You will see” and they did indeed! They will continue in their lives to see great and mighty works of Jesus Christ and through his life, His ministry, His death and resurrection.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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