Wednesday, January 25, 2012

John 1:43-50

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:43-46)

Jon Courson points out something very funny here. Notice that we are first told that Jesus found Philip. But as Philip takes the news to Nathanael, he says “We have found Him!” God is the One who initiates our relationship. He’s the One Who finds us! That has been true since the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve hid from God and He came looking for them! In fact, Romans 3:11 says there is no one who seeks God! Don’t we love to take credit for being “smart” enough to find Christ?? :) When I became a Christian 36 years ago, there was a popular bumper sticker, “I found it!” It really should have said, “He found me!” We are the ones who are lost - not Him!!!

When Philip tells Nathanael that the Messiah comes from Nazareth, Nathanael’s reaction is hysterical! Nazareth???? No way! That hick town? No one important could come from there! Nathanael would have to be convinced, so Philip challenges him to just come and see for himself. “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

Philip had personally tasted the real thing and he had been convinced, and he was sure that Nathanael would come to the same conclusion if he would just come to Jesus. Although Philip, at this point, could not defend the faith theologically or intellectually (he did not yet know that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, for instance), he knew experientially that Jesus was the Christ. Later, in chapter 8 of Acts, Philip was finally equipped in the scriptures enough to fully explain theologically to the Ethiopian eunuch how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and was, indeed, the Messiah.

At this point, however, Philip was just a truly convinced new believer, who wanted disbelieving Nathanael to come and see. And, indeed, Nathanael went from disbelief to belief faster than a speeding bullet. All it took was that personal encounter:

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

 Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (vs.47-50)

Jesus was making a reference to Genesis 28:12 here, which is the vision that Jacob had of the ladder going from Earth to Heaven. Jesus IS that ladder - He is the One who bridges that gap between us and the Father.

According to my Bible footnotes, when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you shall see...” the Greek for you is plural. So, while Jesus was initially addressing Nathanael’s faith, he wants us all to know that at some point all will understand Who Jesus is.

Do you have friends or family who are skeptics? Of course you do! There are LOTS of Nathanaels out there who disdain the simple message of the gospel - the story of the humble carpenter from Nazareth. Are you too intimidated to share your faith because you don’t have your masters degree in theology? Just point the way - invite them to “taste and see.” Jesus is looking for the lost, which includes your friends and family. Trust Him to find them!

No comments:

Post a Comment