Thoughts on the Passage
Here we see the more traditional way that a rabbi chose his followers – he calls them.
He chooses Philip. We do not know much about Philip. He came from the same town as Andrew and Peter so they likely knew each other. Also, we see something special about Philip – he is able to get people to “come and see” Jesus. Every time we see him mentioned, this statement keeps popping up. What a wonderful way to be known! He does not worry about the fact that he may not have answers – he just brings people to Jesus to get the answers they want. We can all learn a lot from that. To be a great follower of Jesus, do not try and know all the answers, know where to direct people – to Jesus.
Nathanael is a little different. He is a bit skeptical. He is not going to believe just because someone says things are true. He is going to check it out for himself. He knows where the Messiah is supposed to come (Bethlehem – not Nazareth), He knows that Nazareth is a little town with nothing happening there. Still, he comes to check. Jesus shows a prophetic insight into Nathanael – where he was when Philip called him. There is likely more to this than what we know. Knowing likely includes what Nathanael was thinking about while under that tree. The confession of Nathanael and the promise of Jesus to him gives us a little insight as well. He was looking for the Messiah – he is close to where John is baptising and he probably heard the news of John’s pronouncement. So he is wondering…
Also, Jesus releases something to Nathanael – a promise of God blessing him with visions and insight, great insight into the Messiah. Note how He ties it to one of the great visions of God which He gave to Jacob. What is the connection? Take some time and think about it…
Jesus does not call everyone the same way. Different people need Jesus to show up to them in different ways. He will do that. He will call you differently than He calls me. He will call others differently than He called you. Bring people to Jesus – let Jesus be the one who deals with their questions and struggles. He does a great job of that!
Have you had Jesus deal with the challenges of faith that you struggle with? Every one of us struggles with some aspects. Do not let that stop you and do not let it keep you from just meeting with Jesus. Be confident that Jesus can meet the needs of others in the same way. It is about Jesus and not us. Keep the focus there.
Time to Pray
Father, Nathanael received something special from You. He got to see Your blessing on Jesus in a unique way. The picture of the stairway to heaven – to Your presence – is so powerful. It reminds us of Your promises to Jacob and how You kept those promises. It reminds us that You will walk our destiny with us. If You made that promise to Nathanael, why not to me? Father, on this journey of faith, bring those times of encouragement and hope to me as well. You are a faithful God today just like You were to Jacob and Nathanael. Open my eyes to see Your faithfulness I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.