43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 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.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
The passage for today reads like it is- a short and exciting account of the way that the early followers of Christ came to be called.
But as I read it devotionally- seeking application for my own life, I find some really interesting observations.
First, Jesus calls Philip. It seems that Philip follows Jesus very easily.
Then, he goes to tell Nathaniel. But Nathaniel (who is named Bartholomew in other gospels) says “yeah right, this guy is from Nazareth, I’m not going to follow him” (I’m paraphrasing here).
Here’s the application for me: So often, when I’ve tried to tell others about Jesus, the response I hear back is similar in tone and intent to Nathaniel. “Yeah, right, I’ve heard of Jesus, there is no way I’ll follow him!” If I’m honest, I fear this type of response so much that I sometimes don’t even tell people about Jesus when an opportunity arises.
But in the story, Nathaniel’s attitude is transformed. When he has an encounter with Jesus, he changes his mind completely, and he calls Jesus “Rabbi, Son of God and King of Israel”
LORD, I pray that in my attempts to lead people to You, that it would be more than just my words that they experience. I ask that You would lead others to encounter you, and that Your presence and power would transform people.
Written by Ps Justin Ware