Following Jesus 30
As we examine the Twelve Disciples of Jesus, we now begin to view the second group of four. Following Philip is Nathanael. Are you like Nathanael? The primary text in Scripture which specifically speaks about Nathanael is John 1:43-51.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 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.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 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.” 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).
How are Jesus disciples today like Nathanael? What Observations about Nathanial, and followers of Jesus today, can be gathered from John 1:43-51?
Like Nathanael, a true follower of Jesus knows Scripture. “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” (John 1:43-45 ESV)
When Philip found Nathanael he used the expression “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Philip must have known that Nathanael would understand these statements, otherwise he would not have used them to describe Jesus.
Philip identifies Jesus as (1) the One of whom Moses wrote about in the Law. Philip’s testimony to Nathanael stressed that Jesus was the Promised One of whom Moses spoke of (Deut. 18:18–19; cf. John 1:21, 25) and (2) of whom the prophets wrote. (Isa. 52:13–53:12; Dan. 7:13; Micah 5:2; Zech. 9:9).
This informs us that Philip was probably Jewish and not Gentile in spite of his Gentile name, and that he also knew his Old Testament: as did Nathanael. At this point, Philip identified this one of whom he spoke as “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Surprisingly Philip called Jesus … the son of Joseph. This is what the disciples would have believed at this time. Yet Nathanael would soon recognize that He was and is “the Son of God” (John 1:49).
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