Following Jesus 31

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.

Secondly, a true disciple of Jesus may be prejudiced. In response to what Philip had said about Jesus being from Nazareth, Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:46 ESV).

Prejudice is a bias towards someone of some race or gender. It is a preconception, a prejudgment or bigotry. It may involve intolerance, injustice and an unfairness against a particular people group.

“Nathaniel said to him.” Nathaniel responded to Philip. He responded to what Philip has just said to him about Jesus of Nazareth. Nathaniel spoke with the full conviction of his mind, emotions and will. He meant what he said.

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathaniel asked if it was possible to experience, or does the Town of Nazareth have the ability for anything, useful or beneficial? Nathanael did not think so.  

Nathanael momentarily stumbled over the lowly origin of the Messiah. Nathanael knew of the poor reputation of Nazareth. Surely the Messiah would come from Jerusalem, Hebron, or some other prominent city. Jesus’ condescension still remains a puzzle to many people to this day. How can the Logos be a Man, let alone come from such a town as Nazareth?

Nathaniel made a prejudgment or a preconception of anyone or anything originating from Nazareth. This may reveal in Nathaniel a bigotry, narrow-mindedness or unfairness towards Nazareth in general and Jesus in particular.

The best thing in all the world came out of Nazareth, but Philip does not argue the point. A saying had arisen that no prophet comes out of Galilee (John 7:52), untrue like many such sayings. The prophet Jonah did come from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).

Philip simply says “Come and see.” Philip adopted the method Jesus used with Andrew and John (John 1:39). Philip was most wise to not argue with a sceptic.

Are you?

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