February 7, 2011

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

John 1:43-51 (NIV)

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.”


I remember when caller ID first came to our home. The phone rang and all I could do was stare at the little gray screen, flabbergasted I could see who was on the line before answering. Prior to this amazing technological advancement, it was anyone's guess. That's when prank calls were an adolescent's favorite summer break pass time. With anonymity as our ally, we could do just about anything and not get caught. Like the time I talked my friend into calling a local dance studio to inquire about dance classes. With my prompting from the background, she told the studio owner all about her interests in dance and such. After wasting a fair amount of the poor lady's time, my friend wrapped up the call by revealing one small glitch, she wore full-length leg braces. Asking if that would be a problem, the owner sat silent on the line as we burst into laughter. It was funny at the time but I'm ashamed of my behavior. For one thing I've matured a lot since then, plus I'd surely get caught thanks to caller ID. Dance studios are safe from me thanks to this little modern marvel that makes every dialer accountable for their actions.

Our passage today of Jesus calling his first few disciples is revolutionary, much like the dawning of caller ID. Not only did Christ invite certain men to follow Him, but these scripture verses reveal His ability to see deep into our hearts. Taken aback at Christ's statement that his heart held no deceit, Nathanael asked "How do you know me?" Unprepared for what Christ was about to reveal, Nathanael must have stood wide eyed and slack jawed as his identity was exposed for all to see.

"I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you" Jesus said, sending chills up Nathanael's spine. Not only had Jesus accurately read his heart, but He knew private details of his life. This knowledge of him under a tree held great significance because fig trees drooped very low to the ground. To be under one was like going to quiet hidden sanctuary. It was a perfect place to pray and commune with God, so having been under a fig tree would not have been a well known fact. It would have been a private and intimate detail known by few if any. Imagine going to work and being introduced to a total stranger who says, "I already know you. I saw you while you were praying this morning." It would catch your attention to say the least.

This supernatural exposure of Nathanael's pure heart and private life was the catalyst that drew him to Christ. While other hearts would have cringed and fallen away from this rather uncomfortable revealing, Nathanael's heart recognized its Savior and immediately followed. Questions of how the Son of God could come from a despised Nazareth vanished as faith propelled him forward to his call. With logic set aside, Nathanael headed into unchartered territory on the promise he'd one day "see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." A true Israelite in his own right, Nathanael would one day in turn bear witness to Israel's long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ!


Are there areas of your heart you feel you've kept from the eye of God?

Does knowing that God sees every part of your being (attitudes, agenda, motives etc.) propel or repel you from Him? What does this say about your heart?

If Christ were to reveal your heart's condition for all to see, would it be pleasing or convicting?

God promises us that a pure heart will see more of Him. What parts of your heart need a good cleaning?

1 comment:

Cheryl Barker said...

At times I have a flicker of fear at what God may see in my heart -- or a fear of what He may ask me to do -- but then I remember that He loves me, and that He will help me with whatever He may show me or ask of me. I pray my heart will always be open before Him...