43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 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.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 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.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 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.” 51 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.”
Word about Jesus is spreading around the region of Galilee, especially around the shores of The Sea of Galilee. Jesus did not come from down by the shores, but he came from a town on the side of a hill to the south. Galilee is a much larger region than just the shores of the lake. I came from Devon, England and I lived in Plymouth. Totnes had a reputation in my family for being a bit backward. Totnes boys (pronounced ‘buy’) were deemed stupid and probably worked down the treacle mines (fictional mines where the particularly stupid worked). If my friends had announced that they were dating a girl from Totnes I would have probably doubted whether they were serious. Could anything good come from Totnes? In the Chicago area similar things might be said about the south side of town. Can anything good come from the south side? Jesus comes from the wrong side of the tracks and from a questionable birth, however a personal encounter with him removes all prejudice.
We are invited, like Nathanael, to just come and see. Put our presuppositions about Jews, men, God, and religion to one side and just meet with Jesus. It is anticipated that when you meet with him he will speak a truth that disarms you. Even if you think you know Jesus, try and put your ideas about him to one side. Try and let him be fresh and new in ways that perhaps he has ceased to be. He will surprise you with who he truly is and you might see heaven through him.
Jesus, please show me that you are near. Show me my own blocks to your truth. We all need to learn and we all have our preconceptions. However, Nathanael’s humility in just letting you in is a lesson to us all.
- Who comes to Nathanael?
- Why do you think he is a skeptic?
- How does Nathanael change?
- What presuppositions do people have today about Jesus?
- How might you need to drop prejudice or preconceptions about Jesus?