Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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12 – Stairway to Heaven – Nathanael – Part 1

John 1:45-51

45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth”

Bartholomew was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, he was known by two names: “Bartholomew and Nathanael ” He was from Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine. Cana is 5 miles north of Nazareth. His name means God has given or gift of God which reveals something about his parents. His story actually begins with Philip and Jesus:


Jesus makes a personal proposal to Philip: “Follow me.” It was a simple and direct invitation where He made no effort to try to convince Philip. There is no record of Philip’s direct response, but we do know that he obeyed and followed. But this proposal was not just for Philip. Jesus offers the same proposal to us: “Follow me.” It’s here that we see God’s invitation to relationship. Why don’t we run to Him? Often, it’s because we get so entangled in the web of religion that we fail to see the invitation to relationship. Religion is our search for God, but relationship is God’s search for us. Jesus invitation to follow Him shows us exactly what true Christianity is, it’s going where Jesus leads. In John 12:23-26 Jesus applies this truth of following Him as He says: 23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”If you were to take a kernel or seed of wheat and just set it on a desk it would remain alone, it would be a single seed. But if you dig a grave for this seed, and if it falls into the ground and dies and you bury it in the grave, well later it will come bursting up out of the ground, giving life to many other seeds. That’s what Jesus did, He came to this earth not to live alone, not to live for Himself, but rather to die for others, and be buried in a grave, so that later He might rise from the dead, giving eternal life to millions of people. But notice how Jesus applies this word picture. He says “whoever serves me must follow Me”, the meaning is to follow Him to death. In other words, Christianity is not about living the American dream, looking out for number 1, grabbing all you can get. No, it is about following Jesus by giving up my own plans, dying to my own life, giving myself up in service to others. We want the security of salvation, but do we want the sacrifice of service? So, let me ask you a few challenging questions:

  • Are you really committed to following Jesus wherever He goes?
  • Are you committed to dying to sinful selfish habits and replacing them with the Savior?
  • Are you committed to serving Him with your life?
  • What if He calls you to leave your family and work overseas? Would you go?
  • Parents, what if God truly calls our precious children to serve Him will you encourage them to follow Jesus?

It’s here that second, we see the:

  1. PASSION (Vs 45)

Following for Philip included inviting others. When you are excited about what you have you share it, that is why Philip goes and find his friend Nathanael. The truth is your perception of Jesus will drive your passion for Him. Philip understood who he had but he was mistaken about who had found who! Often, we will say we have found Jesus but in reality, Jesus found us. He describes Jesus as the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about, this wasn’t just reading it was real. Has it become real for you, are you only reading about Jesus or are you in a relationship with Him? The simple proposal of Jesus to follow him prompted Philip to seek out others who would want to follow Jesus. How passionate are you for Jesus? How do you know if you are passionate about something or someone, its who or what you talk about? Many of us spend more time talking about sports or self than we do the Savior. We say we can’t memorize God’s Word, yet we remember all the sports stats and all the stories. We don’t have a memorizing problem we have a passion problem. Who are you sharing Jesus with? Who are you actively pursuing and inviting to come to Christ? Do we have an accurate perception of who Jesus is? Because if we see Him as the Savior of the world and the solution to sin then we would be sharing Him? If Christ is the cure to the cancer of sin, then why would we be silent? Who do you know that needs Jesus? Who is your Nathanael?