Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

13 – Stairway to Heaven – Bartholomew, Nathanael – Part 2

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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”

After seeing Philips passion, we now witness Nathanael’s:

  1. PREJUDICE (Vs 46)

You have to love Nathanael’s response “Nazareth, Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”Nathanael wasn’t afraid to share his opinions or his prejudice. Like Nathanael many of us have our preconceived judgment or opinions when it comes to Jesus. But have we really come to Christ and checked Him out for ourselves? No one is sure what his prejudice was based on, it could have been contempt for Nazareth, as Nate was from a neighboring town. It could have been because Nazareth was very small and unimportant, and we tend to think that great people come from great places. It could have been the towns bad reputation and lack of goodness, Nazareth is described negatively in the Gospel of Mark where it reveals that Nazareth did not believe in Jesus, Mark 6:5. As well as in the Gospel of Luke, where the Nazarenes are portrayed as attempting to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff, Luke 4:29. Regardless of the reason for his prejudice it almost prevented him from coming to Christ. Prejudice cuts a lot of people off from the truth. In reality Nazareth wasn’t that great of a place but what is critically important here is that Philip didn’t argue or debate with Nate. He didn’t try to persuade him or seek to sell Nathanael on the idea of going to meet Jesus on the basis of how Jesus might make his life better. He just invited others as Jesus had invited him, he simply said “Come and see.” Philip didn’t say go and see he said come and see “I will go with you.” Inviting people involves walking with them not just sending them. Few people are ever argued into Christianity, often our arguments do more harm than good. The only way to convince a man of the supremacy of Christ is to confront him with the reality of Christ in both your walk and your talk. The argument for Christ is not in what you say but in how you live. Don’t try to convince people to follow Jesus through reasoned debate, don’t try to argue people into faith, show them Jesus in your life. Today when you invite people to come to church to meet Christ don’t be surprised if they say, “church, can anything good come out of there!” Don’t get offended, like Nazareth, church for some people hasn’t been a great place. But it’s not about the place it’s about the person of Jesus. Don’t argue just invite and let Jesus change their life. So, let me ask you are there any prejudices that are keeping you from coming to Christ? Or are there any prejudices that are keeping you from sharing Christ? It’s here as Nathanael comes to Jesus that we see the:

  1. PRONOUNCEMENT (vs 47)

Jesus makes two pronouncements regarding Nate: “An Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  Jesus is saying, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no Jacob.” Jacob deceived, and his sons deceived. “When you were under the fig tree I saw you.” Jesus not only knew where he was but what he was. Jesus reveals not only his family of origin but also his present situation and his heart condition. Jesus knows our hearts even better than we do. The Lord had told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). The fact that Jesus can see into our hearts can be a little bit concerning, because we know what goes on in our hearts. Jesus sees all that and so much more. He notices the smallest details of our lives but watch how Jesus uses that information. When Nathanael walked up to Jesus, Jesus could have said, “I know you. You are the person who though nothing good can come out of Nazareth! Well I’m sorry to burst your prejudice bubble but here I am … God in the flesh. Now don’t you feel a bit silly?” He could have let Nathanael have it for his prejudice but instead Jesus affirms. Jesus responded first and affirmed Nathanael. Do you know that Jesus knows you? But for many of us we think because He knows us that He will condemn us. Yet what we discover through His interaction with Nathanael is nothing could be further from the truth. Have you accepted Jesus affirmation? Jesus has time and room for skeptics and doubters. He knows you and wants you to know Him. Have you responded to his invitation to relationship?

 

 

 

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