Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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14 – Stairway to Heaven – Bartholomew, Nathanael – Part 3

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”

It’s here that we see Nathanael’s:


While Nate’s first exclamation was prejudice his second exclamation was a proclamation: Rabbi, you are the Son of God the King of Israel. All of his prejudices were wiped out in the presence of Jesus. First, he attributes to Jesus a religious title, “Rabbi.” Second, he attributes to Jesus a divine title, “Son of God.” And third he attributes to Jesus a national, sovereign and messianic title, “King of Israel.” He went from skeptical to sold out. Even though he didn’t totally understand everything about Jesus at the beginning his acknowledgement of Jesus as the Son of God was the beginning of his journey into a relationship with Him. While Philip wasn’t able to convince him about Jesus, Nate believed when he met Jesus face-to-face. A God encounter is when we come face to face with Jesus and acknowledge who Jesus really is. Yet it doesn’t end with Nate’s proclamation but rather Jesus:

  1. PROMISE (Vs 50-51)

When Jesus becomes our Lord, He promises that we will see even greater things. I love the promise here that we haven’t seen anything yet. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we don’t fully realize everything that it entails.  Often, we accept Christ and then set things on cruise control but look at the anticipation that Jesus builds for Nathanael. Jesus points him to the future and promises him fresh discoveries of great things. This should cause us to wake up with an excitement about what God has in store for us. When we are focused on what God is doing it should cause us to live each day with anticipation not dread. Are you focused on the doom and gloom or on God?  It’s here that Jesus reveals that he is the stairway to the Father. In 1971 the rock band Led Zeppelin put out a song about a lady who was buying a stairway to heaven, today people are still looking for a stairway to heaven, hoping to enter into eternal happiness. Jesus tells Nathanael that he is that stairway. That it’s based on believing not on buying our way in. When he says there is more Jesus refers to the vision of Jacob found in Genesis 28, its the dream we call, “Jacob’s ladder.” Jesus reminds and reveals the communication between heaven and earth, as He says to Nathanael, “There is all kinds of traffic on your behalf between heaven and earth. Nathanael, I am the ladder and the realities of heaven are brought down to earth through me. Jesus actually deals with Nathanael’s earlier question can anything good come from Nazareth by revealing where He really came from, Heaven not Nazareth. Because Jesus left the glory of heaven and came to this earth to die on the cross He opened what was closed, heaven. He also communicated mediating on our behalf. He is the one who connects us to the Father, bridging the gap between God and humanity. May be today like Nathanael you too are skeptical and even surprised, asking the question can anything great or good really come out of that? I want to invite you to consider Jesus simple proposal “Follow me.” When we do He promises us that we will see great things. Where are you at today? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If you have then let me ask you where you are at in your faith, who is Jesus to you, is:

  • Jesus is the Leader: He said, “Follow Me” So often our prayer life reveals that Jesus is more of a genie that God, there to grant our wishes rather than us carrying out His Will.
  • Jesus is the Lord: He accepts the title “Son of God and King of Israel” If Jesus is Lord than saying no Lord is an oxymoron. Are you living as if Jesus is Lord, are you obeying or disobeying Him?
  • Jesus is the Ladder: He is the access to God. Are you living life in such a way that people see Jesus as the ladder? Are you sharing how Jesus saved you?