John 1:43-51 : On the next day, he was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 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.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I told you, ‘I saw you underneath the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these!” He said to him, “Most certainly, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Now we can see a pattern. Jesus finds Philip and asks him to follow. Philip, like Andrew, finds someone else. Clearly, Jesus expects this pattern to happen. This shows us how evangelism can work naturally. People talk to each other and bring each other to the truth. Each person has a part in what God is doing. Nathanael was sceptical. Evidently, Nazareth didn’t have a good reputation as a town. Jesus appears to have agreed with his assessment.
Jesus appreciated Philip’s care regarding the truth. He was pretty direct in his approach to questioning Jesus’ validity. I think this is appropriate. I’m not to be shocked if you question me as I write this blog. You need to be careful. I am claiming to tell the truth and it will have big implications if you believe something that isn’t true. It is important that you check out what I say for yourself by studying the Bible on your own. I know that I have made mistakes before so you do need to take what I say with care. You can, however, rely on what God says. Take what He says instead of anything that I may say that is different.
Jesus, however, is God and He was only going to tell the truth without any mistakes. So it was easy to respond when Nathanael questioned Him. In fact, Jesus told him things that he had recently been doing. I have no idea what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree, but it caused him to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
After questioning, Nathanael believed and Jesus told him that he would be there when Jesus was glorified. Basically, Jesus told him that he would see Heaven. This is the pattern for our salvation. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and our savior, we will also be with Him in Heaven. If you read through the Gospels, you will see how rare it was to find a Jew as faithful as Nathanael. What an amazing thing to be praised by the Son of God; to be told, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!“
We should also be discerning. We should also not just accept what people say without being critical and verifying that they are telling the truth. Mere men will get angry if we challenge what they say, but people who are like Jesus will be happy and expect you to be very, very careful about the truth in a world full of lies.