Where do YOU meet with Jesus?

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Today we are going to talk about one of the earliest followers of Jesus… and maybe you will see a little bit of yourself here as well.

Our story begins in the bible gospel of John, chapter One. The prophet John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing people at Bethany “On the other side of the Jordan”.   This is a different Bethany than the village near Jerusalem, but rather is an area on the east side of the Jordan, also known as Beit-Abara, “the House of the Crossing-Point”, a place where a number of springs feed into the East side of the Jordan River that would be good sites for baptizing, being slower than the seasonally flooding and fast flowing Jordan River.  This area is also thought to where the prophet Elijah had been taken up to heaven.  We pick up the story in Verse 35:

35 Again the next day John was standing [z]with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He *said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the [aa]tenth hour.

So here the prophet John the Baptist publicly pointing out Jesus and naming him as “The Lamb of God”. And two of John’s disciples left John and followed after Jesus.

40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.

    A lot of scholars think the other disciple of John the Baptist who left to with Andrew to follow Jesus was John the disciple and author of this gospel we are studying… If so I point out that this is typical when john mentions his own involvement while not naming himself, as “the one Jesus Loved” instead of using his personal name later in this Gospel. So here we have a group of four new disciples of Jesus, and they are openly discussing Jesus amongst themselves as ‘The Lamb of God” or as “The Messiah”.

   But it is this next Disciple where we are focusing our talk today:

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 any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.”


So who was this Nathanael? Most people think this is the same disciple known as Bartholomew in the other gospels, also frequently mentioned with Phillip. Bartholomew is a modern version of the Aramaic family descriptor “Last Name”  “Bar-Tolmei” (pronounced toll-may) or Son of Tolmei,  of so nethanael’s full name would be “Nathaniel Bar-Tolmei”. So Nathanael hears about this Jesus from his friends, and they are all excited… But Nathanael is a bit skeptical: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

    Now, this is how must of us are when we first hear about Jesus: People say he’s the Messiah, The Son of God, but at first we are not so sure…. Maybe we have had a bad experience with religious people…. “Can anything good come from those people”?

    But I love the wat that Phillip dealt with his friend’s skepticism: “Come and see”! Sometimes it is easier to just invite someone to experience Jesus than to try and defeat their own arguments with our logic.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to 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 and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”


So Jesus meets Nathanael and immediately gives him a word of Knowledge, saying He saw him under the fig tree. Note that this takes place before the wedding at Cana, which people say is Jesus first public Miracle. But we see here Jesus supernaturally working in the prophetic before then to touch people’s lives.

Nathanael’s response to this word of knowledge was immediate:

49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that 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 the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Now, we have no idea what Nathanael was doing or thinking under that Fig Tree. So I’m going to explore some of the things that may have been going on…. Jewish tradition held that sitting under one’s fig tree was a great place to study scripture… Maybe Nathanael was quietly studying God’s word…. He might have even been reading about Jacob’s dream where angels were ascending and descending in Genesis 28, based upon Jesus response.

    Maybe he was fed up with the legalistic religion of the day and wanted something more….. and Jesus promised him he would see the things of God in the miraculous.

Who knows, Nathaniel may even have been thinking on his sin under that tree….. If so Jesus, seeing him approach, affirmed him in his hunger rather than judged him, naming him “ a man in whom there is no deceit”….

     Nathaniel might be a lot like some of us today.

Maybe you have heard Jesus praised by friends, but have seen enough of this world so be skeptical… To you I say: Come and See ! Once you experience Jesus, you world view will be transformed.

     Maybe like Nathanael you grew up around church, maybe in some religious legalistic environment…. But when you sit off all alone under a tree you say to God “There has to more than this!” If so, I say to you “Come and See”! I invite you to reach out to Jesus again. Maybe visit a church thet moves deep into worship or the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like most of the things you can see right here on KingdomFlame.com. Because like Nathaniel, the promise of seeing the heavens opened remains open to you today.

    Maybe you don’t know Jesus or know him but have been off in the world and not really following him. If so, “Come and see”! Jesus will meet you and speak not condemnation, but rather speak what you can be walking with him… Romans 10: 9 says :

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

   Just came and see and Jesus will meet you, forgive you and transform you. Just believe!

    You may be a believer in Jesus studying the word with us today. Come and see! Press in deeper and like Nathaniel Jesus will show you more If you tired of religious church, come and see the freedom in Christ. And if you don’t know Jesus, . Come and See! He will transform your life.

   Friends these is a new adventure in Jesus available to us every day, and I challenge you to “Come and See” reaching out anew to Him Today!


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