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Nathanael was initially skeptical when Phillip told him they had found the Messiah and that He was from Nazareth. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael scoffed. But it wasn’t a deep-seated cynicism, because when Phillip invites him, “Come and see!” Nathanael accepts. He meets Jesus who immediately announces, “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit!”
Change #3: You Become A Worshiper.
Jesus’ statement turns Nathanael’s world upside down. He asks Jesus in verse 48, “How do you know me?” And when Jesus explains, “Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Nathanael’s heart explodes with faith and praise, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!’”
I’d call that a change of heart, wouldn’t you? In just minutes, he goes from “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” to “Rabbi” (a term of deep respect), “You are the (He uses the definite article to emphasize He’s not just a son of God like you or I) …You are the Son of God (meaning He shares the very essence of God with His Father)… You are the King of Israel!” (i.e., “You’re the One who’s going to bring the Kingdom of God to earth and rule over it forever and ever!”) That’s what you call true worship, and that’s what happens when you meet the real Jesus. The moment Nathanael meets Jesus it turns him into a believer and a true worshiper of both God the Father and God the Son.
It also blesses Jesus who says to him, “Because I said to you I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And then again He takes him back to Jacob saying, “Truly, truly (a guarantee that what He says will come true) you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” What does that have to do with Jacob?
When Jacob left home, he did so out of fear of his brother Esau, afraid that he would kill him because of the way he’d cheated him. (Genesis 27:41-42) But then God appeared to Jacob in a dream in which he saw a ladder reaching to heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending on it. From the top of the ladder God also promised to bless him, to keep him safe, and to give his family-to-be the land of Israel forever. So when he awoke, Jacob believed God’s promise, set up an altar to worship the Lord, and called that place Bethel meaning “house of God.”
The point is obvious, isn’t it? Jesus was saying to Nathanael and through him and to us, “I am Jacob’s Ladder. I am the Way to Heaven! So believe in Me, worship Me, and invite others to believe in Me too!” Jesus then adds, “You will see greater things than these.” What sorts of things? “Miracle after miracle after miracle, every day you’re with Me, starting with tomorrow in Cana of Galilee!”
That will be the focus of our next study in John chapter 2 – Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Don’t miss out on it!
(To hear this lesson in the spoken word, click SPOKEN.)