John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus found Philip and Philip found Nathanael. Philip made a mighty claim to have known Jesus for so short a time. He is the one Moses wrote about in the Law. He is the promised one of which the prophets wrote. Oh, and by the way, he is from Nazareth.
Apparently, Nathanael feels about Nazareth the way many feel about a neighboring town where there is some rivalry or some history with its lingering reputation. Nathanael is to be forgiven inasmuch as we are just like him. His unguarded honesty in saying what he thought would get a back-handed compliment from no less than Jesus himself.
Though Nathanael was a skeptic, Philip utilized an excellent approach. “Come and see.” The model for this approach was Jesus. When Andrew and an unnamed disciple of John the Baptist first approached Jesus, Jesus asked a question (what are you seeking) and gave an invitation (come and you will see). (John 1:37-39) It was and is an invitation to know by experience. Nathanael accepted. So, what did he see? What did he come to know by experience?
He saw one who knew his character. John 1:47 “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” That had to be a little disconcerting for Nathanael. Before introductions were made, truth was known. Nathanael’s skepticism actually made him a more ready candidate to believe in Jesus than a lot of folk’s religion. He really was open to this man and when Jesus revealed a knowledge of Nathanael, Jesus also revealed something about himself. Nathanael came. By God’s gracious invitation, he was beginning to see.
He saw one who knew his circumstances. Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree. (John 1:48) What a delicious detail! Really? Does God know that much about you, down to the tree you stood under how many hours ago? If he knows something so trivial, can he possibly be unaware of the real concern that hangs over your head today? Nathanael came. Nathanael saw.
He saw one who knew his future. John 1:50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” To introduce anyone to Jesus is to open a door to the unimaginable, the divine, the endless. Nathanael came and he began to see.
Jeremiah 33:2-3 Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
What a Savior he is!