How often have you gone into a situation, thinking you have figured things out, when suddenly someone shares a different perspective, changing completely what you thought was going on? I have seen this happen many, many times! We have to be so careful of limited perspective and assumptions, especially when it comes to how we relate to people. Jesus, being new on the public ‘scene’ had to quickly give people the right perspective on who He was, and why He was there.
“The following day, Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’” Jesus had just collected followers (Andrew and Simon Peter) from the lakeshore by their hometown of Bethsaida. Back in the city, He found a man named Philip, of whom we know ... pretty much nothing. Phil may have been the other disciple of John the Baptist (v35), but regardless, Jesus sought him out and requested his company. Like Andrew, Phil excitedly approached someone else, in this case, a friend named Nathaniel BarTholemew, to tell him about Jesus. Phil said to his friend, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ It is interesting how he introduces Jesus. First, he states that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law given to Moses. Second, he explains that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. Third, he connects these to the carpenter son of Joseph from Nazareth. Either Phil or Nate must have been well versed in the Old Testament, perhaps even a teacher.
Nate’s response demonstrates that he had no problem with the first two points, but definitely had issue with the third. “Nathaniel said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip replied, ‘Come and see.’” Sceptical Nate gave it a go. Upon arrival in the presence of Christ, Jesus spoke first, saying ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!’ How is that for a greeting? Before even getting to know Nate, Jesus demonstrated His reliance on the Holy Spirit by stating a very personal detail about Nate: his honesty. When Nate asked Jesus, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus responded with another revealing statement, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ In Jewish culture, there was a fig tree by the front door of the house, under which one would sit for morning devotions and prayer. Whether Jesus had passed by and seen him, or saw him in His mind’s eye, this was a recognition before introduction! These two pronouncements convinced Nate, such that he exclaimed, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God!’ Glad that he had clearly understood His identity, Jesus told Nate, ‘You will see greater things than these.’
When you were introduced to Jesus Christ, what was your first impression? How did you respond? Perhaps you were like Philip, eager to tell your friends, convinced that He is the promised Messiah. Perhaps you are like Nathaniel, cautious and skeptical, but quick to accept the evidence given. Make sure that you are like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who search the Scriptures for the clear evidence. Get to know the right perspective regarding Jesus Christ. He is indeed our teacher, Saviour, the Son of God. He wants to help you have a personal relationship with the Creator God!