Most of what we know of Nathanael is from John 1:43-51 as we read about his calling by Jesus. First we see Phillip “found by Jesus” (John 1:43) and then told to follow Jesus. Then Phillip immediately and enthusiastically tells his friend Nathanael about Jesus. Nathanael, though, is a bit skeptical.

Jesus asked [Nathanael], “Do you believe [I am the Son of God] just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” I can imagine the speechless look on Nathaniel’s face as Jesus continues by telling him that he will see even greater things,the heavens opening up and angels coming up and down on the “Son of Man,” that being Jesus Himself.

For Nathanael, seeing was believing. He needed evidence. Jesus promised him more evidence. Jesus’ announcement of the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man probably connects with the dream of Jacob in Genesis 28:12, where Jacob saw a ladder from earth to heaven, and the angels ascending and descending upon it. Jesus said that He was the ladder, the link, between heaven and earth. When Nathanael came to understand that Jesus is the mediator between God and man, it would be an even greater sign (you will see greater things than these).

We see Nathanael go from being a skeptic to being a seeker of Jesus. Jesus challenges Nathaniel to look beyond Jesus’ power to know what was in his heart. Jesus wants to lead Nathaniel to see greater things. He wants Nathaniel to know that when he is around Jesus, he is looking through the window into heaven. Jesus is “the stairway between heaven and earth,”

Here is a great example of how I need to bring others to Jesus. Jesus still does all the doing, but He works through me. Philip had to tell Nathaniel “come and see.” Nathaniel had to come. However, Jesus had been watching Nathaniel all along. My job is merely to say “come and see” and it is on that person to come and it is on Jesus to give the gift of faith.

Heavenly Father forgive all the times we let doubt creep into our hearts. We know that Jesus has done wonderful things for us. We know we can trust you to fulfill your promise to show us even more amazing things.

Deb Hill

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