The basis of our belief – Part 2 – Christ’s promise to Nathanael

This is an exciting post. Considering the spiritual struggle going inside of me today, this is just wonderful news. I won’t dilly-dally, I’d like to get right to the point:

John 1:48-50

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  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.”

Nathanael declared Christ to be the son of God simply because Christ gave a simple supernatural statement in verse 48 (He saw Nathanael, though he wasn’t physically present to do so). Look at verse 50 though:

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.”

How easy it is to get spiritual amnesia, focusing so much on our small problems (compared to our huge God), not realizing that not only does God answer the prayers in our individual puzzle piece needs, but He also is the grand designer of the puzzle!

Basically, Christ was telling Nathanael, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” You think it was amazing, Nathanael, that Christ saw you under a fig tree? Have you yet contemplated that He will also save you from your sins?

Verse 51:

And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

In a visual reminder of the story of Jacob in Genesis 28, Christ reveals that He isn’t just a need-meeter, He isn’t just a “Dr. Feel-good,” He isn’t just a supernatural physician. He CAN be those things, but to relegate Christ to a divine bellhop is to rob ourselves of the opportunity to see who HE really is!

He is King, He is Lord, He is Sovereign! He will be a greater way to access God the Father than the ladder in which the angels traversed in Jacob’s dream. He, being the only possible solution, BECAME the only possible solution to our condition of sin. The miracle which has granted us access to God the Father and the ability to be righteous through Him far outweighs any of our present circumstances, troubles and blessings included!

So whether or not we are troubled, or whether we are blessed – we all have something greater to thank Him for than the circumstances surrounding our own loves. Where would we be without Him?

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The basis of our belief – Part 1 – Nathanael’s Condition

Have you ever had God do something wonderful and amazing in your life? An answer to prayer? An unexpected blessing? Has he given you comfort during your grief? Has he protected you during your storms? Has he provided to you when provision was needed?

God has answered many prayers for us. I could go on and on about the prayers God has answered. We have a prayer in our life right now we are emphatically praying that God will answer. Perhaps one of the bigger “requests” we have ever made known to God. The fact is, God knows what is best for us. His perfect plan exceeds our best plan, as I’ve mentioned before. Whether or whether not we understand His ways, they are greater than our ways.

Isaiah 55:8-9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

In the first chapter of John, Jesus Christ begins the calling of the disciples. I stopped at the calling of Nathanael near the end of the chapter, in verses 45-51:

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 anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward 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 him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 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.”51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

As Nathanael is not mentioned by name in the other Gospels, scholars have mostly landed that this is in fact the disciple Bartholomew.  Jesus refers to him as “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit.” This is in contrast to the first “Israel,” that is, Jacob, who was indeed deceitful (Genesis 27:35-36). Jesus here is commenting that Nathanael is ready to consider whether or not Jesus is the Christ, and is operating without duplicity or deceit, motive or agenda.

Are we ready to consider whether or not He is Lord? Specifically, Lord of our lives? We have to come to a place in which we are able to make this determination. We cannot acknowledge Jesus as Lord while still maintaining citizenship in the world. James 4:3 says, “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” Dual citizenship cannot occur within the kingdom of Heaven. For example, concerning finances, Christ himself says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

A commitment for and a live lived for Christ should not and cannot be simultaneously committed to things contrary to the kingdom (what we refer to exhaustively as “the world”). It is not a convenient lifestyle. It is “all in.” We can know about Christ, and even believe He exists, all without having a personal walk and intimacy with Him.

So, what does your life look like? Is it a life lived in acknowledgment that a “big guy” might exist out there in heaven for you to tip your hat to every now and then, or is it lived as a full-fledged act of worship to God, whom has orchestrated your life from the very beginning?

I’m respectful that my friends believe there is a God, but I’m also obliged to tell them that such a simple belief statement isn’t enough. Read on…

It’s either a complete yes, or a complete no. I think “halfway” answers are even worse – maybe this is what is being talked about to the church of Laodicea in the 15th chapter of Revelation (v 15-16):

“’I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Live for Him! Completely! Without keeping any of “you” to yourself!

-Pastor Harvey – Part 2 coming soon – “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”