Thursday, October 11, 2012
So last night I was reading John 1 (really, really good chapter btw) and I came across something I had never noticed before. *sigh* I just love Jesus (well that I knew). He just gets people ya know? And after reading this I. Love. Nathanael. I think we would have been pals if we had lived in the same era. If they made a movie about Jesus and the disciples I think Nathanael would have been the comic relief guy. He just tells it straight. A man after my own heart. In verse 43 of chapter one Jesus finds Philip and so Philip goes to Nathanael and says, "We found Him! The guy everyone has been writing about and looking for we found Him! It's Jesus of Nazareth." (obviously I'm paraphrasing) And what does Nathanael say? I love this guy. He says, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Can't you just visualize his confused look? Like, Huh? I'm sure some may think of Nathanael as a smart mouth or at best a little insensitive. But I think Nathanael was just being honest. I can appreciate a guy like that. Just tell it to me straight. That's how I am. And how often have I been misunderstood? Well, a lot.
So I love, love, love this next part. In verse 47 before Philip and Nathanael even get to Jesus, He sees them. He. Sees. Them. And He must have shouted out because it says, "Jesus saw them coming," He says (or shouts), "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" Notice the exclamation mark. And I love what comes next. Nathanael says, "How do you know me?" Not, "Who? *confused look* Me? You think that of me?" I love that when Jesus called out to Nathanael and told Him who he was Nathanael did not question it. He knew who he was too. (*dreamy sigh* A man of honesty and confidence. Does it get any better?) He was a man of no deceit His intentions were never to hurt anyone with what he was saying. He was just speaking out the truth. Apparently Nazareth had a reputation for no good. And Jesus saw that bout Nathanael and validated him.
Ok so this next part cracks me up. So Jesus plays along and responds to Nathanael's question by saying in verse 48, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” and Nathanael is shocked and says, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” I love adding periods for dramatic affect so I picture it something like this: "Rabbi, You. Are the Son of God; You. Are the King of Israel." Remember, Nathanael is for real, there is no deceit in him so he says what he thinks. And He knows that Jesus is the Christ but I personally think He knew that from the moment Jesus first called out to Him.
Ok so this is the part that is just awesome. Jesus starts talking Nathanael's language. I just love that! I love that Jesus just speaks to us in ways we understand. For me, He talks to me about hair. That may be weird to some people but that's kind of the point. So Jesus responds to Nathanael's dismay and exclamation with, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?" Some might consider Christ a smart mouth in that instant. Do you see His cocked eyebrow and look of incredulity? That's how I used to see it. But I don't think so. I don't think Jesus is like that. He's just talking straight with a guy who is a straight talker. He's speaking Nathanael's language. I imagine Nathanael is the kind of guy that didn't put up with too much BS if ya know what I mean. And Jesus meets him there. He says, "Really? You are impressed by that? Or did you know already? When I called you by name?" And this bit gets me every time. In verse 51 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Mm. Mm. Mm. Don't remember Jesus every saying something like that to anyone else. Jesus opened Nathanael's eyes. He said, "This is who I created you to be. I created you to be a straight talker. You cut to the truth and I love it. And now I'm going to open you're eyes and you will see. You. Will. See."
Now, for all those straight talkers out there like me and Nathanael and Jesus. Of course we've been accused of being a smart mouth and talking too much and being insensitive and too blunt or tactless. And well all of that is probably true upon occasion. But, it's a beautiful thing, what He can do to reign us in and teach us and help us. Don't loose that confidence to say what you mean. He created you that way. If it makes people uncomfortable, well, it probably should.