Soon after Jesus had His first encounter with Peter, He was introduced to Philip’s friend Nathanael. With this meeting Jesus established one of the most fundamental aspects of the Kingdom of God in the earth! From the little bit that the bible tells us about Nathanael, I get the impression that he was what we would call a “straight shooter.” The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines this behavior as “One who is honest and forthright.” This is not the type of individual who shoots from the hip, kind of like Peter was before Christ. The “straight shooter” is one who thinks first and then makes an honest and intelligent statement based on the information that he has. He is also humble enough to change his thoughts when accurate contrary information is presented.
In John 1:45-49 Nathanael is slightly skeptical of the idea of the promised Messiah coming from the insignificant and poor town of Nazareth. But after hearing Jesus’ words, he immediately reverses his earlier conclusion and makes a firm declaration of faith in Him. Nathanael’s response must have really excited Jesus for He looked at him and declared: “You believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” Then to everyone assembled there He explained that based on this kind of faith, “I can guarantee this truth: You will see the sky open up and God’s angels going up and coming down to the Son of Man.” (John 1:50-51 God’s Word ©)
In this allusion to Jacob’s vision in Genesis 28:12-22, the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states “By and by, says Jesus here, ‘Ye shall see this communication between heaven and earth thrown wide open and the Son of Man the real ladder of this intercourse.” It would seem that Jesus was demonstrating the standard set by the angel Gabriel when he explained how his message from God was all going to work, beginning with Zechariah and Elizabeth and then Mary and continuing on through Jesus and the acts of His followers through the generations to come. Gabriel’s simple explanation to the young girl was that “No word from God shall be void of power.” (Luke 1:37 American Standard Version) Mary’s response in verse 38 is almost identical to Nathanael’s. She believed the Word of God… and the miraculous happened!
When we take an additional look at Hebrews chapter eleven, we begin to get a clear understanding of the power and importance of our faith in Christ and its ability to open wide the communication between heaven and earth which results in the supernatural overriding of any natural authority or power. This is exactly what Jesus was inferring way back then in the beginning of His ministry. Our understanding, believing in and obedience to His Word is the key to the abundant (zoe) life that Jesus came to bring into each of our lives! (See: John 1:1-5)
So… how many Nathanael’s do you know? Would you consider yourself a Nathanael who quickly put aside his own thoughts and desires when he heard the Word of life spoken from the lips of the Master? That’s how I want to be… and I bet you want to as well!
Popular tradition says that after Jesus’ assumption into heaven that Nathanael brought the Gospel to China, Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, Lycaonia, and finally ended up in Armenia in what is now eastern Turkey. Where will you bring it? Have a super weekend. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”