The Gospel of John gives a short, yet powerful account of a man named Nathanael who heard about Jesus through his friend Philip, but had strong doubts about who he said he was. Not until Nathanael encountered Jesus for himself, and heard him speak, did he believe in him. Here’s what John’s account says:
John 1:44-51 – The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.) Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.” But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.” When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.” Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.” Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”
On my upcoming album (Wonders In the Deep) I’ve included a song I wrote that was inspired as I helped lead worship one Sunday morning at our church. The melody came during worship, and the words came later as I read about Nathanael’s dramatic encounter with Jesus. The Lord sees us just as he saw Nathanael under the fig tree, and has seen us and known us even before we’ve ever given him a thought. Jesus cares about us wherever we are, in whatever we’re doing. Hear “Nathanael’s Song” now.