Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 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.” 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. John 1: 47-51
Nathanael was a normal human being: arrogant, pretentious, judgmental and unloving. When Philip came to him and told him about Jesus, the one Moses and the prophets wrote, he wasn’t even curious. God sent His Messiah and he could have missed Him because he thought that he was superior to people from Nazareth; because he didn’t respect enough his friend Philip’s opinion. He didn’t love his friend enough to go with him to make sure that he wasn’t being deceived by a usurper. Yes, he was just being human (John 1:43-46).
Jesus was not a normal human. He was God become flesh to save us (John 1:1; 14). And He showed Nathanael how merciful and gracious He was. And through this encounter He showed us what a Savior He is. He could have rebuked Nathanael for his pride and his judgmental attitude. He could have said a lot things but He chose to win Nathanael’s heart. Nathanael didn’t even notice how Jesus praised him. He noticed that Jesus knew him, that Jesus knew him not just as another sinful human being but as Nathanael, a unique man who got His attention.
Then Jesus revealed to Nathanael the wonderful plan that He had for him. Jesus said to him:” I will show you who I am so that you will never doubt anymore. I will make you see my glory. That is my plan for your life.” (John 14:21)
What a wonderful plan. And today Jesus is the same for and with us. He had known us before we met Him and had decided to win us even before we were born (Ephesians 1:4-5). Think of what God did to win you. Think of how He welcomed you as you were. And think of how He is revealing himself to you from glory to glory. And rejoice because one day you will see Him face to face and will know Him completely (1 Corinthians 13:12).
What a glorious grace.