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Ladder from Heaven, This week we are going to study John 1:43-51. So, let’s read the passage, “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 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 1:43-51
In this passage, Jesus calls more of his disciples to follow Him. They were from the same city as Peter and Andrew, so I wonder if Peter told Jesus about Philip or if it was Jesus’ intention from the beginning? When I read this I can not help but think of the men who wanted to follow Jesus, but wanted to do something else first or did not want to live like Jesus in Luke 9:57-62. I wonder how long Philip waited to find Nathanael? Whether he waited a night or went at once because he knew Nathanael had been looking for the Messiah his entire life. I do not think we can know the answer to that. This is one of the few times when Nathanael and Philip are mentioned in the Bible.
One of the things I find most interesting about the calling of Philip and Nathanael is what Jesus calls Nathanael. He calls him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Why do you think that He called him this? Is it because Nathanael was a man who was known for being truthful or was it what he wanted to be called, who he strived to be, either way, Jesus knew him. I do not think we can know, but no matter why Jesus called him that, we know that Jesus knew who Nathanael was and wanted him to follow Him and be a part of what He was doing. Just like He wants you to be a part of His story, you have two options at this point, you can choose to follow Jesus and give your life to Him or like the men in Luke 9:57-62 who decided not to follow Jesus because they were not willing to give up their homes and lives to follow Him because they loved their possessions more than they loved God. We have to choose, everyone who has lived and will live has and will have to choose whether they will follow Jesus or deny Him and follow their passions and desires. What you choose is a choice each of us has to make for ourselves, no one else can choose for us. If you would like to follow Jesus all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.
We also see in the next verse that Nathanael was sitting under a fig tree and was probably alone before Philip brought him to Jesus. This is when Nathanael says that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus tells Nathanael that he believed because He saw him under the fig tree. Just like Nathanael, God sees you and wants to have a relationship with you and loves you more than any other being ever could. But because of our sin, we are separated from Him, but the good news is that we do not have to be separated from Him, we can choose to follow Him today. Jesus then told Nathanael He would see greater things than these. He told him he would see heaven open and the angels ascending and descending on the Son of God. I think that maybe while Nathanael was under the fig tree he was thinking of the account of Jacob’s dream where there was a ladder to Heaven and angels were ascending and descending in Genesis 28:10-19. This was Jesus telling Nathanael that He truly knew him and that He was the ladder that connects Heaven and Earth and He was worth trusting, and that Nathanael should stick around and he would see and experience things he would have never even dream of.
So this week, remember that God knows you and wants to have a relationship with everyone, and just like Philip we should go get our friends, and bring them to Christ. Also, know that Jesus created everything and what he has in store for us is far greater than we could dream or imagine. And that Jesus is the only ladder that connects Heaven and Earth and is the only way to be with God forever.
Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John