Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Upon meeting Jesus, Philip was instantly convinced that He was the Messiah, so he did what anyone would have done: He found a friend and invited Him to know Jesus too. It’s likely that Nathanael, like Philip, was a disciple of John the baptist, and therefore was someone who had been looking for and waiting for the coming Messiah. What Nathanael hadn’t been expecting was where the Messiah would come from. Philip told him the Messiah was “Jesus of Nazareth.”
What’s the big deal?
And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Hearing that the Messiah had come was no doubt a great source of excitement and encouragement for Nathanael. Hearing that He had been raised in the town of Nazareth, however, was a sticking point. Nathanael’s response is blunt and cold: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
This is a regional bias on display, as Nazareth had a reputation for being a town “on the wrong side of the tracks.” At its best it was an unimportant marker on the map, the place where nothing of importance happened and no one of importance originated. The idea that the Messiah, Immanuel Himself, would come out of such a city was unthinkable to Nathanael.
Philip’s response to his friend’s skepticism is delightful. Come and see, he says. Philip knew, from experience, that just spending a few moments with Jesus would be enough to captivate Nathanael and bring him into the sheepfold. That was just one of Jesus’ many innate gifts: He had a magnetic personality.
There’s more to the story, and we’ll get to it tomorrow. But we’ll stop here with a reminder that we need to be like Philip. His first instinct when getting to know Jesus was to find someone else to get to know Him too. And even when Nathanael’s first thought was to reject Jesus, Philip didn’t give up. He pressed the issue, and challenged his friend to give the Lord a chance. As we’ll find out tomorrow, Nathanael will give the Lord a chance, and it will change his life forever.
You never know who can be reached with the Gospel if you never try to reach anyone. And you never know who can be reached if you give up the first time they reject you.
Be like Philip: Find a friend and show them Jesus!