1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
1:46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
1:48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
1:49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
1:50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
1:51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
The calling of Philip and Nathanael gives us a picture of God’s Grace being put on display. He sought out Philip and used Philip to seek out Nathanael. Following and answering the call of Christ is the greatest and most important call that we could ever answer. There are two different responses that we see from answering the call to Christ. The first is an immediate from Philip and the second one is a delayed response.
Jesus seeks out Philip and personally tells him to follow after Him. There is no hesitation or questioning. He does not care as to where Jesus came from or His earthly family background. His heart is ready and eager to follow after Him and this is the response that we should have when Christ seeks after us. God is always on the move to win lost souls over to Him, His desire is to see many and all get saved and come to accept the message of the Gospel. The calling of the disciples is meant to show us that we too can be a part of Jesus’s mission that He started to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
In the calling of Nathanael we notice that it is not Jesus Himself who initially calls him. He uses Philip as a means to bring Nathanael into the fold. However, here we notice a different response from Philip. There is questioning and challenging on Nathanael’s end and he is not as quick and eager to follow after Christ as Philip was. The question that Nathan asks in verse 46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth” is crucial because it reflects both a weak heart and doubt that one who came from a more humble background could be anything special. Jesus was not part of the elite crowd of that time and someone from Nazareth was looked down upon. Nathanael failed to see that Jesus held so much more then just His earthly background and that He truly is the Savior of the world.
It is by God’s Grace that both these men came to the understanding and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Despite their different responses it is God’s Grace that truly saves and redeems.
Jesus was indeed from a very insignificant town. It’s insignificance is again questioned in John 7:52 by the Pharisees.
Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.
Yet, this was typical of Jesus’ ministry. He was unassuming. He was not from nobility. He was not from Jerusalem. He was not wealthy. He was a humble son of a carpenter, from a small insignificant town. However, like the rest of Jesus’ ministry, the ones who discover that He is the messiah are the ones willing to “come and see” as Phillip told his skeptical brother.
Today we also must encourage others to come and see the Lord. See that He is good and that He want’s to make us whole. If you have a skeptical friend you do not need to try convincing them mentally of why they ought to follow Jesus. Just invite them to come and test the waters and let Jesus do the rest. When I became a Christian it was not because someone convinced me. It was because I asked the Lord to reveal Himself to me and He did. No mental gymnastics involved. If someone is earnestly seeking God, they will find Him.