Our Gospel this week is John 1:43-51, taken today from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and told him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him. “Come and see,” Philip answered. Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus answered. “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!” Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Nathanael is a little sceptical about Jesus’ identity and background initially. Hearing the invitation from his friend Philip to “come and see” interests him enough that he goes to Jesus, who welcomes him with an acceptance of this scepticism. Jesus isn’t upset when we ask honest questions to know more.
His experience is very human, wanting some reassurance that Jesus is who Philip claims Him to be. He wants to believe for the sake of their friendship and the anticipation of the Messiah. While Nathanael may not have come enthusiastically, Jesus removes his doubts and Nathanael becomes one of the first to proclaim Him as the Son of God.
When we share our faith with those around us, there may be scepticism and resistance. We must follow Jesus’ example of welcoming them and gently answering their questions about the God we worship. The best invitation we can offer is the one Philip gave Nathanael, “come and see”.
Loving Lord, we are glad to be able to share the joy of our connection with You. Help us to tell others the Good News in ways that encourage them to come to You. Amen.