A Skeptic Becomes A Believer
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 16 April 2017
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
1 Corinthians 2:12-16
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
oday’s passage teaches us how the efforts of a determined Philip were rewarded, when Jesus Christ dealt with Nathaniel’s skepticism and led him to genuine faith in Him.
Nathaniel was pleasantly surprised by the omniscience of Jesus Christ: The Lord’s remark of Nathaniel as “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile” is descriptive of his character (v.47). Jesus was saying that though Nathaniel expressed some skepticism, he was not a deceiver. Nathaniel was even more surprised when Christ accurately told him about his whereabouts before he came to Him. Jesus told him that He saw him when he was sitting under the fig tree. Ancient Jewish literature tells us that the Israelites often used the shades of the fig trees to meditate. Nathaniel might have also been meditating. Marvellous knowledge of Christ! Seeing Christ’s omniscience, Nathaniel affirmed Christ as the Son of God. He also accepted Christ as the King of Israel and therefore, being a true Israelite, as his own King.
Nathaniel was pleasantly surprised by the blessings Christ offered him: Jesus said that Nathaniel and other believers will “see heaven open,” but we read nothing of them having any such experience. So the phrase, “heaven open” may be understood as a figurative expression as God granting them understanding on divine matters. This interpretation is consistent with the usage of the phrase elsewhere in the Bible (Acts 10:11; Rev 4:1, 19:11). It is Christ’s promise of heaven-sent confirmation about the greatness of Christ and His blessings. It’s a promise to every believer. That promise is further assured by the affirmation that believers will see “angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” In other words, Christ’s subsequent life and ministry would provide proof about His deity through the angelic ministration He would receive. The Gospel writers tell us that angels attended to Christ during His earthly ministry (cf. Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; Matt 28:2–4; Jn 20:12, 13). Christ’s attributes and experiences confirm to us that He was God the Son, and truly God Himself.
Christ has come to us that we might come to Him.
Lord, grant me deeper understanding of Thyself.