Nathanael! In Whom There is Nothing False
John / Chapter 1 / V45-51
‘Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Come and see," said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."
Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."’ ~John 1:45-51
When Philip told Nathanael that Jesus was the Messiah whom Moses and the prophets wrote about, his immediate response was, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Long before Philip greeted Nathanael, the Lord had seen him under the fig tree. The Lord must also have heard the conversation between the two of them, and the words of Nathanael, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Strangely enough, instead of an expectant rebuke from the Lord, a word of praise came forth, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Nathanael had somehow managed to make a good impression on the Lord. What exactly did Nathanael do to have pleased the Lord?
From Nathanael’s reaction, Nazareth has to be an infamous city despised by many. Should anyone announce that the most corrupt and abominable villain has come from Nazareth, it would come as no surprise. However, should anyone claim that the King of Israel, the Son of God, has come from Nazareth, no one would believe him. It was natural to suppose that this person from Nazareth must be a swindler, for how can it be possible that the Messiah has come from such a lowly and immoral place?
Nathanael’s view was no different, he was frank and outspoken, and he told Philip precisely what was on his mind. And the Lord praised Nathanael because of this, for he was honest, straightforward and without any pretence or falsehood. Those that are involved in the work of evangelism would not find it difficult to understand why the Lord had praised Nathanael. When we evangelize, the most difficult group of people would be those that are quick to respond “yes” and “right” to whatever we say. These people do not actually agree with us in their hearts, but for the sake of not wanting to offend us, they politely accept everything we share to them. They are known as “Mr. Nice Guy” and this group of people are often the hardest to evangelize, for even their confession of the sinner’s prayer could be for the sake of pleasing us. On the contrary, people like Nathanael are the most argumentative and rude. However, upon having the questions of their hearts answered, they will receive the Lord truthfully and are genuinely saved. Therefore, it is much better to meet with people like Nathanael than “Mr. Nice Guy.”
Nathanael having heard that Jesus was from Nazareth, despised Him immediately, and was unwilling to believe that He was the Messiah. Although he was wrong, he was wrong in an honest way, he was many times better than the hypocritical Pharisees who always came before Jesus with God’s Law, only with the intention of trapping and killing Him. The Lord commented, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Jesus could find nothing false in Nathanael simply because his “No” meant “No” and did not say anything beyond what he thought about Jesus.