Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 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.”
When Nathanael first heard about Jesus, he has almost a snide response. Nathanael, otherwise known as Bartholomew, is a disciple who has an attitude. The most surprising part is that it is not a bad attitude. While it is easy to read a negative tone in his question to Philip, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Jesus does not read that tone. Jesus hails him as an Israelite who is truthful, who has no deceit in him at all. Nathanael is astounded that Jesus sees right through him. What Jesus saw was Nathanael being entirely himself, being entirely the man he made him to be. God had prepared him all of his life to be a disciple of the Christ, and here in his snide commentary, God lets him know that he sees him for who he truly is. Nathanael is not a man who is so preoccupied with himself that he is afraid of not sounding good. He is someone who calls it like he sees it. It is extraordinary that long before Simon Peter ever called Jesus the Christ before all of the disciples, Nathanael said it here. God prepared Nathanael to fulfill a specific purpose, to recognize the anointed one of God and to follow him.
Like Nathanael, we are all called to recognize God in our lives and to follow him. Like Nathanael, God sees each one of us for who we truly are. God sees us in our snide commentary. God sees us in our doubt. God sees us when we are tired, unsure, and angry. He sees all of the movements of our hearts, even the ones we are ashamed to show anyone else, and he is there for us. He knows who we truly are deep down because he knows who he made us to be. Unlike Nathanael, we may not have our names engraved on the foundation of the gate of the new city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. But we do have our names written on God’s heart and engraved in Jesus’ hands. We each have a divine plan laid out for our lives. For each one of us, that plan begins with our acknowledging Jesus and declaring him to be the Son of God, the King of Israel.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are God and I praise you. Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for who you made me to be. Thank you for the plan you have crafted for me. Help me to follow you in all things, and keep me on the path to you. Amen.