August 24, 2018

Revelations 21:9B-14


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.



John 1:45-51


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 duplicity!” 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.”






Why do you suppose Jesus said that there was no duplicity in Nathaniel? Nathaniel came onto the scene skeptical and questioning Jesus, but the moment Jesus sees him, He praises him. A few things are going on here. First of all, Nathaniel is honest about where he is in his faith journey. He wants to find the Messiah, but when he hears about the nature of how people have found the Messiah, he questions it. But then he gathers the information for himself, which brings him directly into an encounter with Christ. Nathaniel's remark about Nazareth has to do with the culture and reputation of the town. Nazareth was a port city meaning that sailors drifted in and out of it. This shaped the culture in making it one of heavy promiscuity. The Virgin Mary being found with child before being united to Joseph bore strong implications of her character, and a man rising to spiritual power from that place was unheard of. But Christ understood Nathaniel's sincerity in His search, knew that his concerns and questions were valid, and in His Godly nature, revealed Himself to Nathaniel in a way that Nathaniel would uniquely understand.  


Nathaniel's conversion experience is similar to other's conversions. First  is the search for truth; inside the heart of each person is a desire to understand truth. It may take various forms in different people, but each person wants to understand the world and find their place in it. The next element of Nathaniel's conversion is his skepticism. We believe in a profound, beautiful, yet complicated God. Nathaniel had questions and doubts and heard things that he couldn't quite believe. This is also true for most people. A relationship with Jesus always starts with faith, and faith is often battled by doubt. But when Nathaniel sought answers, he found Jesus, and that is the beauty of conversion. The scripture promises that the one who seeks, finds, and Nathaniel illustrates that today.


Today, consider where you are in your spiritual journey. Are you at the place of seeking truth? Have you heard things about Jesus that you simply don't know how to believe? Are you looking for answers even if you're feeling skeptical? Or are you already in relationship with Jesus, but still have unanswered questions about Him? Wherever you are, know that Jesus is waiting for you. Similar to how He saw Nathaniel under the tree, He sees you and knows what you are struggling with, what your questions may be, how you've been hurt, and all He wants is for you to seek Him so that He may reveal His love to you.


Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to seek you. Faith can be tricky and I still need to grow in knowing you. Will you give me the grace to approach you today? Lord I know that you see me and you know me. Today I choose to trust in you again, and I pray that you will help me to know you more fully. Amen.

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