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Apostles - Nathanael

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INTRODUCTION

 

  1. Who is this Nathanael?
    1. His FULL name may have been Nathanael Bartholomew

  1. We know little about Nathanael
    1. Very little written about him
    2. From the few verses we get a good insight though into his CHARACTER

WE DO KNOW THAT NATHANAEL WAS A SEEKER OF THE TRUTH

 

A. This is seen in the way Philip put his announcement

 

John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph

 

1.      Think we can ASSUME that these two had spent a lot of time in study

    1. They SEARCHED the scriptures
    2. They wanted to know what the Messiah would be like
    3. They wanted to know when the Messiah would come
    4. They were seekers

  1. Philip’s FIRST concern was to reach his friend Nathanael
    1. Jesus has challenged Philip to FOLLOW Him #. Philip is just doing what Jesus asked

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

3.      Look at the JOY in Philips voice – “we have found him

a.       What he had been searching for, he FOUND

b.      He - as well as Nathanael - KNEW the scriptures   

B. BUT Nathanael was skeptical at first

 

John 1:46   And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

  1. Nathanael could not understand how anything GOOD could come from such POOR people who lived around Nazareth
    1. We see some PREJUDICE here
    2. He had allowed himself to be INFLUENCED by the world’s foolishness

  1. Nazareth
    1. Small village in Galilee
    2. Galilee bordered the Gentile or heathen nations
    3. Sometimes called ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’
    4. The Jews had deep PREJUDICE against the Gentiles
    5. They considered anyone or anything touched by a GENTILE to be unclean in the sight of God
    6. Nazareth’s problem was that it TOUCHED the Gentile land
    7. Nazareth had COMMERCIAL ties with the Gentiles
    8. Incidentally it was also despised by the ROMANS

1.)    Its citizens were conquered people

  1. Story goes that when the Wright brothers were working on their first airplane in Dayton
    1. Word spread about Dayton
    2. One local is reported as saying: “No man will ever fly, and if any man does fly, it won’t be anybody from Dayton.  If any man from Dayton does fly it won’t be the Wright brother.”
    3. He was wrong in all 3 cases

1.)    Man does fly

2.)    He was from Dayton

3.)    And he was a Wright brother

  1. Jesus said such attitude – such PREJUDICE would prevail

Matthew 13:57  And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

C.  Philip was a practical man

1.      He did not ARGUE with Nathanael

a.       He did not JUSTIFY Nazareth

b.      He just said “Come and See

c.       He still INVITED Nathanael to FOLLOW Jesus

2.      Nathanael - being a true seeker - went to see for HIMSELF

Jeremiah 29:13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

ANOTHER THING WE CAN SAY ABOUT NATHANAEL WAS THAT HE WAS SINCERE

 

A. What a difference it made when he MET Jesus face to face

 

 

John 1:47   Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

1.      Jesus KNEW Nathanael

a.       Jesus KNEW his beliefs

1.)    Jesus called Nathanael an Israelite indeed

2.)    Nathanael symbolically represented ISRAEL

3.)    He BELIEVED the promises of God

4.)    He tried to live up to the COVENANT name

5.)    He looked for that BLESSED hope

6.)    Jesus KNEW Nathanael

b.      Jesus KNEW his character

1.)    Nathanael was a man without guile

2.)    Nathanael did not deceive, bait or mislead people

3.)    Nathanael did not hide what he thought

4.)    Nathanael was straightforward, open, honest

B. But now Nathanael met the Master

1.      What more could he say

a.      Nathanael was a SEEKER, Nathanael was SINCERE, AND:

 

NATHANAEL WAS ALSO A MAN OF PRAYER

 

A. Hearing Jesus describe him as an ‘Israelite indeed’, Nathanael asked  “how do you know?”

 

John 1:48  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.

1.      A Palestine house of the common people, THERE was only 1 room

a.       If you wanted a place of QUIET meditation

1.)    You sought the shade of the FIG tree

1.      With their big leaves

b.      There Jesus saw Nathanael PRAYING

2.      It is not easy finding QUIET time for meditation and prayer in our homes

a.       The radio, the TV

b.      The telephone 

c.       Silence seems to be so HARD to come by

3.      Historian writer Arnold Toynbee in his work on the ‘Rise of Civilization’

a.       Toynbee points out that the CREATIVE personalities who FOUNDED the great civilizations

1.)    THEY drew their creative power from the quiet time

2.)    Quiet time for thinking and mediation

b.      Toynbee uses for examples:

1.)    Moses on the mountain

2.)    Jesus in the wilderness

3.)    Paul’s 3 years in Arabia

4.      In the QUIET places OUR spirits are developed

a.       Nathanael was a SEEKER, Nathanael was SINCERE, Nathanael was a man of prayer, next:

NATHANAEL WAS ALSO A MAN OF WHOLE HEARTED DEVOTION

A. Nathanael was overwhelmed by what Jesus said

1.      How could Jesus know so much about me?

 

John 1:49  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

 

2.      Nathanael found his Messiah

a.       No more could he return to the past

b.      No more would his life be the same

c.       No more because he had MET the master face to face

3.      On a slab in the cathedral of Lubeck, Germany are these words:

Ye call me master and obey me not,

Ye call me light and see me not,

Ye call me Way and walk in me not.

Ye call me Life and desire me not.

Ye call me wise and follow me not,

Ye call me fair and love me not

Ye call me rich and ask me not

Ye call me eternal and seek me not

Ye call me gracious and trust me not

Ye call me noble and serve me not

Ye call me mighty and honor me not

Ye call me just and fear me not

If I condemn you, blame me not.

   

b.      We to are CALLED to live a life of COMPLETE obedience and trust

c.       Nathanael was a SEEKER, Nathanael was SINCERE, Nathanael was a man of prayer, Nathanael was completely DEVOTED:

FINALLY, NATHANAEL WAS A MAN OF STAYING POWER

 

A. Jesus predicted that Nathanael would SEE greater things

 

John 1:50-51 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. 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.      FOUR times in the gospel of John we find that angels came to Jesus

a.       At His baptism

b.      At His temptation

c.       On the Mount of Transfiguration

d.      And in the Garden of Gethsemane

2.      Jesus was MAKING a promise to Nathanael 

a.       He would see more and more of the communion of the SON with the Father

b.      And the FATHER with the Son  

3.      What an adventure Nathanael was about to undertake

 B. History records that Nathanael was whipped to death

 

1.      At the hands of King Astyages in Armenia

CONCLUSION

 

1.      Nathanael walked close to the Lord

 

2.      Nathanael was

a.    A SEEKER

b.    SINCERE,

c.    A man of prayer,

d.      Completely DEVOTED:

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