Are you the right size?
Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him and said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel– a man of complete integrity.” – John 1:47
43 On the next day Jesus wanted to set out for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
45 Philip found Nathaniel and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets also wrote about – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 Nathaniel replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip replied, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him and exclaimed, “Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
48 Nathaniel asked him, “How do you know me?” Jesus replied, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!”
Two stories come down to us regarding the humility of George Washington.
George Washington was riding when he came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood without success. The corporal was standing by as the men struggled.
The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied: “I am the corporal. I give orders.”
The rider dismounted, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they tried to lift the wood, he helped them. With his help, the task was carried out.
He quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the commander-in-chief.”
Once when George Washington was riding near Washington DC with a group of friends, their horses leaped over a wall. One steed kicked off a number of stones.
“Better replace them” suggested the General.
“Oh, let the farmer do it,” replied the friends.
When the riding party was over, Washington turned his horses back the way they had come. Dismounting at the wall, he carefully replaced the stones.
“Oh General,” said a companion, “you are too big to do that.”
“On the contrary,” answered Washington,
“I am the right size.”
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less (C. S. Lewis).
After spending only, a short time with the Lord Jesus, Philip was convinced that the Lord Jesus was the promised Messiah. Philip was excited and wanted to share. He sought out Nathaniel. Nathaniel was skeptical, but Philip convinced him to meet Jesus with the simple phrase, “come and see.”
As the Lord Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, He gave Nathaniel a tremendous complement, “Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
Nathaniel responded in true humility. False humility might have said, “Ah shucks”, or “gosh”, or “you don’t mean it”.
Instead, Nathaniel responded in true humility, “How do you know me?” Nathaniel was well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He knew who he was. That was not the issue.
The issue was how did Jesus know who Nathaniel was?
REFLECT & PRAY
There are no accidents in the Father’s kingdom. The Father knows all things in advance. He knows each of us intimately before we ever come to know Him. Whether we are loaded with fish bait are not, we are accepted and welcomed just as we are.
Father help me to have an accurate assessment of my strengths and weaknesses and acknowledge them both. Encourage me to think of myself less. Help me to be just the right size.
Nathaniel’s response of faith in the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah seems a bit over-the-top given the information that is recorded in John’s gospel. But the Lord Jesus knew much more. He knew Nathaniel’s inner thoughts and recent experiences. The Lord Jesus related facts about Nathaniel, that only Nathaniel and the Father knew. How could He possibly have such inside information?
While we can never know the exact content of Nathaniel’s thoughts or prayers, there is no doubt that the Lord Jesus had discerned his innermost heart. Nathaniel said to himself: “Here is the man who understands my dreams! Here is the man who knows my prayers! Here is the man who has seen into my most intimate and secret longings, longings which I have never even dared put into words! Here is the man who can translate the inarticulate sigh of my soul! This must be God’s promised anointed one and no other” (Barclay).
Perhaps a bit of educated speculation is warranted. Leafy fig trees provided cool shade in the midst of the day. They were a safe place of rest and comfort, where one could be undisturbed (Micah 4:4). Here people of faith could reflect, meditate, and pray.
Perhaps it is not a big reach to suppose that Nathaniel might have been meditating on the promises of the Father, praying, “Lord, when will the Messiah come? Will I know Him? Please show me a sign.”
John 1:47 “Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
The Greek word translated true is alethos has the sense of real or genuine, actual, authentic. A more literal translation might be, “Here is truly an Israelite,” that is, “Here is an Israelite worthy of the name.”
The Greek word translated deceit is dolos. This word literally meant fish bait. It came to connote deceit, treachery, fraud, cunning, dishonesty, taking advantage through craft and deception.
A person without deceit is one who “would never lie” or “would never deceive anyone.” Such a person is one who is trusted to tell the truth, without wavering.
Psalm 32:2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit!
Are you the right size?