John 1 The Message (MSG)
Come, See for Yourself
43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)
45-46 Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.” But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
47 When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”
48 Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.” Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49 Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”
50-51 Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”
(1) In what ways have you heard God's voice?
(2) How can prophecy and other spiritual gifts be used in evangelism?
(3) How do we protect the gospel message and right living while practicing spiritual gifts?
Jesus called two disciples in this passage. In Philip's case, it seems he followed right away, even being convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. Since Philip says, "we've found", he is not only talking about himself, but also Andrew and Peter who were also called to follow Jesus. If it wasn't the main reason, Philip at least believed the testimony from Andrew and Peter about Jesus.
For Philip, it didn't matter where Jesus came from. He already knew without doubt that Jesus was the one the prophets spoke about. Some of us encounter Jesus in this way. When we hear a message about Jesus or someone we trust shares the truth of Jesus, we believe and are convicted in our hearts to respond in faith to his grace.
Nathanael was not the same. He was shocked that Philip would conclude God's chosen Messiah could come from Nazareth. It's safe to say he was skeptical, doubting that this Jesus of Nazareth really was the Messiah. It was after a prophetic word that Nathanael was convinced Jesus really was who Philip said he was.
Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, saw Nathanael under a fig tree, and even more than just having this vision, he saw the heart of Nathanael's character. This gift is later called prophecy or discerning of spirits by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. Jesus declared Nathanael to be an Israelite without deceit.
Jesus had no insecurities about who he was nor was he worried about convincing Nathanael. He wasn't relying on Nathanael's physical senses to learn the truth. Jesus relied on the power of the Holy Spirit, who enabled him to use exactly the right method to convince Nathanael with just two sentences.
The way we come to know Jesus and become his disciples may not be the same way others will come to know him and become his disciples. If Jesus had used the same two sentences with another disciple, it may not have been enough to convince them. The key is to rely on the Holy Spirit.
Some people don't believe because they enjoy sin more than right living, but others don't believe because they haven't been told the true gospel. Instead of only using the same method on each person, we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom in each situation. The Holy Spirit in you can speak to your spirit and lead you even in the midst of a conversation.
You may have a vision or impression or encouragement for someone you are talking to. You also may feel led to speak a miracle in their life. Before you act on something you believe to be from God, test it with the Bible. If it lines up, take a risk and share with genuineness. People will know when you're being authentic.
The most important principle when walking in spiritual gifts is to know it's all about Jesus. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and wants to lead us into all truth. We must keep our focus on Jesus, rejecting the fear of man that will make us nervous and awkward. Finally, when exercising spiritual gifts, it is always essential to remain true to the core message of faith.