Whoa….are you watching The Chosen on TV? We recently watched episode two of season two, the one where Nathanael is introduced. It shows him under the fig tree crying out to God, he’s alone. He needs to be heard. He needs to be seen, but no one is there. But then, Philip, his friend, finds him under the tree and sits beside him. He tells him that he has found Jesus. “We’ve found him! We’ve found the One we’ve been waiting for! It’s Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth, the Anointed One! He’s the One that Moses and the prophets prophesied would come!”(John 1:45) Nathanael was skeptical and he listed all the reasons that nothing good could actually come out of Nazareth, but Philip persisted and off they went to meet Jesus.
The Chosen really drew me in to this story. I’ve read the story of Nathanael a few times, but I didn’t really get the significance of what happens next. Nathanael needed to be seen. “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching , he said, ‘Now here comes a true son of Israel-an honest man with no hidden motive!'” (John 1:47) Wow! That is a big statement from Jesus! This is what I want Jesus to say about me too-“an honest woman, with no hidden motive!” It’s beautiful. Nathanael, on the other hand, was somewhat skeptical. He didn’t graciously say “thank you”, instead he questioned the honesty of Jesus! “But, you’ve never met me-how do you know anything about me?”
I like that Nathanael if being exactly who Jesus said he was-honest! He doesn’t simply accept this statement, because to him it doesn’t make any sense that a man would proclaim this about him without actually knowing him, “you’ve never known me…” Jesus didn’t even flinch. In the show, Jesus didn’t immediately explain himself. They went on doing various things, but then right at the end, Jesus and Nathanael were together and Jesus said this: “Nathanael, right before Philip came to you I saw you sitting under the shade of a fig tree.” (John 1:48) Even though Jesus wasn’t physically present, He still saw him under the fig tree. He saw his pain. He heard his cry. He knew him.
Well, Nathanael was overwhelmed. All the pieces were coming together in his mind and he knew it was true. “Teacher, you are truly the Son of God and the King of Israel!” (John 1:49) Jesus loved his quick turn around and simple faith. “Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe simply because I told you I saw you sitting under a fig tree? You will experience even more impressive things that that! I prophesy to you eternal truth. From now on you all will see an open heaven and gaze upon the Son of Man like a stairway reaching into the sky with the messengers of God climbing up and down upon him!” (John 1:50) Nathanael did believe simply because Jesus saw him! It was a deep seeing inside of him. He knew that Jesus knew he needed to be seen.
This is true for me as well. I can look back over the history of my life and see that Jesus saw me. The times that I felt alone and discouraged, he could see me and he had a plan to open my heart. He knew I needed him to see me. I still do! Isn’t this the case with all of us? It feels good when the people around us actually see us, when they get us and understand us. It feels validating, supportive, and loving. Nathanael was skeptical, and maybe that was because no one had ever taken the time to see him before. No one heard his pain or knew he was lonely….maybe he had come to a place of skepticism because he had lost faith in humanity. But, then Jesus came along and restored him, Jesus saw inside of him and he was healed! I love this. I love it because this is the story of every one of us!
If you haven’t watched The Chosen yet, give it a try. Your wheels will start turning in new and exciting ways!4