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God Sees Us While We Are Looking For Him

John 1:47-51
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’ Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’ Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’ (NIVUK)

Nathanael had been introduced to Jesus by Philip who invited him to ‘Come and see’ (John 1:46).  But even as Nathanael was walking down the road towards Jesus, Jesus knew all about him.  Jesus never flatters people but knew that Nathanael was a man who lived honestly and in awe of God.  Jesus called out, for all to hear, that this man was a true Israelite in whom there was nothing false.  

"How do you know me?" was Nathanael’s natural question.  Although he had been waiting to meet God’s Messiah, Jesus was waiting for him, and told him exactly where he was sitting before Philip excitedly came along with the news that he had found the Messiah.  The fact that Jesus knew all about him, without physically seeing him, convinced Nathanael that Jesus was the Son of God and the long-awaited King of Israel.  

Jesus had already seen deep into Nathanael’s heart and contrasted his guileless longing to see God’s kingdom with the deception of Jacob.  The reference to ‘… the heavens open and angels ascending and descending …’ is about Jacob who had to flee his home and his brother’s wrath after stealing the birthright by trickery (do read the whole story in Genesis Chapters 27 & 28).  Even though Jacob’s heart was wrong, God chose to encourage him by a dream about a stairway to heaven (Genesis 28:10-16).  Jesus promised that Nathanael would have a clearer vision of how to get to heaven, and that Jacob’s ladder was just a picture of Jesus Christ who would reveal Himself as being the only way to Father God (John 14:6).

Many people are still searching for God’s answer to the world’s mess, and are longing for heaven, but they do not know how to get there.  However, while they are searching, Jesus sees them and knows exactly where they are (Genesis 16:13).  He is waiting for them to come to Him and, when they do, He will start to reveal what He has already seen about them.  This awareness of being so totally known is both shocking, for He knows our sins, and comforting, because we know He really does love us (Psalm 139:1-6).  That is the only basis on which we can start our relationship with God; we can hide nothing from Him, and that is how we must continue.

All-seeing God. Thank You for this assurance that Jesus sees everything and even before I came to Him, He knew all about me. Forgive me for sometimes thinking that it was my initiative which bought me to faith. Instead, I accept that You knew all about me since before I was born. Please help me to trust You regarding all the things I cannot see, and to be wise in fulfilling the responsibilities You have given me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams