Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” John 1:47-48
Nathanael had a habit of asking interesting questions. Remember that he first asked whether anything good could come out of Nazareth? Now he asks how on earth Jesus knew him so intimately. Whereas the first question was more of a sceptical mockery, the second one was of utter shock. The precision and detail the Lord Jesus knew about Nathanael was as too much to be guesswork. That’s how Jesus immediately cured Nathanael of his unbelief. That is what convinced Nathanael that Jesus was both Messiah and Son of God.
Nathanael represents a special kind of seeker or unbeliever. Such a seeker is unsaved but honest. He or she is looking for true answers. He or she is a genuine seeker. He or she is not gullible. He or she may sound arrogant, but that’s besides the point. Only a genuine encounter with the living Christ will help such a seeker. That kind of sinner is different from one who is not yet ripe for harvest.
You see, some sinners are not yet seekers. They will only waste your evangelistic efforts. They are like customers who will never buy no matter how much the salesperson explains the value of the product. They are just not ready to buy! So we must rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to discern whether we are dealing with a Nathanael type of seeker or someone as yet unripe for harvest. Beneath their veneer of resistance, seekers genuinely desire to be saved.
Beloveds, Jesus does not start discovering humans’ characters only when they repent.
He knows each one of us to the core. He is omniscient. He knows the minutest details of our lives. He completely understands the nature of our attitudes and motives. He does not need anyone to interpret anybody’s character for him. That is why He is able to transform lives like nobody else can.
Therefore we can boldly invite seekers to Christ. It’s not our business to try and change them. We should not instil guilt into them. We shouldn’t judge them. We know that once they have a genuine encounter with the living Lord Jesus, their lives will never be the same. Let us be on the lookout for Nathanael-like sinners (seekers). They are all around us. Smart witnesses of Christ, let the Holy Spirit guide you to the genuine seekers in your circles. Jesus is eagerly waiting to help and save them. Hallelujah!
Pastor Josh