The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
Reflection by Janet Derby
This story of Jesus calling his disciples seems to be less familiar than that of the call of Matthew, Andrew, Peter, James, and John. It’s not entirely surprising since, as most stories from the gospel of John, it’s a little different. Still, this call has some aspects to it that are heartening. It is also another example, like that of Andrew, of one disciple sharing his enthusiasm with another. Jesus calls Nathanael despite his initial skepticism, and even commends him for his honesty. How often have we been afraid to express our doubts for fear of being criticized? We can be assured that God accepts us and calls us no matter where we are in our faith journey.
Gracious God, thank you for the stories of your disciples. Help to always learn from them and from each other about your boundless love. Amen.