The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And 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 of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’ Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’” (Jn 1: 43-49)

Nathaniel is weak in his reasoning, when he says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” – as if nothing “good” can come out of a poor and insignificant town. He also seems to have a hard time accepting good news. But he is not insincere or hypocritical. And our Lord immediately praises this good in Nathaniel; the fact that in him there is “no guile,” rather than point out his weaknesses. But Nathaniel, apparently, also has a hard time accepting praise, deflecting it with a question, “How do you know me?” So he’s a hard nut to crack. Nathaniel does “come and see” the Lord, but “seeing” Christ was not enough for him.

It is only when Christ reveals to Nathaniel, “I saw you,” that Nathaniel drops his defences and professes Jesus as Teacher (rabbi), Son of God, and King of Israel. Because for many of us who are on the sidelines of faith, what wins us over to Christ is not “us” seeing “Him.” Because He is revealing Himself all the time, but we may not have the eyes to see that. What wins us over, in an encounter with Christ, is receiving the assurance that “He” does, indeed, see “us,” and know us, as we are, in our strengths and weaknesses. So let me “come and see” Christ, that I don't miss out on being seen, and known, by Him.

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