John 1:45-51 Reflection: The Call of Nathanael

A reading from the gospel according to John 1:45-51

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
46 But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.”
48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”
51 And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Reflection: Jesus Calls Nathanael

Good News: You will see greater things.

Like Nathanael later called Bartholomew, Jesus knew us before we knew Him. He loved us first before we learn to love Him (1 John 4:19). He knew what we are doing, even what we are thinking including our innermost desires. Nothing is secret to Him (Luke 8:17).

Like Nathanael, many of us are judgmental and dismissive of other people and cultures. He says nothing good can come from Nazareth. Yet, God can do unexpected things. The very people or places we look down upon or despise are the ones God raises and blesses. During the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a rural area, far from Jerusalem. Who would have imagine that the promised Messiah could come that place? Nathanael himself was an ordinary person and despite his judgmental attitude, Jesus praised him as a true child of Israel and as a person without any duplicity. Who could have imagined that Jesus would call him as one of the Apostles? Not even Nathanael himself expected it. Indeed, God does not use human standards.

The call of Nathanael is a call for everyone to “come and see” Jesus and to become His apostle. It was Philip who actually told Nathanael about Jesus. May we be like Philip who evangelizes other people and may we be like Nathanael who accepted the invitation and recognized Jesus as the son of God; the King of Israel. If we truly believe, Jesus promised that we will see greater things than those we consider great.

Jesus is the ladder and the door to heaven. In Him, angels ascend and descend. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). We pray that He may guide us in our journey to His kingdom.

Additional Points for Reflection here.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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