Thursday, December 6, 2012


John 1:44-51

Morning Meditation 12/7/2012

Verse 44-51 says, “Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathaniel, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathaniel said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathaniel saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathaniel answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

This incident is recorded in the beginning our Lords public ministry as He calls His full time workers some of which will be ultimately ordained as apostles. This is one of those interesting glimpses into an occasion from which much can be learned. Jesus says some things about this man that gives us insight into the character of Nathaniel, his habit of prayer, his hope as a Jew, and His readiness to receive the will of God when confronted with it. The indication is that Nathaniel had no previous knowledge of Jesus. This will be his first meeting. What is there about this meeting that would make him a believer on the very first meeting? As we unfold this story I trust we will get the answer to this question along with lessons for ourselves. First of all let’s look at,


This is our Lord’s comment concerning Nathaniel. “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” The word “guile” translates, “dolos” and means, “craft, deceit, guile.” This is probably an indication that he was a true Jew according to Paul’s definition in Romans 2:29 where he says, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” It does not mean he was perfect because he asked before he met Jesus when Andrew came and urged him to come and see Jesus for himself, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

Gill’s comments on Nazareth are: “The whole country of Galilee was had in contempt with the Jews; but Nazareth was so mean a place, that it seems it was even despised by its neighbors, by the Galileans themselves; for Nathaniel was a Galilean, that said these words. It was so miserable a place that he could hardly think that any sort of good thing, even any worldly good thing, could come from thence; and it was so wicked, as appears from their murderous designs upon our Lord, that he thought no good man could arise from hence; and still less, any prophet, any person of great note; and still least of all, that that good thing, or person, the Messiah, should spring from it: so that his objection, and prejudice, proceeded not only upon the oracle in Micah 5:2, which points out Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah; but upon the wickedness, and meanness, and obscurity of Nazareth.” To say the least, Nazareth was not a place from which you would think the Messiah would come. Nathaniel’s rationalism was that of his day. It reminds us that a lot of what we believe can or cannot happen comes from the common beliefs of those around us.

Nathaniel was different in this respect. He was inwardly pure and willing to respond to truth even if it contradicted what others believed. We are all influenced by what others believe. Especially if we have great respect for the others. There are times when there is no reason to believe differently. Nazareth is an example. Until Jesus “came out of Nazareth” there was no reason for one to take issue with anyone who said, “Nazareth is just not a place from which anything good can come.” A person may hold to something that is wrong because it is commonly believed by his friends and there is no reason to believe differently unless the Lord steps in and says “this is the right way and reveals that way.” When this happens, we, like Nathaniel, have the responsibility to set aside those views and accept the revelation. To those of us who are saved all things are possible with God. Amen.

When we worship, it should be guileless worship. We should first come to God and allow Him to deal with our hearts concerning the smallest things (1 John 1:9). Then we must believe that we are right with Him when we are cleansed by the blood. Not only was Nathaniel guileless in worship,


Jesus said to him, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.”

Nathaniel had a private place of worship. It was under a fig tree. How many times have I heard people say that they had a private place of prayer to which they always resort. I have a friend who likes to go into the woods and just walk and pray. I can imagine someone being out there possibly sitting silently against a tree waiting for a squirrel to make a move and all of a sudden you hear this voice coming through the woods praying to God pleading for sinners and revival in the church, etc. That would be unnerving to say the least. My friend tells me, “I can really get through to God when I walk through the woods, with no one around, (He thinks!) and talk to God.

Nathaniel’s worship connected. I don’t know if he FELT that he really connected under the fig tree. Sometimes I pray, and the only thing I can say about the effectiveness of my prayer is that God is faithful to answer, and I know it is true because He can’t lie. When Nathaniel comes to Jesus, He says, “when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” This brought an amazing response. “Nathaniel answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” Something happened under the fig tree when put together with what Jesus said to him, Nathaniel confessed, “thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” For Nathaniel to say these things of a man was astounding. When Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Jews were ready to stone Him (John 10:31-33). But Nathaniel was ready to worship Him. Jesus is either God in the flesh or an imposter. I will assure you when you connect in worship, you will have no trouble acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God. There is something else that worship does,


Nathaniel worshipped, he connected in worship, and the next step was Philip knocking at his door. Someone has said that every life is a plan of God. We do not all do the same. We are as different as our fingerprints. This is the reason everyone of us needs to let every other Christian work out his own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13). We can help one another but there is a place in another’s life we must not intrude. There is a strong tendency on the part of preachers to assume to know the will of God for others. When this happens the Lordship of Christ in that persons life is interfered with. I believe this is a mistake. Every person has a right to the leadership of Jesus as Lord to do or not to do what He wants. (I do not speak here of decisions against revealed truth. No one has the moral right to chose wrong as a Christian). And he should not be judged by his pastor or anyone else because he does it. I am absolutely positive that this is a point with which many will take exception. There are some things we need to get settled in our minds. Are we building the Church or is Christ building it? Are we putting people in positions in the Church or is Christ (1 Cor. 12:14-25). Are we responsible for the growth of the church numerically, or, is it required that a minister be found faithful? The answers to these questions will make a big difference in how one approaches the ministry. It will make a big difference in how one Christian relates to another.

Worship exalts the Lord as the One and only true God and worships Him as such, and acknowledges Him as the Lord of his life, and the ultimate source of revelation and blessing. This is such a blessing to the spirit and soul when one has connected in his worship and fellowship with the eternal God that he hungers and thirsts for the next worship experience. This time of worship prepares him to receive the next revelation of God to his soul. Then finally,


The reason God’s people have no “fig tree” (a place of private worship) in their lives is that they have never had fulfillment in worship. This means they have never connected. If you do not meet with God in private worship, you will feel that it is a waste of time. First of all, there must be the capacity to worship. That capacity for worship is created when we are saved. Second, one has to walk in the Spirit so that our regenerated spirit comes into worshipful contact with His Spirit. The alternative to this is that the carnal Christian is operating by walking after the flesh and God does not fellowship with the flesh. Worship in that case would be vain. Worship has to be cultivated. We must learn who we are in Christ and come before Him in the risen life of Jesus so that we know that He is hearing us in Christ, that we are worshipping Him in Christ’s righteousness, and we are receiving answers that Christ deserves. Grace is when we get from the Father what Christ deserves. If you do not see this, your faith will constantly be hindered by Satan’s whisper in your ear that you do not deserve an answer. So the outcome of prayer is doubt and not faith. God does not answer doubt, He responds to faith. Is there any doubt in your mind that Christ deserves what you’re are asking for? You say, “certainly not.” Then just remember the next time you pray, you are asking your Father to give you what Jesus deserves. This is what it means to pray in His Name. Hallelujah! Someone hold my mules!

Then one more observation. The reason that you have to beg people to come to Sunday and Wednesday evening services is that worship is not experienced by those who do not come (unless job or health makes it impossible). For whatever reason, they just do not experience worship. Where do you think Nathaniel was the next morning after he met face to face with the long awaited Messiah and Son of the eternal God? I think I am safe in saying, and I think you will agree with me, he was out under the fig tree! I think he said something like, “LORD God of Israel, I have prayed here so many times. And LORD, I must confess I wondered at times if you heard me or knew that I even existed. But after yesterday, I realize that you were here all the time. I want to thank you for allowing my eyes to behold your Son even the King of Israel. LORD, I have always believed your Word. But LORD, I must confess I have wondered if you knew I was praying out here under this fig tree. Now I know that you were hearing me all along. LORD, I am so thrilled and overjoyed to know I’m praying to the Living God and you are working out a plan and I am in right relation with you. Thank you LORD.”

Do you have regular meetings with the Lord Jesus in your worship? You may say, “preacher, I have a difficult time worshipping at my church.” You might go on to explain why and the reasons would vary. I want to help you. I am not your critic. But first, you need to know that Ephesians 3:21 is true. The Lord gets glory from your life through the church. If you have a problem with the church you need to go anyway. And remember this, you are not going to find a perfect church as long as it is made up of people. The next thing you need to realize is that you can worship there. No one can keep you from making worshipful contact with Jesus there. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus is on the outside of the church at Laodicea, He is knocking wanting in, He invites “any man” that hears His voice to open the door, and promises if he does that “I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” This describes worship. Now lets get the picture. Jesus is not even in this church. He is outside. But He has children within. It is possible for them to hear His voice. Those who do, and are willing to lay aside all the obstacles and open the door, He promises to come in and sup with him. Do you understand what this is saying? I will never forget when I first saw what Jesus is saying here. A cold dead church cannot keep a true Christian from worshipping in spite of the coldness and deadness of the body as a whole. Jesus will meet with us if we will open the door.

Are you fulfilled in your worship? There is nothing is this life more fulfilling than for a saved man bowing before His Father in true worship. One dreads to leave the scene of this experience and does not have to be begged to return.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

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