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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Encounters with Jesus: Nathanael"

January 17, 2004

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“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. John 1:46

Another encounter with Jesus. Philip follows by going to Nathanael and telling him about Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Rather than following Jesus immediately, Nathanael questions, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Notice that Nathanael is not an atheist or agnostic, but a God-fearing man, “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false” (John 1:47). Yet he questions Jesus and His credentials.

In the motion picture, “The Hiding Place,” while the ten Boom family decides to follow Jesus at great risk by harboring Jewish refugees in their home, the local pastor visits them and wrestles with the moral choices involved. He questions. Finally, out of fear he decides not to get involved.

But Jesus reaches out to a questioning Nathanael. Philip answers Nathanael with the simple invitation, “Come and See.” As Nathanael approaches, Jesus identifies him as a true Israelite. Still questioning, Nathanael asks, “How do you know me?” Jesus replies, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Now Nathanael responds in faith and is ready to follow, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God.” Jesus leads him on to greater understanding and greater service.

In the same way Jesus answers our many questions, with the simple invitation, “Come and see.” He then lets us know that He has called us by name. We belong to Him. He lived and died for us. He knows our potential for service. And He has a wonderful plan for our future as we follow Him. Our questioning is turned into a simple confession of faith, “You are the Son of God.”

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, forgive my endless questioning of Your love, Your Word, and Your plan for my life. Help me like Nathanael to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Amen.

(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: Job 22-24    Matthew 12:1-23

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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