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Come and See

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” … 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 toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get 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.”
— John 1:43-51

The Gospel for this Sunday begins with two friends, Philip and Nathanael. Philip already believes Jesus is the Messiah. The Bible doesn’t say much about how he came to believe, only that he is one of the first believers. We do know from this passage that Jesus came directly to Philip.

According to, “The interesting thing about Philip, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, is that he was personally reached by Jesus himself. While Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, no one brought Philip to Jesus. Instead, Jesus came right to him. … Normally God reaches people through people, but this was an exception to the rule.”

You can tell that Phillip is excited about becoming a disciple and wanted to share this joy with Nathanael. But Nathanael is more skeptical, doubting Jesus’ authenticity based on his origins. Once Nathanael follows Philip and hears how Jesus knew about him before they met, he comes to believe as well.

According to, “Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, but Nathanael was already known by Jesus who previously saw Nathanael sitting under a fig tree. This is not just a passing mention. It was customary for Jews to plant a fig tree by the front of their house. As the tree matured, they would sit under it and study and pray. This adds importance to what Jesus said when he initially spoke with Nathanael.”

So Jesus knew that Nathanael was honest and a man of God. As says, “After Nathanael's question about how Jesus knew him, Jesus identifies His knowledge of Nathanael's habit of meditating and praying under the fig tree. Some point to this as the divine power of omniscience (all knowing) of Jesus as part of the Godhead. Nathanael must have thought that because of his response: ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’.”

Philip does not falter in his belief. He could have easily moved on when his friend was skeptical, but instead he invited him to “come and see.” He did not give up.

It took Nathanael to have a personal encounter with Jesus to believe. Sometimes we need that personal encounter or personal invitation to believe. We might need a friend like Philip to invite us, or you might need to be that friend to bring others to “come and see” Jesus.

Shari Van Baale
Salem Communications Coordinator

Tags: Weekly Word