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Summary: Nathaniel provides the example of the kind of honest skeptic Jesus delights in meeting, changing, and sending into ministry.

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This brings us to Philip. Jesus invites him to join him on his road trip to Galilee. But note what Philip does first. He finds his friend (some Bible scholars think he was a cousin, perhaps even a brother) Nathanael and tells him about Jesus. Nathanael is the focus of our study today, but think about Philip for a minute. He was a brand new disciple. He may not even have half understood what he believed yet. But he knew Jesus was the best thing he had ever heard of. Jesus was simply too good to keep to himself. He couldn’t help himself. He had to talk about him. He had to tell his friend.

Interesting, it is most often new followers of Jesus who are the most effective and most enthusiastic about telling others about Jesus. This is true for a number of reasons. New believers still have more contacts with those on the outside. Often, they haven’t yet gotten their faith all cluttered with opinions and traditions. They find it easier to keep the main thing the main thing. But most importantly, they haven’t yet come to believe that other people aren’t interested. After all, they were interested.

Oh, Lord, give us more Philips. What a difference it would make in this church and in this town, if more people were so impressed with Jesus that they couldn’t help talking about him! Oh, how we need men and women and teenagers who love their friends and family so much that they want more than anything to bring them to Jesus. It doesn’t take a lot of learning, education, or experience. The only real requirements are a love for Jesus, a love for our friends, and the kind of faith that believes no one is beyond the reach of God’s love.

This month we are going to looking at four different people who meet Jesus. Each came from a different place. Each had a different story. Each had a different reason why others might have thought they would have little interest in Jesus. We will look at one who was a notorious sinner. She could never change! Another was already quite religious! Another had so many problems that people just didn’t want to be around him. And then there was Nathanael. I will term him —our honest skeptic. First some facts:

Nathanael was a Jew from Galilee. His home town was Cana (Jn 21:2), where Jesus would perform his first miracle in a few days. His name meant “a gift of God,” that maybe tells us something about his parents heart when he was born. He probably was a fairly knowledgeable student of the Old Testament. When Philip invites him to meet Jesus, he appeals to his knowledge of the prophesies about the Messiah. But the most obvious characteristic of Nathanael was his skepticism. In fact, he probably could have qualified as a “missourian.” Show me first could have easily been his motto.

Did you catch his first response to Philip. His friend says, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." {46} "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.

Some think that Nathanael understood the Old Testament so well that he knew the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth. So if Jesus was from Nazareth, he couldn’t be the Promised One.

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