Who was Nathanael?
Here is a key to the ministry of Jesus! ** Andrew Wommack's Living Commentary. = Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. But how and why? Nathanael means “given of God” (Strong’s Concordance).
Date: 1/24/2022 1:44:10 PM ( 4 mon ) ... viewed 281 times
Note on John 1:43
John was the only Gospel writer to record this first encounter between Philip and Nathanael, and Jesus.
Notice that Jesus found Philip. This was not just a random selection. Jesus was looking specifically for this certain man (see my note at John 1:45).
Likewise, the Lord finds all of us. We say we found the Lord, but in reality, He wasn’t lost. We are the ones who were found by the Lord.
Life For Today Study Bible Notes
Note 1 at John 1:43: The name Philip means “fond of horses” (Strong’s Concordance). Philip the apostle is only mentioned sixteen times in Scripture, with four of those instances being in a listing of the twelve apostles. John was the only Gospel writer who provided us with any information about Philip, other than the fact that he was one of the Twelve.
In this instance, we see that Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. In John 6:5-7, Jesus proved Philip by asking how they could feed the multitude. Philip was the one whom the Greeks contacted about seeking Jesus (John 12:21-22). Jesus also reproved Philip for not understanding that whoever had seen Jesus had seen the Father (John 14:8-9).
Philip was from Bethsaida (John 1:44), the hometown of Andrew and Peter, and also possibly James and John, the author of this Gospel (Luke 5:10). Eusebius, writing in A.D. 330, said Philip became one of the “great lights of Asia.”
Note on John 1:44
Philip, Andrew, and Peter were all from Bethsaida, which Jesus said was worse than Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 11:20-22 and Luke 10:13-14). Yet out of this hardhearted place came three of His disciples.
Note on John 1:45
Notice that Philip found Nathanael just as Jesus found Philip in John 1:43. This wasn’t a random selection any more than Jesus’ finding Philip was random.
It’s not recorded in this account that Jesus told Philip that He was from Nazareth and His father was Joseph. But apparently Jesus did give this information to Philip, so more was spoken between them than what was recorded here.
Life For Today Study Bible Notes
Note 2 at John 1:45:
Nathanael means “given of God” (Strong’s Concordance). Nathanael is only mentioned six times in Scripture with five of those instances being in this narrative.
The only other mention of him is in John 21:2 where it says he went fishing with Peter and saw Jesus in His glorified body. That passage also tells us that he was from Cana in Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine. Because of the listing of Bartholomew with Philip in the list of apostles (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:14), it is usually thought that Bartholomew was Nathanael’s surname.
Note on John 1:46
It’s possible that Nathanael’s use of the phrase “good thing” could be a reference to the Messiah as Jeremiah used it in Jeremiah 33:14. That would make this a reference to the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) instead of Nazareth.
It’s also possible this was a totally prejudiced statement that nothing good can come from Nazareth. If Nathanael had stopped right there with his preconceived notions, he wouldn’t have found the Christ and become an apostle (see my note at John 1:45). Our prejudices can block us from receiving from God and those He sends.
Philip simply told Nathanael to “come and see.” What great theology. We are not to be the judge and jury. We don’t have to convince anyone who Jesus is. We simply give our testimony or witness and then tell them to check Him out for themselves. The Lord will prove Himself to anyone, just as He did to Nathanael (John 1:47-51).
Note on John 1:47
Remember that Nathanael had been skeptical that the Messiah could come out of Nazareth (see my note at John 1:46).
He was coming to check Jesus out, but before he could ask any questions, Jesus ministered to him through the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a way that removed all his doubts. The Lord knows us inside and out. If we will let Him, He will likewise minister to us in ways that remove our doubts. See my note at John 1:48.
John 1:48 Life For Today Study Bible Notes
Note 3 at John 1:48:
This was Jesus operating in the gift of the Spirit called a word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8). From Nathanael’s reaction in John 1:49, it is clear that Jesus saw more than just Nathanael sitting under a tree. Jesus’ statement in John 1:47 must have revealed Nathanael’s thoughts, thus proving to Nathanael that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
Note on John 1:49
On the surface, this doesn’t appear to be such a powerful encounter as to make Nathanael come out with this strong declaration of Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel.
But that’s because we don’t know what Nathanael was thinking and/or doing under the fig tree. I suspect he was praying and asking God to speak to him or show him a sign, and Jesus’ statements answered his prayers so completely that it brought this response.
Suffice it to say that Jesus spoke to Nathanael in such a way that Nathanael knew only God could have directed Him to say such things. The Lord knows right where we are, and He can do the same for us.
Note on John 1:50
Jesus flowed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and spoke to Nathanael in such a way that it removed all his doubts. Jesus was saying, “You haven’t seen anything yet. There will be much greater miracles than these"
No doubt Nathanael agreed totally with Jesus after three-and-a-half years of being His disciple (the Bartholomew of Matthew 10:2-3, see my note at John 1:45).
Note on John 1:51
There is no scriptural account of Nathanael seeing this. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. There are many things in the earthly ministry of Jesus that were not recorded (John 21:25).
It’s also possible that Nathanael might not have seen what these angels were doing in the unseen realm, but he saw the results of this angelic activity through the ministry of Jesus.
However, Jesus’ use of “verily, verily” implies this was going to literally come true. There is no reason to think that Nathanael didn’t literally see this come to pass.
Three of Jesus’ disciples saw Jesus transfigured (Matthew 17:1-9). If they saw those spiritual things, Nathanael certainly could have seen these spiritual things
Andrew Wommack's Living Commentary.
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