Too Good To Be True?

BY: DERRICK MILLER

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him,“Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “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.”
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

John 1:43-51

I really like Nathaniel. I get him. He’s the cynical skeptic, like I often am. When hearing something that sounds too good to be true, his response is the same as mine.  "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" (John 1:46a).

Sure, perhaps it was nothing more than a jab at a crosstown rival.  Because after all, Cana was so superior to Nazareth. Or was it?  Both were teeny tiny towns in the region of Galilee, with not much more to talk about than how much more lame the other surrounding towns were.   Makes us feel better doesn't it?

Or maybe it wasn’t about that.  Maybe it was about the claims being made about Jesus that fueled his skepticism.  "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."

Too good to be true?  Maybe. But it was still compelling enough of a proposition that he took the invitation to heart, "Come and see," said Philip (John 1:46b). Even the worst cynics can be won over when we peak their curiosity.  

So he went. And in the process of discovery, he was found out.  "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." (John 1:48).

Perhaps, this is what matters most.  Not where we’re from, or what claims are made about us.  It’s what people see when they encounter us.  This is the way God longs to use us. Nathaniel went to see for himself if the claims were true, but in turn, ended up the one being seen. 

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’ve done.  If you’ll allow it, God can use us the way he used Jesus. To make others feel seen and known. Perhaps that’s the greatest gift we can give anyone.

Cynicism dies when true connection thrives.

Derrick and his wife Laurel, pastors of Mosaic Church San Diego, in the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel.

Derrick and his wife Laurel, pastors of Mosaic Church San Diego, in the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel.