Nathanael (John 1:45,47)

Nathanael

Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” (John 1:45,47)

Read: Job 38:1 – 40:5

Relate: A true Son of Israel. You know, there are actually two words in Hebrew that mean “sons” The first, benim, would be used to speak in plural of the male biological descendants of a person. The second, benai (or B’nai) can mean that, but it is also inclusive of any who might have been adopted (or grafted) into the family. For example, Jacob had twelve sons. All of them were his benim. One of his favorites, Joseph, had two children of his own, Ephraim and Manasseh. At first the Bible calls these two boys the souls (nephesh) of Joseph, but later on they are the b’nai Israel. At some point along the way they became heart and soul Jacob’s boys and they acted, inherited, and were treated identically to his biological children.

We can’t know for sure because John was written in Greek, but my guess is that when Jesus first met Nathanael he said, “This is a true B’nai Israel.” Jesus acknowledged that Nathanael was not just a Jew by race but he was one of the children of Israel heart and soul. He said that Nathanael had a desire to follow the commands of God and live righteously. That alone would be compliment enough, but God then goes one step further. Jesus calls him “a man of complete integrity”. In other words, Nathanael lives up to those desires. He is whole. He is complete. He is pure.

React: I long to be a man of integrity. My desire is heart and soul to follow after God. I also know how far short of that desire I come when the boots hit the ground. I can get caught up in the fleeting moments of my days, and it is easy to forget. It is easy to slip up in what I say. It is easy to cut spiritual corners. Sometimes I respond before I can check myself. I act without thinking and then I am needing to backtrack and apologize. That shows me that I am not there yet. I might be moving in the right direction, but I certainly haven’t arrived. Nathanael is in a very elite group. Men (and women) of complete integrity are a rare find and hard to achieve. While we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we need to recognize that is a very difficult mountain to climb. Until then, thank God for His grace.

Respond: 

God, You know my heart. You see my desires and my passion. It is for more of You. At the core of who I am, I long to be like You. But there are still branches that need to be pruned. There are still rooms in my heart that need to be opened up to You. Please continue to do your work in my life. I long to be a man of integrity. I long to be a true B’nai Yeshua. Help me to get there, and continue to pour out Your grace on me. Because I have not arrived. I desperately need it. I desperately need more of You. 

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5 thoughts on “Nathanael (John 1:45,47)

  1. I just wanted to leave you a note and let you know how much I enjoy your blog. Almost everyday I find truth in your words for me. Today your prayer, I think, was for my husband too and I shared it with him. I long to focus more on God and your blog helps me do that. Thanks.

  2. This really hit me at my core: “It is easy to cut spiritual corners”. Read my Bible? Check. Prayed? Check. Thought about God for 2.5 minutes? Check. TOO often I treat my spiritual life like a To-Do List, as if my relationship with God and my walk are fulfilled by a check mark. Thank you for the reminder to be true to God, to be a woman of integrity, to not just cut corners because it’s easy.

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