A Personal Encounter

 

Jan Davis, Associate Pastor

Mansfield FUMC

East District

 

In the gospel of John, Jesus leaves the city of Jerusalem and travels to Galilee.  He has already called two brothers from the town of Bethsaida (Andrew and Peter) to be his disciples.  Then Jesus calls another man from Bethsaida to follow him, his name is Philip.  Philip goes to his friend, Nathanael, who has not yet met Jesus.  Philip invites him to “come and see,” this Jesus of Nazareth who is the Messiah of God.  Nathanael is skeptical and doubts Jesus’ identity. 

 

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.”  John 1:45-49

 

Who invited me to “come and see” Jesus?  I reflect on my life of faith from beginning to end. I am thankful for the people of my hometown church who told me the stories of Jesus when I was a child.  I recall friends in college who invited me to campus ministry events to “come and see” Jesus for myself.  Like Nathanael, at times I was skeptical and full of doubt.  People said Jesus is more than a good man who lived long ago, more than a teacher, more than a prophet.  People said Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, my Savior.  I doubted.  Nathanael’s friend Philip played an important role in the encounter.  Philip first tells him who Jesus is.  Despite Nathanael’s negative response, he invites him to “come and see” for himself.  Philip doesn’t try to convince Nathanael, he knows it is not worth the effort to convince him with words. 

 

A personal encounter with Jesus is what changes lives.  Only an encounter with the Living Son of God can transform my mind, my thinking, and ultimately my life.  I imagine sitting under the shade of a fig tree as Nathanael did.  Jesus sees me before I see him.  Jesus watches me from a distance.  He knows my heart.  He sees right through me.  Nathanael approached Jesus; it was not the other way around.  Jesus first saw Nathanael under the fig tree, and he waited for him to approach.  What led me to my belief that Jesus truly is the Son of God?  Am I motivated to declare alongside Nathanael the truth of Jesus’ identity, “You are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for sending people into my life who invited me to encounter you. Thank you for faithful souls who first told me the stories of Jesus. Just like you saw Nathanael under the fig tree before he encountered you, you also have me in your sight. You know my heart.  Jesus, I want to experience a fresh encounter with you today, Living Lord.  As Nathanael stood up from his place under the shade of the fig tree and approached you, I come to you also.  I want to “come and see” you, Lord.  Remind me of who you truly are and invite me to invite others.  Amen. 

 

February 19th, 2021 – Waco, TX – 9:00-3:30

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