SEEING GREATER THINGS
John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
What fits a man for an anointed ministry? – He must see the glory!
The Lord is here calling unto himself those who would be the pillars of the true church. Along with the prophets of old, they would be the foundation upon which the organism of the living building would grow. (Eph. 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:) But what would fit them to be any different than those not called? What would cause them to see greater things in the Holy Ghost? The answer lies in this verse: John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. The manifestation of the divine glory is the essential ingredient that fits a man to be translated from the natural into the spiritual realm!
Both the Apostles Peter and John give testimony of this before expecting us to believe that their testimony should be received as truth! 2Pet. 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, Then John states, 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Dear Reader, it is sad to say that the majority of religious participation today is from a head knowledge of historical facts! We pride ourselves in believing in the one God. But the devils also “believe” that! And they tremble! (Jas. 2:19). We don’t even tremble at that knowledge! If the cross is just a historical and religious fact that we contain in our heads, we are no different in that awareness that we were before we came to know it! – We must see the glory of the cross!
How does one come to see the glory? – God must see it for him!
There is one similar thing in both the calling of Peter and that of Nathanael which we find in our passage in John, listed above. Both were looked upon by the fiery eyes of the Sovereign Lord! (Rev. 1:14 …and his eyes were as a flame of fire;) Of Peter, we find in verse 42, And when Jesus beheld him, he said. He first sees Peter in the image which God assigned him, and then he instructs Peter as to who he was in his natural birth, and then who he now is in his supernatural birth!
It is the same with Nathanael! In verse 47 listed above, we read, Jesus saw Nathanael … and saith of him. Then he tells to Nathanael who he is, and what he shall become, in being chosen to become one of God’s “seers!” … for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1Sam 16:7). Just as the first Adam was gifted to name all the animals what they were by knowing their nature, so the last Adam, who had the fullness of the Spirit, identified to his called out ones, that which he had ordained them to be in their inner nature!
This is done by the Lord’s revealing his glory to them! 2 Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
How true that is, which the Psalmist wrote, For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psa. 36:9). In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4). The life of the Lord Jesus being imparted into the elect, but as yet, unregenerate soul, becomes his life and light! The Lord Jesus didn’t tell Nicodemus in John 3 that salvation was like a man making a decision! He told him that it was like a woman having a baby! The dark soul must be penetrated by the seed of God, which is Christ, (Gal. 3:16), for there to be a spiritual birth!
This was included in the ancient benediction that the Lord commanded Moses to declare unto the chosen of Israel. Num. 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. For it was understood early on, that the peace of the soul depended upon the shining of God’s face upon them!
This was also the understanding of the Prophet Isaiah. For in his writings we read, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isa. 60:1,2). The Psalmist sings that the Lord is both his light and salvation! (Psa. 27:1). He also sings, Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. Psa. 80:7. Those of the Old Economy clearly understood that it was the shining of the face of God upon them that brought their salvation!
THAT is what the Apostle Paul meant in the above quoted verse of 2 Corin. 4:6. For it is just as the Lord commanded the light to shine out of darkness in the giving of life to the natural realm, as it is in the spiritual creation! And remember, the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day! So the light of those first days of creation was not by the illumination of ‘artificial’ lights! That Light of the first three days of creation was nothing other than the appearing of the Son of God Himself! Our Lord tells us very plainly that He was the Light of the world! And to those upon whom he shines effectively, he is the Light of life! (John 8:12).
What did Jesus See?
When the Lord Jesus looked upon Nathanael he reveals to us that which he saw. For he says, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! What is “an Israelite indeed?”
Let’s look at Genesis 32:28 and see what we can find. This same God who proclaims Nathanael to be “an Israelite indeed,” so proclaimed Jacob to be so! For in Gen. 32:28 we read, And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
And the name Jacob means a supplanter! That is, he is one who displaces others in order to benefit himself! So the Lord God changes Jacob’s nature and his name. He is no longer a cheat and a supplanter! He is now a powerful prince with God!
Therefore, the Lord sees the silent moving of the Spirit upon the darkened soul of Nathanael, changing him from the heritage of depravity into the heritage of grace! He is no longer in the image of a Jacob! He is now indeed an Israelite in whom there is no Jacob, or guile! 1Thes. 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 2Th. 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Gene Breed