DN Searching for Truth 5/19/2006
- From: Peter G. Chase <pchase1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 00:52:11 -0400
Searching for Truth
The twelve apostles included "Bartholomew [Nathanael]" (Matt.
Despite Nathanael's prejudice, Jesus knew he was an honest, sincere,
Jewish believer in whom there was no religious hypocrisy or deceit
(John 1:47). He truly sought after God and looked forward to the
Most of the Jewish people of Jesus' day believed that every
circumcised descendent of Abraham was a true Jew and a beneficiary of
the Abrahamic covenant. But in Romans 2:28-29 Paul explains that
salvation is an issue of the heart, not of national origin: "He is
not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is
outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and
circumcision is that which is of the heart." Nathanael was such a
He was shocked when Jesus described him as "an Israelite indeed, in
whom is no guile" (John 1:47) because they had never met before. He
was equally shocked when Jesus said He saw him under a fig tree
because Jesus was nowhere near that tree. Nathanael immediately
realized that Jesus was omniscient--He knew everything! That's why he
exclaimed, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of
Israel" (v. 49). He had found the Messiah for whom he had searched so
The Lord's mention of the fig tree is significant. In that region,
fig trees were commonly used as a source of shade and outdoor
shelter. Many of the houses in Palestine had only one room, so fig
trees became a place to be alone for prayer and meditation on the
Scriptures. Quite possibly Nathanael was under the fig tree searching
the Scriptures and communing with God when Jesus saw his open heart
and his desire to find the Messiah. Jesus personally answered
When Jesus looks into your heart, does He see a true believer in whom
there is no hypocrisy? Nathanael wasn't perfect, but he loved God and
was a diligent student of the Word. The Lord did great things through
him. I pray that is true of you as well.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Spirit to reveal and deal with any hypocrisy you might
be harboring. Ask God to increase your desire and capacity to
know and love Him.
For Further Study:
Memorize Romans 12:1-2 as a defense against hypocrisy.
Drawing Near, Copyright 1993 John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
John 1:47 (NKJV)
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold,
an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"
12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God.
These devotions are posted with permission from John MacArthur's
first (1993) devotional work, _Drawing Near_, and they are also sent
out daily for free to several folks via e-mail.
In addition, John's second (1997) devotional, _Strength for Today_,
is also available free via e-mail only. _Strength for Today_ follows
the same format as what you have seen here from _Drawing Near_, but
with different monthly themes.
If you would like to receive daily devotions via e-mail from either
of these series, just let me know (via e-mail), and I will gladly add
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Peter G. Chase :: Columbus, Ohio, USA
STOP! Who do you think Jesus is?
To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you. -Alistair Begg