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.” “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
Dear God, I have always focused on Nathaniel in this story, but let’s talk about Philip. This is his origin story, but he shows up several times in John’s Gospel and Acts. Not as much in the other three gospels. It makes me wonder what kind of special relationship John and Philip had. John tells one of the “feeding” stories and specifically notes that Jesus asked Philip what they should feed the people. Philip is the one who asked Jesus to show them the father. In Acts, Philip preaches. He is the one who baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch. He shows up a lot more often than I realized. But it starts here. Jesus calls him and he immediately goes to find Nathaniel. One of the earliest versions of someone being an evangelist for Jesus, calling others to come and follow him.
This always leaves me with the question, asking why I am not more of an evangelist for you. Why do I not encourage others to come and see you more? And I’m not talking about going to church, but about truly meeting you and getting to know you. Introducing them to the God who takes away as much of my pain as I can get in touch with. Takes away my shame. Gives me hope that my life is meaningful. I’m convinced that it is because I do not fully appreciate what it is I have to “sell.” For example, I love the cycling system I am using right now, and I’ve told all kinds of people about it, but I think that is because it is easy to explain. I can frame it into a construct that others can understand. For whatever reason, for me at least, framing a construct for you for others to understand easily is more difficult. It’s probably from a lack of trying, to be honest.
Father, I want to be your ambassador. I want to offer the fruits of the Spirit to others. I want you to be glorified in this world. I want people to be followers of you and not just believers in you. I want them to tap their vine into your branch and experience your life in them. Of course, that starts with me humbling myself, letting go of my own agenda, and tapping my life into you. So I offer you my life. I offer you my desire for you. I offer you my failings and my successes. May you use both for your glory, and please help me to grow closer to you today.
In Jesus’s name I pray,