"He knew them by name"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
I don't know why exactly, but I often forget that this takes place in Israel. The disciples were all Jewish. Maybe it's because the New Testament is written in Greek and I think of them as Greek. But they weren't. They were Jewish; Greek was the common language of this time period. It could be that we are so used to our own nationality, we see Jesus in different skin colors. I'm sure it's ok with Jesus, He came for all of us regardless.
This is one of my favorite passages about how God speaks to us. Elijah was worn out from ministry. He found a cave and hid in it.
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
God knows us by name. When He calls us, He doesn't shout in a loud, booming voice. He whispers and waits. Some of the disciples came to Him in an easy, natural manner. John the Baptist called Him the "Lamb of God." That was enough for them. But, some hesitated a bit...
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Peter is my all time favorite disciple : ) Yes, I'm the one who once said, "If they need to prove Jesus is alive why don't they dig up His bones?" Before I became a believer. Now I get it! Doh! His body was resurrected.
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 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.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
Ok so there was this poor guy trying to do street evangelism, and He asked me if I knew Jesus, that He was coming again. My reply was, "That's nice. Tell Him, 'Hi,' when He comes." I'm so glad Nathanael is in the Bible. Jesus chose real people like me.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Jesus sees those He calls before they know Him. When Nathanael approached Jesus, Jesus didn't say, "You idiot! How dare you speak about Me that way?"
Instead He described Nathanael as a man without deceit. An honest man, not afraid to say what he thinks. Cool huh?
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
Nathanael was so amazed that Jesus knew about the fig tree and where he was standing, he claimed Him as Lord. But Jesus promises all of us, there will be more. Much more. It all happened so naturally. And is still going on today. I tell someone about Jesus, they tell someone, and by 2012, there's a lot of believers in the world!
As for me, Jesus had been whispering my name for years. It wasn't until I was surrounded by a religion that didn't make sense, that I finally asked, "Show me the true Church." I didn't have an earthquake, wind or fire. Just an amazing peace. My next door neighbors invited me to a Southern Baptist revival. The evangelist said in these words, "The true Church is the body of believers in Jesus."
I knew God was whispering the answer to my question. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He changed my life. I laughed for the first time in years : ) Slowly I learned about His Word. He gave me compassion to replace my anger. He's supplied all my needs ever since. Hoping and praying you know Him too.