“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’” (John 1:43-49 emphasis mine)
Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him under the fig tree even before Philip saw him. Jesus sees us long before anyone else sees us. He sees you. He truly knows us and has great things for us to ‘see’. You are not forgotten or overlooked. You are not lost in a crowd of people, and you are not just a number to some foreign god. You are known and loved by God. The God who created you sees you and knows you.
How embarrassed Nathanael must have been after being blinded by his own judgmental attitude and preconceived notions that he did not ‘see’ until he knew Jesus ‘saw’ him. Sometimes we do not see Jesus and we miss him in our life because of our blurry vision. When we put away our own judgments, ideas, preconceived notions, bitterness, or anger then we can clearly see. When our vision is clear then we can see Jesus. When we see Jesus then we understand Jesus has already seen us.
Jesus not only sees us and knows us, but he expects us to “see” each other. Philip went to find Nathanael and he told Nathanael that they had found the long-awaited Messiah. Philip ‘saw’ Nathanael. When Nathanael questioned Philip about “can anything good come from Nazareth,” Philip did not scold Nathanael on his unbelief. He did not condemn him for his judgmental attitude or his seemingly arrogant mentality. Philip just invited Nathanael to "come and see". His focus was not on Nathanael’s sin but was on introducing Nathanael to Jesus.
We, like Nathanael, get short-sighted sometimes with our own pre-conceived notions and judgmental attitudes regarding groups of people or places that we are unable to introduce others to Jesus. Imagine what would have happened if Philip would have condemned Nathanael because of his sins of arrogance and judgment rather than just inviting him first to “come and see” Jesus. It was when Jesus came into the presence of Nathanael that Jesus initiates the conversation and Nathanael learns that Jesus “sees” him. Nathanael is promised that he would see greater things than just knowing Jesus saw him. Nathanael’s promise of experiencing more of Jesus comes only after Nathanael encounters Jesus. If we condemn the sinner because of the sin first, then we may miss the opportunity to introduce the sinner to Jesus. We must first see the person before seeing the sin.
Jesus is always in our midst. He is always with us and in our presence. He promised that he would never leave us. It is our turn, like Nathanael, to “see” Jesus because He already sees us. He already sees you.
“Lord, help me to see you and to always remember that you love me, even when I perhaps don’t love myself. Help me, Lord, to know, trust, believe, accept, and to never forget that you see me even when it feels that no one else does. I know, Lord, you see me, and you know me. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen”