The Best Policy: Honesty

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John the Baptizer, true to his character, continued to point others to Christ. The day after he identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) to his audience at the river, he pointed out the Messiah to two of his disciples (John 1:35, 36): “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’”

This prompted the two men to follow Jesus. They spent the day with Him. We know nothing of the conversation but by the end of the day John’s disciples were convinced that what John had told them was true, that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Messiah, the One they had so long expected (John 1:40-41).

Andrew brought his brother, Simon, to the Lord. On the following day, Jesus called Philip to join the growing band of Christ followers (1:8) and Philip, in turn, invited Nathanael (1:45).

This was the start of an interesting encounter between Jesus and Nathanael. Philip introduced Jesus as “…Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (1:45). Nazareth was an obscure little village, whose citizens were not highly rated by anyone else. So Nathanael was skeptical: “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (1:46). But he was willing to go with Philip and check out this Nazarene.

Nathanael hardly got within shouting distance of Jesus before his doubts were dealt with. As he approached the Lord, Jesus said: “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false” (1:47).

No criticism because of his doubts. No offense taken where offense had been given. Instead, Jesus actually complimented Nathanael on his openness and honesty, on his lack of hypocrisy.

Nathanael was stunned (1:48).

Jesus then revealed His all-knowing attribute as God. “Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were under the fig tree before Philip called you’” (1:48b). John MacArthur speculates that perhaps Nathanael had had some significant experience or communion with God under that fig tree and Jesus’ reference to it not only displayed His power but made the connection between that experience with God the Father and this experience with God the Son (One Perfect Life, p. 82).

Whatever was the case, Nathanael believed (1:49).

Even if Nathanael had chosen to cover up his doubts, Jesus would have known. I am attracted to this thought. There is such a thing as stepping across the line and abusing our relationship with God. But the Lord doesn’t mind honesty. He knows when we are “false” anyway. He prefers that we acknowledge, with truth, the burdens of our souls, the thoughts in our minds, and the feelings of our hearts.

With God there is no pretense, no fakery, no deceit. There is no need even for a “stiff upper lip.”

When we tell Him the truth as we know it, He will tell us the truth as it is. And in that revelation, the relationship between us and God will be grow and prosper as our faith is strengthened.

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