A modern story based on John 1:45-51
Philip felt as though he would explode with excitement. He had just experienced a world view-changing encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. His sins were forgiven, his election secure. He walked across the campus at Bar-ilan University eagerly seeking someone with whom he could share his good news.
Sitting under a large tree nearby was his old friend, Nathaniel. Running up, Phil blurted out: “Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah! He lives in my life and heart!” He suspected that his words would sound radical to his Israeli friend. However, he had a long-standing relationship with Nate and knew that deep down Nate sought to know the truth about Jesus, just as Phil himself had.
Nate’s answer was slightly sarcastic, “Don’t forget that Jesus came from Nazareth. Where in the scriptures do the prophets of the Messiah mention Nazareth?”
Phil’s enthusiasm was undaunted: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem not Nazareth. Come on! Join our study group! We meet again before classes start on Thursday.”
Nate closed the cover on his tablet, stood up, and walked quickly toward the student housing. Bethlehem? He did seem to remember something about Bethlehem in the scriptures. He couldn’t wait to find out more.
Once inside, he grabbed a cold drink, did a search, and started to read Micah 5:2. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of Old, from ancient days. He stood, up shocked! This verse was talking about the Messiah coming from Bethlehem! He picked up his cell and called Phil, “Count me in on Thursday.”
The heat of the day had not yet arrived as Phil and Nate headed toward the outside amphitheater. As they approached the group, one of the Messianic believers stood and announced: “See, here comes Nathanael, a truly-honest Israeli. God showed me that you would come.”
Nate was totally surprised, “How do you know me?’
The Messianic believer continued, “In my spirit, I saw you under the tree searching for truth on your tablet even before Phil invited you to our study group. Searching for truth is good my friend, because the scriptures tell us that “Send your…truth, let it lead me…” Psalms 43:3 The search for truth has led you to us.
Surprised at this seemingly prophetic statement about him, Nate’s answer was, “Surely, Jesus is Yeshua, the Son of God, the King of Israel!”
The believer gave Nate’s shoulder a pat. “You believe because I told you that I knew you would join our group? Sit down, friend, we have a lot more to show to you. I hope that you brought your scriptures.”