Focal Passage: John 1:40-51
I recently noticed an advertisement on social media from a low-budget airline offering a $100,000 signing bonus for qualified pilots.
Such an offer seemed really impressive to say the least. However, after reading the comments below, some of which were written by pilots in the industry, it was clear that the company’s offer was misleading. A few of the pilots even warned others to be skeptical about Internet ads that seem “too good to be true.”
While such a warning is wise for online activity, some people are equally skeptical when it comes to the claims of the gospel. When they first hear about the good news of Jesus, along with grace, forgiveness and eternal life, they wonder if such an offer is “too good to be true.”
Perhaps you have experienced such resistance when telling others about Jesus, and you want to know how to help people break through the barrier of skepticism and embrace Christ.
Like many today, when Philip first told Nathaniel that he had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the One foretold by Moses and the prophets, Nathaniel quickly responded with skepticism.
He asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” We aren’t sure why being from Nazareth led to such doubts — other than it was a relatively small and insignificant town — but Nathaniel didn’t believe. However, notice two factors that changed his mind, one human and one divine.
First, rather than giving up on him, Philip responded by saying, “Come and see.” In other words, he wanted Nathaniel to learn more about Jesus, to meet Him, to experience His love and truth. Today, we need to follow this practice by not only being persistent in our witness, but by helping people learn more about Jesus through answering difficult questions and countering false assumptions, which is known as Christian Apologetics.
The apostle Peter said that believers should “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Peter 3:15). Sometimes giving a good answer or pointing people to an important truth will break down major barriers to belief in Christ. We must be prepared to help them.
Second, after taking Nathaniel to meet Jesus, our Lord mentioned something to him that changed everything. Jesus said, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1:48). Nathaniel quickly responded with faith, declaring Jesus to be the “Son of God” and “King of Israel.” What made the difference? He beheld Jesus’ omniscience, His supernatural ability as God to know all things. In other words, Jesus supernaturally convinced Nathaniel that He was indeed the Messiah.
Today, it’s crucial that we seek the Holy Spirit’s power to convince people to trust Jesus. Our witness alone doesn’t have the power to produce belief. We need God’s power to open hearts and help people see the truth.
Jesus later said in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This statement is just as true today. B&R