Over the years, my friend Barbara has given me countless encouraging cards and thoughtful presents. After I told her I’d received Jesus as my Savior, she handed me the greatest gift she’d ever given me—my first Bible. She said, “You can grow closer to God and mature spiritually by meeting with Him daily, reading Scripture, praying, and trusting and obeying Him.” My life changed when Barbara invited me to get to know God better.
Barbara reminds me of the apostle Philip. After Jesus invited Philip to follow Him (John 1:43), the apostle immediately told his friend Nathanael that Jesus was “the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote” (v. 45). When Nathanael doubted, Philip didn’t argue, criticize, or give up on his friend. He simply invited him to meet Jesus face to face. “Come and see,” he said (v. 46).
I can imagine Philip’s joy when he heard Nathanael declare Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the king of Israel” (v. 49). What a blessing to know his friend wouldn’t miss out on seeing the “greater things” Jesus promised they’d witness (vv. 50–51).
The Holy Spirit initiates our intimate relationship with God and then lives in all who respond in faith. He enables us to know Him personally and to invite others to encounter Him daily through His Spirit and the Scriptures. An invitation to know Jesus better is a great gift to receive and give.
To whom will you extend an invitation to know Jesus better? How has He worked through others to grow your faith?
After Nathanael meets Jesus, he asks Him how He knew who he was. Jesus replied, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree” (John 1:48). William Barclay explains the significance of the fig tree in his commentary The Master’s Men. The fig tree can grow to fifteen feet high, and its branches can spread as much as twenty-five feet. So the tree served as “a kind of private room” where most devout Jews would pray and meditate. Jesus was recognizing Nathanael’s devotion and piety and that he was a man of prayer (vv. 47–48).