The Nazarene

by Mike Ratliff

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:45-46 ESV)

In the passage above, John 1:45-46, we see two of our Lord’s future Apostles, Philip and Nathanael, conversing. Philip finds his friend Nathanael and tells him that he and other friends have has found “him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote.” This is, of course, the Messiah. Then he tells him who he is, “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” What was Nathanael’s response? He asked a rhetorical question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” What was Philip’s answer? It was the one we must all take to heart and make the foundation of how we approach both evangelism and apologetics. He said, “Come and see.” 

Why did Nathanael have such a low view of Nazareth and those from there? Nazareth was just a backwater village in a sleepy area that had no prophetic significance. Nathanael probably thought, “Surely the Messiah will come from Jerusalem” as did the Jewish religious leaders in John 7:52. What must we take from this my brethren?

In our day, the Gospel has been given a new spin. It has been diluted to appeal to the “unchurched” and made to conform to “seeker sensitivity.” Those doing this are spiritually blind to the truth. They are in unbelief. They detest the real Gospel, which is about sin, God’s wrath, and the need for repentance and trust in Jesus’ blood. Since this is not popular, they hate that message and those who preach only that are never popular either. However, that is the message of Jesus the Nazarene. The real Jesus and His true disciple, will never be popular.

Philip did not argue with Nathanael, but rather he just said, “Come and see.” This is true evangelism. We do not argue people into the Kingdom of God.  The best form of apologetics is to proclaim the truth with our lips and the evidence of Christ in our lives. As we use presuppositional apologetics in dealing with those who insist on attacking our faith, however, the best method is still Philip’s direct approach of going for the truth. Reveal the truth of Christ as you show those in unbelief that what they believe is the truth is only the wisdom of this world, which is valueless. Never forget though, it all begins with the proclamation of the truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!

14 thoughts on “The Nazarene

  1. Pro 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

    I always liked this version of this verse. It says the “ways of death”. I am not sure of my interpretation of the word ‘death’ here, but my sense in reading this as I apply the whole counsel of God in understanding it, is that death can mean destruction, ruin, chaos etc from taking the wrong path. Yes ultimately it can be physical and even spiritual death, but not necessarily that.

    So these foolish teachers, having been enlightened by Satan to the dialectical path have conformed their thinking patterns to the worlds, to the earthy, not the true Spirit and thus are leading many onwards to the paths of death/destruction/ruin. The narrow path is too narrow for their wide open minds.

  2. Hi Mike. This is appreciation night. Not being a particularly sentimental person, I won’t get all teary eyed, but just wanted to express some eternal gratitude…

    On my journey along this pilgrim pathway, your blog has been one of my anchors to Truth. I have learned many things already from your clear and unpretentious manner of talking and teaching and your biblical based discernment. It has broadened my knowledge about some of the heresies and undetected teaching falacies, pieces of puzzling theories and the roots and fruits of today’s deceptions from wolves in sheep’s clothing. I know there are a million obvious ones, but also some not so obvious, some close to the Truth, but off enough to be false.

    In this fast paced, quickly changing, end time landscape in which we seem to have to run to keep up, God has raised up some ODMs to combat the gates of hell. And your’s is unique and welcome.

    And sometimes it’s supportive when you can make a connection with another human brain on the cyberspace trail. I am reasonably new to blogging…before that, too busy raising kids. From the discernment sites I have been able to see how deluded I was by using the Bible instead of reading it in context…like the many false teachers that have influenced my thinking in the past.

    I also enjoy Ken’s CRN very much. I breeze by it and a few other discernment sites, most days, like the frontpage of a newspaper, clicking on something that catches my interest. His space adds dimension and perspective to the confusing trends and teachings of today. Really appreciate him and sorry that he got targeted again. Obviously, he is a threat to false teachers because he gives access to information that would expose them for what they are…liars, swindlers and con artists. There is no shortage of them and only one Ken Silva. He should feel special.

    So be blessed guys! I’d send flowers, but they don’t travel on wireless waves.

  3. When I say I haven’t been blogging for long, I mean less than a year now. My original motivation for blogging was to give back something to the ODM along the lines of verbal thanks. They have given so much to me. Having carved out a little twisted pathway of my own (due to the spin doctors of WOF that so colored my world and a few thousand other factors), I ended up married to an unbeliever, thereby making thanks in the form of financial support totally out of the question.

    I hit the blogosphere running with the thought I wouldn’t be around long as per serious health reasons or the rapture, whichever came first…but I’m still here grateful for the surprising encouragement that returns to me with dividends.

    So here I am, shy little me, instead of being curled up in my own little corner with a book…the Lord has planted me in a small corner online to share his good news and shine his Light into the darkness with a few other of his Chosen and Faithful.

    And although you have heard the last from me on this subject, you probably haven’t heard the last from me. I plan to keep running the race until I fall off the edge of the earth or disappear over the horizon into the hazy heavenlies.

    God’s blessing on all of you, my friends and spiritual family…

  4. Pingback: The Nazarene (via Possessing the Treasure) « Take A Look

  5. Mike, thanks for sharing this with us. There is in fact more to the scoffing of Nathanael when he knew Jesus was from Nazareth. Isaiah 9:1 points out Nazareth, during the time when Israel was divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, was in the northernmost part of the Northern Kingdom (Israel). Because Israel’s (post-division) first king Jeroboam instituted idolatry by having a golden calf up north in Dan and in Bethel in southern Israel, the whole northern kingdom plunged into the darkness of idolatory. This darkness of sin was worst in the far north of the northern kingdom, furthest from Jerusalem, on the border between the tribal lands of Zebulun and Naphtali.

    Isaiah 9:2 indicates that into this most spiritually darkened region of Israel did God send His Son, the Lord Jesus, to be His Incarnate Light of divine revelation of the truth to those who had rejected the written revelation of God’s Word. (Compare Isaiah 9:2 with Matthew 4:12-16). This will ultimately be completely fulfilled in Christ’s Messianic Kingdom of ultimate divine revelation of the truth to the world, as there will be great joy in the land of Galilee where there had once been gloomy depression. This is caused by the final destruction of afflicting Gentile armies, for there would be no more need for judgment on the cleansed people of Israel.

    Ultimately, after the people in Galilee had been worn out with gloom, God with great motivation would save them with the glorious salvation of the Lord Jesus from Nazareth.

    (I’m greatly indebted to Don Shell from Nepaug Bible Church for most of what I have quoted here)

    The main lesson from what I wrote directly applies to Israel (the Jews) only, but a type application could be seen for the church that Jesus came in to administer the world that was most covered in darkness. All of that is solely the work of God. In other words, what establishes the power of the witness of the gospel is God Himself and His power is manifested by shining the brightest through the darkest shade of darkness so that no man may boast of his own effort.

  6. Today’a man-centered gospel says we need to ‘attract’ people to Jesus. The true gospel tells us to share the truth about God, man, sin, and redemption and leave the results in God’s hands. Our success in evangelism comes from our faithfullness in sharing the truth in love.

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