Grace and Peace to you.
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!
—John 1. 45-49
Notice the reversals. Nathaniel starts out with a snarky comment, dismissing Jesus with a stereotype of people from the sticks. Clearly he’s wrong. Jesus could accuse him of being bigoted, or at least insensitive. Instead, he praises Nathaniel as being “without deceit.” Then, on the flimsiest evidence, Nathaniel suddenly changes his story and declares Jesus to be the Son of God. What’s going on?
Maybe Nathaniel was changed because Jesus saw him—saw the good and true in him that others hadn’t seen. Jesus “saw” a new Nathaniel into life. And Nathaniel in turn saw something good, something holy even, in Jesus.
God sees us as we truly are, and we let ourselves be seen. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely” (Ps. 139). And we see ourselves the way God sees us: as precious and beloved and even, despite everything, good. And we become the people that God envisions. Jesus says “The eye is the lamp of the body” (Mt. 6.22). Just as God spoke “light” into being, God sees us into being, creates us by seeing us anew. And the people we become are good, and see the good in others, even the holy. “Then I will know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13.12).
Don’t be afraid to be fully seen, for you are God’s Beloved. Seek to truly see others—even someone hurtful— as God’s Beloved. It is the light that re-creates us.
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