Joh 1:44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Joh 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Joh 1:46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Joh 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
Joh 1:48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Christ Appeals to Different Natures
Note first to what different natures Jesus appeals. Four or five men are mentioned in our verses, and we know a little about the character of each. We know enough to convince us of the differences between the natures of these first disciples. Peter was eager and enthusiastic. John had a perfect genius for loving. Philip was slow, deliberative, cautious. Nathanael had a most unworldly and gentle heart. Yet all were drawn to the one Lord and Master and took their place in the ranks of the disciples. Some teachers appeal to certain kinds of men, or they attract those who are educated to one level; but it was one of the mysteries of Jesus that He drew to Himself such distinct and diverse men. Let the teacher of a class remember that. Let the mother lay it to heart among her children. Their natures are utterly different one from the other, yet all may find their friend in the one Lord.
Christ Deals with Newcomers by Different Methods
Again, remark by what different methods Jesus deals with newcomers. We can never note too earnestly or gratefully the value, in the eyes of Christ, of one. It was for one coin the woman swept the house. It was for one sheep the shepherd went seeking. It was for one son the father watched and prayed. Christ preached to vast audiences on many occasions, and a great crowd moved Him to compassion; but the woman of Samaria did not get poorer teaching because she formed an audience of one. The same thing strikes us in Jesus' dealing with newcomers. They are not dealt with on any scale of ten. Each stands apart and has a separate treatment, for each was precious in the eyes of Christ. One newcomer has his motives searched and sifted—that is the meaning of the sharp "What seek ye?" (Joh_1:38). Another is convinced that he is known— "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile" (Joh_1:47). A third is summoned and strengthened by a word of command, "Follow me" (Joh_1:43). Let us not dream, then, that the Lord's way with us will be the same as His way with other people. Let us not despise our own peculiar welcome because no one else had ever quite the same. He knows us separately; separately He loves us; and every newcomer has his separate dealing.
The Kingdom Begins in Personal Acquaintance
Lastly, the Kingdom begins in personal acquaintance. Do you know how other societies are formed? They are formed by the drawing up of rules and statutes; and men are solemnly enrolled as officers, and everything is formal and exact. Here only, in quiet and simple ways, a Kingdom (though not of earth) is being founded, and it begins in acquaintance with the King. As it began so has it continued. The mark of citizenship is personal knowledge still. Strangers and aliens may say, "I know about Him." But the true citizen can say, "I know Him."