Jesus once said to Nathanael, “Here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false”. In truth, we do not know very much about the disciples. Two of them, Matthew and John, succeed in writing whole Gospels without hardly mentioning themselves within the story. The Bible passage for this week, the week beginning 14th January, sheds some light on two of the disciples – Philip and Nathanael. Doubtless, these two were close friends and work colleagues, coming from the same part of Galilee. It is also likely that they both studied the scriptures together. Indeed, it may be that Nathanael was meditating on the scriptures away from the noise of the house, under a fig tree when Jesus first saw him. Jesus clearly had a high regard for Nathanael declaring that there was ‘nothing false’ in him. However, Nathanael, Philip and all the other disciples were also prone to despair, despondency, negativity and even cynicism. Nathanael, for example, declared, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip, in turn, could not believe that there was any hope for them to feed five thousand men on the hillside: “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bit!” I find it immensely re-assuring that these great people who went on to plant churches, revolutionise the world and give their lives for their faith all started from a position of weakness. God is less interested in what we have been and more interested in what we can become. This year, why not start the journey of being a better disciple so that, one day, like Nathanael, we can hear the words of God: “This person is a true follower of Jesus in whom there is nothing false.”
Discipleship Training Course
The next session takes place in Room 8 at Emmanuel church on Tuesday, 16th January at 7.45pm.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”