To Be Truly Understood is the Greatest Honor

This is the daily devotional for February 1, 2022 that I wrote for my other blog, Huldah’s Sisters. Because it speaks of the contemporary issues of stereotyping and of putting too much feeling into what others think of us, I wanted to share it on this blog. I will write my regular blog, prompts and all, later today, after my college classes end. Thanks for your continued support!

John 1: 47-51 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believebecause I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 

It’s funny how someone can often know us so well, while we don’t know them at all. When Nathanael was told by Philip that the Messiah promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets had been found in Jesus of Nazareth, he asked if anything good could come out of Nazareth.

Nazareth must have had a bad reputation, and the people of Nazareth, the good and the bad, suffered because if it. Nathanael judged the worth of Jesus and if he could be the fulfillment of the promise simply by where Jesus was raised. He stereotyped Jesus, not waiting to know Him before passing judgment. It is the same today, when stereotypes from the media determine how people think of other according to race, ethnicity, and social class.

In contrast, when Jesus met Nathanael, He declared that Nathanael was a man of integrity, in whom there was no deceit. Nathanael questioned how Jesus could know him when He had never met him. Jesus told him that he had seen him under the fig tree, which must have been a time when Nathanael thought he was alone, and no one could see him.

But Jesus reminds us in this text that God knows us and that He sees us. Indeed, Jeremiah 1:5 states that God knew us before we were formed in our mothers’ bellies. To have someone know you so fully as Jesus knew Nathanael is maybe the greatest of honors, for it speaks of God’s interest in us all.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for knowing us better than we know ourselves. Nathanael was convinced that you were indeed the Messiah because you knew him in ways that no one else could. Touch our hearts and remind us that what matters, Savior, is not what other people think of us, but what you know to be true of us.  In Jesus’s Name, Amen, Lord God.

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