Weekly Devotion – John 1:47

Published 6:09 am Thursday, November 7, 2019

By Mike Caton

John 1:47, When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

This verse contains a terrifying thought. As Nathanael was approaching Jesus, without a word being spoken, Jesus was able to see into his heart. Stop right there and think what Jesus sees in your heart. We’re not talking about what you want Jesus to see in your heart. We’re not talking about what the world sees in your heart. We are not talking about what you want to be seen in your heart. But we are talking about what is really there. We are masters at making the right presentation, at putting on the right mask to trick others into our way of thinking. But Jesus sees through all of that to the very heart of the matter.

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Jesus says there is no deceit in Nathanael’s heart. The King James uses the word guile. That word means sly or cunning intelligence, it has the idea of being sneaky, tricky in order to get what you want. The Greek word means literally a bait, and has the idea of being crafty (and not in a Hobby Lobby kind of way), or deceitful. Think about some of Nathanael’s ancestors. Jacob and Laban were in a constant battle to see who could outdo the other; changing wages, switching daughters, manipulating sheep, running off in secret. But Jesus says that was not Nathanael.

Why would this be the first thing Jesus says to Nathanael? Remember, Nathanael already has a negative view of Nazareth and therefore Jesus. But maybe a better question is what would be the first thing Jesus would say to us? I know we have already met Jesus, we read about him regularly in the Bible. We even claim to be his followers. But since Jesus can see our hearts, what might he say to us? There is no pretending or fooling God.

Father, help my commitment to you be strong and pure. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.