Nathanael - This apostle is supposed to be the same with Bartholomew, which is very likely, for these reasons
And the prophets - See Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:5; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 53:1, etc.; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:14, Jeremiah 33:15; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Daniel 9:24; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 6:12; Zechariah 9:9; Zechariah 12:10.
Jesus of Nazareth - They spoke according to common apprehension. They spoke of him as the son of Joseph because he was commonly supposed to be. They spoke of him as dwelling at Nazareth, though they might not have been ignorant that he was born at Bethlehem.
From the day when she heard the angel's announcement in the home at Nazareth Mary had treasured every evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. His sweet, unselfish life assured her that He could be no other than the Sent of God. Yet there came to her also doubts and disappointments, and she had longed for the time when His glory should be revealed. Death had separated her from Joseph, who had shared her knowledge of the mystery of the birth of Jesus. Now there was no one to whom she could confide her hopes and fears. The past two months had been very sorrowful. She had been parted from Jesus, in whose sympathy she found comfort; she pondered upon the words of Simeon, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35); she recalled the three days of agony when she thought Jesus lost to her forever; and with an anxious heart she awaited His return. DA 145.1
At the marriage feast she meets Him, the same tender, dutiful son. Yet He is not the same. His countenance is changed. It bears the traces of His conflict in the wilderness, and a new expression of dignity and power gives evidence of His heavenly mission. With Him is a group of young men, whose eyes follow Him with reverence, and who call Him Master. These companions recount to Mary what they have seen and heard at the baptism and elsewhere. They conclude by declaring, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” John 1:45. DA 145.2
As the guests assemble, many seem to be preoccupied with some topic of absorbing interest. A suppressed excitement pervades the company. Little groups converse together in eager but quiet tones, and wondering glances are turned upon the Son of Mary. As Mary had heard the disciples’ testimony in regard to Jesus, she had been gladdened with the assurance that her long-cherished hopes were not in vain. Yet she would have been more than human if there had not mingled with this holy joy a trace of the fond mother's natural pride. As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the Honored of God. She hoped there might be opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them. DA 145.3Read in context »
These disciples had been for some time associated with Jesus in active labor. John and James, Andrew and Peter, with Philip, Nathanael, and Matthew, had been more closely connected with Him than the others, and had witnessed more of His miracles. Peter, James, and John stood in still nearer relationship to Him. They were almost constantly with Him, witnessing His miracles, and hearing His words. John pressed into still closer intimacy with Jesus, so that he is distinguished as the one whom Jesus loved. The Saviour loved them all, but John's was the most receptive spirit. He was younger than the others, and with more of the child's confiding trust he opened his heart to Jesus. Thus he came more into sympathy with Christ, and through him the Saviour's deepest spiritual teaching was communicated to His people. DA 292.1
At the head of one of the groups into which the apostles are divided stands the name of Philip. He was the first disciple to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist, and had heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God. Philip was a sincere seeker for truth, but he was slow of heart to believe. Although he had joined himself to Christ, yet his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45. Again, when the five thousand were fed, Philip's lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip's answer was on the side of unbelief: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” John 6:5, 7. Jesus was grieved. Although Philip had seen His works and felt His power, yet he had not faith. When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize upon the opportunity of introducing them to the Saviour, but he went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” the Saviour answered, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.... If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” John 14:5-8. So slow of heart, so weak in faith, was that disciple who for three years had been with Jesus. DA 292.2
In happy contrast to Philip's unbelief was the childlike trust of Nathanael. He was a man of intensely earnest nature, one whose faith took hold upon unseen realities. Yet Philip was a student in the school of Christ, and the divine Teacher bore patiently with his unbelief and dullness. When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples, Philip became a teacher after the divine order. He knew whereof he spoke, and he taught with an assurance that carried conviction to the hearers. DA 293.1Read in context »
When the grace of Christ is implanted in the soul by the Holy Spirit, its possessor will become humble in spirit and will seek for the society of those whose conversation is upon heavenly things. Then the Spirit will take the things of Christ and show them unto us and will glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. If, therefore, you have the sacred peace of Christ in your heart, your lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, the discharge of your duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation, but you will magnify Him who gave Himself for you when you were yet a sinner. You will say: “I give myself to Jesus. I have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” As you praise Him you will have a precious blessing, and all the praise and glory for that which is done through your instrumentality will be given back to God. FW 87.3Read in context »
Ministers of Jesus Christ should apportion some part of God's vineyard to men who are standing idle in the market place. If they blunder, then correct their mistakes, and set them at work again. Many more have been hindered from going forth into the work than have been encouraged to trade upon their talents, and yet it is by using their ability that they learn how to employ their talents. Many have gone to Battle Creek to obtain an education who could have been better instructed in their own country. Time has been lost, money has been needlessly expended, a work has been left undone, and souls have been lost, because of the miscalculations of those who thought they were serving God. The Lord lives, and His Holy Spirit presides everywhere. The impression must not prevail that Battle Creek is the Jerusalem of the world, and that all must go up there to worship. Those who desire to learn, and who make every possible effort to acquire knowledge, walking conscientiously in the light of the truth, need not journey to Battle Creek. God is our teacher; and those who would improve their talents where they are, will be blessed with teachers sent of God to instruct them,—teachers who have been preparing to do a work for the Master. To spend more time, to expend more money, is to do worse than to lose it; for those who seek to obtain an education at the expense of practical godliness are on the losing side. That which they acquire in educational lines during the time when they should have entered upon the work, is mere waste and loss. The heavenly intelligences are waiting for human agents with whom they can co-operate as missionaries in the dark parts of the earth. God is waiting for men to engage in home missionary work in our large cities, and men and women are retained in Battle Creek when they should be distributed in the cities and towns, along the highways and hedges. They should be calling and bidding men to come to the marriage supper, for all things are now ready. There will be missionaries who will do good work in the Master's vineyard who do not go to Battle Creek. FE 365.1
Those who go to Battle Creek meet with temptations that they did not suppose could exist in that place. They meet with discouragements which they need not have had, and they are not helped in their religious experience by going to that place. They lose much time because they know not what they are to do, and no one is prepared to tell them. They lose much time in following occupations which have no bearing upon the work for which they desire to fit themselves. The common and the sacred work are co-mingled, and stand on a level. But this is not a wise policy. God looks on and does not approve. Many things might have been done that would have had lasting influence, had they worked moderately and in humility in the place where they were. Time is passing; souls are deciding either for evil or good, and the warfare is constantly increasing. How many who know the truth for this time are working in harmony with its principles? It is true that something is being done; but more, far more, should have been done. The work is accumulating, and the time for doing the work is diminishing. It is now time for all to be burning and shining lights; and yet many are failing to keep their lamps supplied with the oil of grace, and trimmed and burning so that light may gleam out today. FE 366.1
Too many are counting on a long stretch of a tomorrow; but that is a mistake. Let every one be educated in such a way as to show the importance for the special work for today. Let every one work for God and work for souls; let each one show wisdom, and never be found in idleness, waiting for someone to come around and set him to work. The “some one” who could set you to work is overcrowded with responsibilities and time is lost in waiting for his directions. God will give you wisdom in reforming at once; for the call is still made, “Son, go work today in My vineyard.” Some may still be undecided, yet the call is still heard, “Go work today in My vineyard.” “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” The Lord prefaces the requirement by the use of the word “son.” How tender, how compassionate, yet withal, how urgent! His invitation to work in His vineyard is also a command. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”—Special Testimonies On Education, March 21, 1895. FE 366.2Read in context »