John 1: 45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth." But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
The way in which Jesus describes Nathanael speaks of integrity, honesty, and justice. The Gospel passage seems to suggest further that the encounter between such a person and Christ is characterized by profound and almost immediate mutual recognition. Almost as if the absence of duplicity clears the way for man to come to faith.
“How do you know me?” On a first glance, sudden realization to be known by another may fright us. At the same time, here lies one of our deepest desires and needs. To be known, to stand fast while someone’s gaze embraces our soul: we dread it and yet we crave nothing more. We know that nothing makes us more vulnerable, but we also know that nothing can bring greater joy than this type of communion.
Jesus and Nathanael lock eyes in this passage. They both see through the surface which usually covers the counterpart of a first encounter. Something extraordinary goes on here. And Nathanael realises this in an instant. The initial fear makes way for a new sensation: “You are the son of God.”
To pray means to lock eyes with Jesus. What sensation does that provoke in me? Fear? If you put all duplicity aside and allow the Holy Spirit to replace that fear with the genuine desire to be known by Our Lord, joyful comunion will take possession of you. And Nathanaels profession of faith can become your own.