Seen. Known. Cherished.

Contemplative beach

I’m back! My break was a little longer than anticipated, but I found myself in need of much rest after a demanding two and a half months of nonstop travel around the U.S. Though our trip was an unforgettable blessing, I am thrilled to be home in my warm Amazon Jungle. And I’m wishing you an amazing New Year – may it be the best you have yet known, filled to overflowing with the revelation of Jesus’ particular love for you.

Onto today’s devotional:

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“Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and exclaimed, ‘Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’” (John 1:47-48, NET).

Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be Nathanael in the moment described here? Give this a try: insert yourself in the story as him.

You are following your buddy Philip to go see a Man who has amazed him. What is all the excitement about? you wonder. Right after that, you catch a glimpse of Him. He looks directly at you as you approach Him. His gaze arrests you. He stares right into your soul. Immediately, tangible kindness travels from His eyes into the depths of you.

Then He announces who you are. Not your name, mind you… but the essence of your spirit. The essence of who you were created to be. You become keenly aware, in that moment, that He somehow, truly knows you. The question erupts before you can contain yourself – “How… how do You know me?”

Turns out, He’s been watching you – in a most wonderful way. Watching you with spiritual eyes that see far beyond His physical surroundings. Watching you with eyes that penetrate into the core of you. Watching you with eyes that take great delight in every aspect of you.

Yes, Jesus knows you, dear one. He knows absolutely everything about you, and He cherishes you. Just as you are.

This, my friend, this is the basis of discipleship. Look at the spontaneous response that Jesus’ love invokes:

“Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!’” ( v. 49).

When Jesus tells us who we are, this helps us learn more about who He is. When we find out how intimately He knows us, and how profoundly He cherishes us, our heart leaps up in desire to follow Him. We love because He first loved us.

I love the last part of this story, too:

“Jesus said to him, ‘Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.’ He continued, ‘I tell all of you the solemn truth – you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'” (vv. 50-51).

Jesus calls out our identity. He tells us who we were born to be. When we respond to His naming of us, it fills His heart with joy. With excitement, He promises, “This is just the beginning. I have so much more in store for you!” As this narrative concludes, He promises to show Nathanael His glory, the very wonders of heaven. When you and I respond to His pursuit with faith-filled worship, He promises us the same.

Dear one, Jesus sees you. Right now, He’s watching you with eyes overflowing with devotion to you. You are seen. You are known. You are cherished. Respond to His love with joy – He has so much more to show you!

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What has Jesus shown you about who you are? Has He encouraged your heart recently about who He created you to be? In what ways?