In John 1:51,52, Jesus made a prophetic statement to Nathanael we could latch onto in this New year. He said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And he said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see the heaven open, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
I believe that no matter the reality of the physical conditions around us, 2016 will be the year of “greater things” for each one of us. We shall not only see “greater things”, we shall do “greater things” for God in 2016. After all Jesus said, that we shall do “greater works than these” (John 14:12).
Jesus’ ability to exercise the gift of the word of knowledge by predicting to Nathanael that he was a man without deceit, and that he saw him under the fig tree startled him. Jesus, then, told him, “You will see greater things than these.” No doubt, Nathanael must have wondered what Jesus meant by this statement. Jesus exercised the same gift of the word of knowledge and word of wisdom several times over in the course of his ministry.
I believe that Nathanael, at some point in his life must have witnessed the “greater things” Jesus spoke to him about in this passage, though the scriptures was silent about it. He probably witnessed the public announcements by the Father endorsing the sonship and ministry of Jesus Christ. Twice, in Luke 3:21,22 and 9:34-36, God publicly affirmed the sonship and ministry of Jesus. “You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.”
Surprisingly, unlike his fellow compatriots from Bethsaida, Philip, Andrew and Peter, the name of Nathanael is missing among the names of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 6:12-15, but we see him later in John 21:2 among the disciples when Jesus appeared to them by the sea-shore. Was the miracle by the sea shore the “greater things” Jesus referred to when he spoke to Nathanael?
Whatever, let us look at this phrase, “you shall see greater things,” in the context of our present realities. I believe God is speaking to us through this scriptures; he is saying to us to get ready we shall see “greater things” in 2016. I am sure we saw “great things” in 2015, but let us be ready for “greater things” in 2016. “Greater things” of what Jesus would do in the nations; “greater things” he would do in our lives and “greater things” he would do through us.
Whereever Jesus went, his ministry and miracles caused a lot of stir and consternation. In Luke.5:26, the people responded thus when Jesus healed the paralytic man: “And they were all amazed and they glorified God and were filled with fear , saying, “We have seen strange things today.” And in Luke. 7:16, the raising of the son of the widow of Nain by Jesus evoked great awe and praise among the people, “Then fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen up amount us.” and God has visited his people.” This same Jesus has not changed, he will do strange things in our eyes in 2016. We shall not only see “greater things”, but we shall do “greater things.”
In his statement to Nathanael, Jesus said, “hereafter you shall see the heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” A cross reference to this was the experience Jacob had at Luz, which he later renamed Bethel (Genesis 28: ). At Bethel, God gave Jacob a vision of his destiny for him. In the vision, Jacob saw Angels ascending and descending from heaven. Jesus was possibly saying to Nathanael that he (Christ) would enjoy an open heaven over his life and ministry. There is no doubt Jesus experienced an unusual open heaven over his life and ministry. Be ready to experience the same open heavens in 2016.
WHY AM I OPTIMISTIC IN 2016?
Why am I optimistic about 2016., when the price of oil is declining and terrorism is on the increase? Why do I believe we shall see and do “greater things in 2016?” My optimism is due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, because the word of God said so. I believe the words of Jesus should not be taken lightly. When God spoke to Nathanael that he would see “greater things,” it was not based on Nathanael’s faith, but on Christ’s faith in his Father. So, what God will do in 2016 is not based on you, but on his plans and ability.
Secondly, because Jesus in John 14:12 said we shall do “greater works than these.”
Thirdly, we shall see “greater things” because God in Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do a new thing…” God is always doing new things though we may not know about them. What God plans to do in 2016 is not dependent on global situations, but on his plans and power.
The fourth reason for my optimism is because the Bible said in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” God spoke to the children of Israel specifically in this passage. When Israel was in captivity with little or no hope of returning to Jerusalem, God promised them a restoration back to their land. Even in the most gloomy times, we should be optimistic. God gives us hope at all times.
The fifth reason why we shall see greater things is because “with God all things are possible” (Mark.10:27). In view of all these reasons, I boldly say to you, welcome to the year of “greater things” and look out for the things God is going to do!