Most dictionaries omit the word gullible. If you do not believe me, just look it up.
All kidding aside, Nathaniel was not of the gullible sort. When his brother Philip told him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (John 1:45),” he was not going to fall for it. He replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth (John 1:46)?” Nathaniel knew where Moses and the prophets said the Messiah would be born, and Nazareth, in his mind, did not come close. He did not have the benefit of the gospel accounts to tell him that though Jesus hailed from Nazareth, he was actually born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1).
While Nathaniel was not gullible, neither did he swing to the other extreme by embracing a doubting prejudice against Jesus. When Philip urges him further by telling him, “Come and see (John 1:46),” Nathaniel went to check Jesus out for himself. As D.A. Carson said, “Honest inquiry is a sovereign cure for prejudice.”
Nathanael teaches us that a secondhand faith never suffices. Your parents’ faith may have sufficed in your earlier years, but eventually you need to come and see Jesus for yourself. Your church’s confession will only take you so far, you need to come and see Jesus for yourself. The invitation that comes out to us from John’s Gospel is not come and see him secondhand but come and see him for yourself. Encounter him through his own words breathed out in the Bible.
Pastor Dane Ortlund said, “as you seek to grow in Christ by becoming a deeper human being, accept and embrace the truth that you will go deeper with Christ no further than you go into Scripture. To read Scripture is to read of Christ. To read it is to hear his voice. And to hear his voice of comfort and counsel is to hear an invitation to become the human being God has destined you to be.” The words of John’s Gospel Account may be written by the hand and through the personality of John, yet they are breathed out by God himself to breathe new life into you through a holy encounter with the Son of God.
Avoid these two extremes: gullibility and prejudiced doubt. If you have questions about Jesus, go to the source. Pick up a Bible and read. Need help? There are plenty of churches and pastors willing to serve as guides. Come and see Jesus for yourself.