They saw Christ and they worshipped Him; then we read in the Bible some significant words—they were warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, so they departed into their own country "another way." I like this term "another way." After you have seen the living Christ, you will always take another way; you will never go the same way as you came. In fact, you should have come this way in the first place. You came the wrong way; now the Lord has adjusted you so that you will go on by the right way. Don’t go back through Jerusalem. Forget about Jerusalem. Don’t go back to religion—take another way. By your former way you can never meet Jesus. But, hallelujah, there is another way! In Los Angeles there is another way! In San Francisco there is another way! In the United States there is another way! Praise the Lord! If you have not seen Christ, go back to religion, go back to Christianity. But if you have seen Christ, be warned—you must take another way.
Based upon the same principle, let us look at the case of Nathanael in John 1. Philip found Jesus and came to Nathanael and said, "Oh, I have found Christ! I have found the one of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." You may say that Philip gave the right information, and you may also say that it was wrong. Philip called Him the "son of Joseph"—is this right? If you say that Jesus is the son of Joseph, I will say that He is absolutely not the son of Joseph—He was born of Mary. But if you say He is not the son of Joseph, I will say that He is. What would you say? Thank the Lord for Philip. Philip was really good and so simple. He did not argue. He just answered, "Come and see!" In other words, "I don’t know if I gave you the right information or not—just come and see! I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what is right or wrong. Just come and see!"
Nathanael was a godly person. He asked, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" In a sense, Nathanael was right. He learned from the Bible that Christ should not come out of Nazareth, but from Bethlehem. May the Lord allow me to use a word which is not inherently good. God told His people in His holy writings that Christ would be born in Bethlehem; so all His people received this knowledge. But God did something in a "sneaky" way. Christ was conceived not in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth. And during Mary’s pregnancy He was brought to Bethlehem just for a short time, not in an ordinary way, but in a very extraordinary way. God sovereignly worked: He used Caesar Augustus of the Roman Empire to issue an order for a census, forcing Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. Immediately upon arriving in Bethlehem, Jesus was born. But just a short time later, He was brought away from Bethlehem to Egypt, and then from Egypt to settle and grow in Nazareth. So you see, Jesus really fulfilled the Scripture by being born in Bethlehem, but we may say that it was in a "sneaky" way. If you just knew the letter of the Word, you would miss it altogether. God has a way of circumventing clever people. Jesus was truly born in Bethlehem, but He was also Jesus of Nazareth.
Do not simply trust in the letter of the Word. If you do, you will miss something. You need the Word, but you still need God’s presence. God is not so simple. There not only was the prophecy in the Old Testament, but also the sovereignty of God, and the sovereignty of God in a sense is rather "sneaky." God is not so open, so public, so greatly advertised. The little child Jesus just "sneaked" in. If you are so legal, so scripturally legal, God in your case is rather "sneaky." You must be on the watch. You should not say, "I know the Bible; the Bible says such and such." If you do, you will be fooled by your knowledge. The scribes knew the Scriptures backwards and forwards, but it profited them nothing. You need to be in the presence of God all the time. I do not despise the Scriptures; I honor and respect them. But be careful, the Scripture is the Scripture, but it is not God Himself. The Scripture is God’s holy writings, but you still need God’s holy presence. If we have His presence, we will really know when He is in Bethlehem, when He goes away, when He comes back, and where He is raised up. We have to follow the Lord in this way.
What the Lord has been doing through history, towards the worldly and religious people, is always hidden and "sneaky." It is really difficult to explain it to people. If you ask who Jesus is, outwardly speaking, He is just a man; He is Jesus of Nazareth. "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" It is really so. There is no glory, no boast, no display. Philip really gave Nathanael the best answer: "Come and see!"
(Finding Christ by the Living Star, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)