Read John 1:45-49
Jesus found Philip and said “Follow Me.”
Immediately Philip went to find his best friend Nathanael (because that is what you do when you have good news). He told Nathanael, the guy we all had been looking for is here! Jesus of Nazareth! Nathanael was taken aback because he said, nothing good could come from Nazareth, could it? Even with that being said, Nathanael followed Philip to meet this guy.
Jesus saw Philip bringing Nathanael to meet him and He said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” (no guile means genuine integrity, there was no deceit in Nathanael) This was said for a purpose. Did Nathanael believe he never told a lie, or had he somehow never told a lie in his life??? Or was he just repenting that very day of a lie he told? With this, Jesus started his mission to get to Nathanael’s heart.
Jesus, in all the Gospels, had never spoken such a good word over someone when He was meeting them, as this one over Nathanael. This was big. So big that Nathanael said, “How do you know me?” (You can almost picture the scowl on his face as he was saying this to Jesus). First this guy is from Nazareth, and now He acts like He knows me!
Jesus answered, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.”
The fig tree was a catalyst for opening Nathanael’s heart. Because he instantly responded, (you can almost hear his reverent whisper:) “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.”
The fig tree was the key that unlocked this soul. “Under the fig tree” is supposed to be a place of prayer. Nathanael had a special prayer time under this tree that day. Whatever was in his heart was personal and deep or this would not be a life changer moment. He had no doubt in his mind this was the Son of God!
Jesus’ next words are a question: “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou?”
This was almost mocking Nathanael. But if Nathanael had been Speaking to God earlier under that fig tree about Jacob being a deceiver; then got his name changed (in the fight with an angel) to “Israel.” What if he was musing about that the ladder on which Jacob saw angels ascending and descending from heaven to earth? To Jacob, it was the place that God and man connected. He built a stone pillar to mark it.
But now Jesus continued: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” This will be the place where God and man meet. This means that Nathanael will see the wall between God and man opened in the man Jesus.
(Nathanael becomes the first recorded professing believer in Jesus as the Son of God. He is listed as Bartholomew in the line-up, usually after Philip. The name Nathanael does not appear anywhere else in the NT. Many scholars say that Bartholomew is Nathanael. He died a martyr's death.)
“Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou?”
If Jesus were to say to you, "I saw you under the fig tree," where you were talking to Him earlier, would that be enough to make you believe? Is that enough to get your attention to follow hard after Him for the rest of your life like Nathanael/Bartholomew?
What would it take for you to give your life over to Him?
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