As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” (John 1:47-50)
John 1:47 Is another of those situations where Jesus demonstrates perfect knowledge of a person’s heart. There will be more to come. Remember John is developing a theme. Watch for the theme as it unfolds.
As they approached, Jesus said, "Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity." No craft, deceit, trickery.
Nathanael asked, "How do You know about me?"
Jesus replied, "I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you."
Then Nathanael exclaimed, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God—the King of Israel!"
Jesus asked him, "Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."
Wow what is going on here? How is it Jesus can tell Nathanael he saw him under the fig tree and then suddenly Nathanael pronounces him to be Son of God? The coming King of Israel we are waiting for?
Simply because sitting under the fig tree doesn’t mean just sitting under the fig tree. Anyone can see someone sitting under a fig tree. How is that special.
Zech 3:10 - "And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, each of you will invite your neighbour to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree."
The fig tree was the symbol of peace, prosperity and settledness. When a man planted figs and they grew and established and he remained in the place where his figs were planted there was peace.
But it was also the symbol of the devotional place. The personal Quiet Time. It was the place where Nathanael withdrew to the shade of the tree for meditation or prayer. It was the place where the men would sit and discuss theological issues. Jesus is saying to Nathanael I saw you having your Quiet Time. Probably Nathanael would be thinking but no-one saw me in my Quiet Time. I was alone. Oh my goodness He really did see me in my QT. He knows all about me. He is the Anointed One.
Not only that but Jesus is probably inferring I know where you get that integrity from, you get it from Me. Wow that is deep and personal. Now wonder Nathanael responded like he did.
Allow me add a little note of personal experience. A speaker at my first Christian Conference (Navigators 1974) once asked me along with the audience, who do you most admire in the world? I thought of Rod Laver, winner of the four grand slam series tennis titles twice all in one calendar year. He said to me if that person asked you to meet him at 5.00 am or 6.00 am would you be there. Would I what? Of course I would. If he said he wanted to meet you everyday at that time would you be there? Again, of course I would. Then he said, "Well the Creator of the Universe wants to meet with you every morning, will be there? Of course I would and I have been ever since that day. Oh not with Rod Laver, but with the Creator of the Universe. That thought changed my life.
Reputation is what people think about you. Character is what you are when no-one is looking.
To forgive is to set the prisoner free...and then discover the prisoner was you.