Under the Fig Tree

Opening Prayer

Remember back to when you first encountered Jesus. Thank him for what he has done in your life.

Read John 1:43–51

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

Reflect

When did you first draw close to Jesus? Who made the first move? You or him?

Jesus continues to call his disciples. Don’t you find his words in verse 43 interesting? Jesus knew exactly where to find Philip, just as he knew exactly where to find you and me. We didn’t find Jesus; he called us when we didn’t even know him.

It is likely that the first disciples already knew Philip as they were all from the same town of Bethsaida, and Philip probably knew quite a bit about Jesus. He immediately goes to look for Nathanael. His friend’s reaction seems scornful, doesn’t it (46)? But look at how Philip describes Jesus (44,45).

I was brought up in a tiny town in a small, landlocked country in central Africa that used to be called Rhodesia. If I had told someone in those days that Ian Smith, the world-renowned Prime Minister of Rhodesia, came from Gwelo, their response could well have been like Nathanael’s. “A great person coming out of Gwelo? Hardly.” Yet Ian Smith went to the same school as me.

Nathanael is astonished when Jesus mentions seeing him under the fig tree. Without hesitation, Nathanael believes in Jesus. Sometimes it takes the smallest event to turn a person to Jesus.

Apply

Think of someone you can invite to meet Jesus, then pray for the Lord to create the opportunity.

Closing prayer

Lord, help me to see the opportunities to share Your love that You put in front of me today.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider