“‘How do you know about me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, ‘l could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you’” (John 1:48).
I don’t know if you ‘ve ever sat under a fig tree. Some of my great- great- aunts had a very large one in their back yard and I remember how certain summer afternoons I would sit in its long branches that almost reached the floor. It was my favorite place to hide from the sun.
Nathanael also apparently liked them because he chose a fig tree to sit and pray and consider whether the Jesus he had met was actually the Messiah. It was his usual place of prayer with Philip. (How wonderful for two friends to share something like that!)
I encourage you to read chapter 14 of The Desire of Ages, entitled «We Have Found the Messias,» to learn more details about the story that’s only told in this gospel.
Nathanael hadn’t been very sure about Jesus. He was a bit disappointed by His appearance, even though His message was so powerful that he couldn’t entirely reject it. So he had decided to pray and meditate on the prophecies.
When Philip invited him, he wanted to believe and saw that as a sign, but when he found out Jesus came from Nazareth, his prejudice made him doubt once again. However, Philip made him go with him to see Jesus. He knew that encounter would end up convincing his friend. And that’s exactly what happened.
We can draw several lessons from this story, and it’s because many times we go through situations that are similar to Nathanael’s.
Sometimes we doubt Jesus’s nature or existence. Sometimes we see multitudes following some things that don’t fully convince us. Sometimes we need someone to motivate us to have an encounter with Him.
It’s important that just as Nathanael did, we seek Jesus personally. But it’s also important to set aside our prejudice and get to know Jesus as He truly is.
Perhaps we mow things about Him, but it’s important to get to know Him.
Try to find a quiet place to think and pray. And as you meet with Him, may He also be able to say He already knows you.