Have you ever felt really known? Every one of us longs to be fully known, loved, and appreciated. John 1:48 tells us about the interaction between Nathaniel and Jesus. “Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you’” (ESV).
Jesus tells him he saw him hidden under the fig tree. Jesus knows Nathaniel’s nature, motives, and physical hidden location.
There are differing ideas of what Nathaniel is doing within the confines of the overhanging branches of the fig tree. Two in particular would seem to go along with Jesus’s motive to convince Nathaniel He is the Messiah.
First, Nathaniel was meditating on or studying the story of Jacob’s dream about angels going up and down the ladder in Genesis 28. Secondly, Nathaniel was seeking information from God about the coming Messiah.
Both go along with the Jacob story because Jesus is saying he, himself, is the predicted, symbolic ladder whereby people will have communication with heaven even though they are on earth.
Nathaniel immediately calls Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel.
Jesus is thrilled and replies, in effect, “Then that’s why you believe? Seeing and knowing you is nothing compared to what you are going to see and know, including the heavens opened and angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
What a wonderful example for us as we respond to the new faith of new believers. They don’t know a lot and we know how much more they will need to learn. Like Jesus, we can rejoice over what they do know, not what they don’t yet know. And that they are known by Jesus.
Kathy Collard Miller and her husband Larry are co-authors of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature. Individually and as a couple they have authored over 55 books and spoken in over 35 states and nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents, grandparents, and lay-counselors. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.