Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Looking for the blog I wrote on Nathanael reminded me just how long I’ve been posting Bible readings. The one on Blogspot, “Your Fig Tree?” was posted December 27, 2008.
I’m still intrigued by what significance it held to Nathanael that Jesus knew he was under a fig tree.
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. (John 1:48-49 KJV)
Whatever that significance was, it caused Nathanael to recognize Him as the Messiah and make that acknowledgement aloud. Apparently, that didn’t make a difference to Jesus – He knew there would be much, much more to see in the next three years. There would also be the vision that explained Jacob’s ladder:
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12 KJV)
Jesus is our connection, our way to reach God directly. Because of Nathanael, we read of this vision that we’ll one day see. Over the next three years, Nathanael saw greater miracles than he could imagine, even though he’s not mentioned again in the book of John until after Christ’s resurrection:
There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. (John 21:2 KJV)
You won’t find the name Nathanael in the other gospels. According to scholars, there you will find him as Bartholomew. Each time we read of “the twelve”, we would know he was there, traveling with Jesus for the three years, then gathering with them to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.
We’re left to ask ourselves my question from years ago – what is our fig tree? What does it take for us to make that public statement that Jesus is the Messiah? To turn from what we are comfortable doing and follow Him?
My own ‘fig tree’ occurred decades ago. I, too, made that public acknowledgment that I see Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel. I probably am as off on my estimation of what that means as Nathanael was. The disciples were expecting an earthly kingdom, leaving them devastated when Jesus was crucified. I’m looking forward to being surprised, too, at what is in store.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)
We know what the Holy Spirit has revealed – and that’s sufficient for me. What’s your fig tree?