The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. 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.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
I saw you sitting under the fig tree.
Where did God see you before you were called to serve Him? In the Old Testament, the expression, “under the fig tree” often suggests being safe and at leisure (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10). And, perhaps like Nathaniel, we doubted the significance of a Savior or Redeemer, especially one born in a stable.
Safe and at leisure. A nice place to be. Warm. Cozy. Secure. Satisfied No wants, no needs, no worries. But then we meet Jesus – face to face. We see our need, our utter depravity before a holy and righteous God and… we believe. We bow before Him and declare,“YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD.” Head knowledge we have drops two feet down and becomes – heart presence. We see the One Who is the very stairway between heaven and earth.
Maybe you were one – or know one – who came to “see Jesus” out of a desire to receive. Don’t we deserve prosperity, especially if we put our faith, hope and trust in the very Son of God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe? Acts 3:5 shares how the lame beggar came to Peter and John, hoping for money: “And he gave them his full attention, expecting to receive something from them.” He received much more. He received physical healing and, in giving the honor and praise to God for this miraculous event, all who saw and heard him “were filled with wonder an amazement at what had happened to him” (Acts 3:10). The grace and power of Almighty God, poured out in love. WOW.
Were you found under the fig tree, safe and secure? Are you still there?
Nathaniel didn’t stay there. He followed, and we are called to follow Him – to be His disciples – to go and teach others to be His disciples (Mark 16:15). We may have to leave comfort – safety – security – friends – family…
Everything we know and love and are content with.
For…? His joy. His FULL joy. Jesus said it Himself:
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)
“…ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:24)
“… and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:13)
Don’t just sit there under the fig tree. There’s a harvest, and the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37; Luke 10:2). Get up. Get to work. There’s a world sitting under a fig tree right outside your door. Look for the joy in sharing Jesus with the world He came to redeem. Run the race, and don’t look back.
“No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
The Kingdom of GOD. Isn’t that worth leaving your seat under the fig tree?