“Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” John 1:48b
To continue with John’s theme of Jesus as God, John chooses specific stories to reveal Jesus for the first time.
When we first see Jesus in this passage, John the Baptist addresses Him as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”(verse 29). What an honoring way to describe Jesus. In the Old Testament, the Israelites used lambs for the Passover feast and as sacrifices for their sins. Through Jesus, God supersedes these sacrifices by giving us the Lamb that can and would forever wash away our crimson stains of sin. Jesus is no ordinary man.
It continues on with disciples beginning to follow Jesus, but I want to focus on one individual, Nathanael. He is written about at the end of this chapter, but it is so beautiful to see how Jesus interacts with him.
After Philip told Nathanael that Jesus has finally come, Nathanael had to go see for himself. The very next scene is Jesus addressing Nathanael with a compliment that was specific to his character (verse 48), which illustrated Jesus’ divine knowledge. To go even a step further, Jesus comments on a specific time in Nathanael’s life that hit home for him. Jesus said, “Before Philip called you, when you were under a fig tree, I saw you” (verse 50). We know this was impactful for Nathanael based on his response to Jesus found in verse 49.
In my own paraphrase of verses 47-48, Jesus says, “I know you, I see you.” I find immense comfort in these words. Jesus reveals Himself to us as the One who knows us deeply and looks after our every move. Have you ever felt that no one can see your pain and hurt? Or maybe that God forgot about you? Well, I can tell you with every breath of confidence that He hasn’t forgotten about you and He does see you. Whenever I begin to question if the Lord is listening to me, I will recall on this story of our all-knowing and loving God that doesn’t sleep or slumber (Psalm 121:3). Let us rest in the confidence that we are far from forgotten and will experience far more than we can imagine when we meet our Savior face to face.
“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these” (verse 50).
be free. xoxo