“Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said about him, “Here is a true Israelite; no deceit is in him.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus answered.
“Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe only because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then He said, “I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:50-51
In this excerpt Jesus is talking to Nathanael after Philip had invited him to come and meet Jesus for himself. I’ve always loved this intimate exchange between Jesus and Nathanael. Several years ago I shared these thoughts in a post called From Fig Tree to Follower
I love the reminder that God knows us, see us, and understands us long before we are ever introduced to Him. I love the memory Jesus chooses to share with Nathanael. It doesn’t appear to be some earth shattering type moment in Nathanael’s life. And yet something about it was significant to Nathanael, he knew exactly what moment Jesus was referring to.
As I was rereading verse John 1:50 this morning, the words “long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us…” crossed my mind. I couldn’t remember where I had read those words before so I did a quick google search (isn’t Google great for this!) and Ephesians 1:11-23 popped up. Here are the words in context:
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free – signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.”Eph 1: 11-13 Message
As I thought more about John 1 and Ephesians 1, I was reminded that it’s often this intimate eye Jesus watches us with that first attracts us to Him. When our hearts and spiritual eyes open up to this beauty, it woos us into relationship.
The Creator of the Universe cares for me. The Creator of the Universe was thinking about me and working on my behalf long before I even knew about Him or even cared to know about Him. Let that sink in for a moment.
I’ll go one step further and say that when we come to the realization and the understanding that He chose to love us, reach out to us and pursue us even when we were running in the wrong direction, it’s humbling. When our hearts begin to grasp just a glimpse of the lengths Jesus will go in order to bring His children home, it changes us. When 99 children are safe at home but one is still missing, Jesus doesn’t quit or give up on the one who hasn’t yet returned home. He doesn’t look at the numbers and say…well 99% is good enough. No, He relentlessly and passionately pursues that one that is lost because long before time, he had his eye on that one, and a beautiful purpose in store for that one. (Luke 15:4)
Dear Lord, no matter what we might be going through today, help us to embrace the Truth that you see something beautiful in each of us just like you saw something significant and purposeful in Nathanael. And, Lord, give us hearts that are not content with stopping there but rather hearts that anticipate seeing “greater things than this.”
An oldie but goodie.