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Under the Fig Tree


Mountain fig tree in Zibad

There is always a next day.

Here was a very productive day when some common words rang so true as to resound in our hearts through time and into eternity.

One says, "We have found him" and is met with honest doubt and objection. "Nothing good comes from THAT town!"

Jesus compliments him for "being real," and calls him anyway. In the transaction we enshrine these words of calling,"Follow me," and "Come and see," and "I saw you," and "You shall see amazing things."

"The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”

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.”

Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”" - John 1:43-51 (ESV)

A congenial and compelling exchange, it is.

One question grabs me in this moment of reflection upon the whole: How did you know me?

How does anyone know us?

How does God know us, much less any other person? What can they tell by seeing us sitting under a tree? Does John see significance in the sort of tree under which Nathanael sat? Or is it just another fig tree?

Was Nathanael just another man who happened to be called to follow? Would that be so bad?  Are not most of us rather ordinary?

In fact, I have seen some of earth noblest souls, men and women of high esteem and accomplishment, come to the close of their days, alone, forgotten, and rather helpless. They, who have been extraordinary, have become rather ordinary.


Jesus, the Master of common people, calls us out as uncommon.

He knows what we are doing or thinking as we sit, seeking, under the fig tree. He know our yearnings. He knows our devotion.

He sees the honesty of our souls and the core of responsiveness that really wants to follow someone and something that is significant. He knows who is willing to come and see, even if the one to be seen comes from a common and unlikely place.

Such a seeking soul is likely to see the uniqueness and kingly quality of the One who calls. Such a soul is most likely to become a follower and learner. Such a soul is captivated by the possibility of seeing greater things. Such a soul will not settle for less.

If you are sitting under your fig tree today contemplating the vastness of the unknown or just thinking about your grocery list, you are seen; you are known; you are about to be called. Are you ready? what will you do?

What will the next day of your life be like?