Nathanael and the fig tree was never a flannel board story in my Primary Sunday School class! (Or I could have totally missed it by being way too talkative). In Sunday School last week, we looked at John 1. Verses 43-49 are about Philip taking Nathanael to meet Jesus, “the One Moses wrote about in the Law.” Basically, he tells Nathanael, “Come meet the Messiah. He is from Nazareth.”
Nathanael responded honestly and very possibly with doubt and disappointment, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
As Jesus approaches Nathanael, He speaks highly of Nathanael calling him “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Nathanael is surprised Jesus not only knew him but also that Jesus makes a personal comment about him. So, Nathanael asks Jesus how He knew him and Jesus tells him, “I saw you under the fig tree.”
Now, normally I would have skipped over the fig tree reference, but on this particular day, the fig tree’s significance is explained. It is the place where the Rabbi would gather his students and teach the scriptures. Because Nathanael had been taught about and then found himself face to face with Jesus, he declared Jesus as the Messiah and the King of Israel.
I realized through this passage, I want to be a Nathanael, and I need the fig tree in my life. I want THE RABBI to teach my heart to recognize Him when He is teaching and working in my life daily. My time with Him devotionally is my fig tree – the place He teaches and prepares me to declare Him as “the Son of God, the King of Israel.”
Perhaps, I will plant a fig tree in my yard as a reminder to keep my heart in a teachable and attentive place to Jesus!