Trusting God for insight as I studied the book of John recently, I read every word reverentially, slowly, repeatedly, not wanting to miss anything.
I was just getting into the habit of studying again, and was hoping I would get a word, just one.
Then I found it.
It was just a statement Jesus made in one of history’s most unlikely first-meeting conversations. He wasn’t even talking to ‘me’, but He was talking to me. It made me feel vulnerable, exposed, known.
“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
What Nathanael was doing under the tree is not as significant right now as the fact that Jesus saw him. And it’s not just the ubiquitous nature of God being expressed here.
It’s God on a personal level. God that saw you every time you hid away from others to feed your addiction, when you were grappling for answers that confirm the reality of Christ, and vacillated in your faith. He saw what others couldn’t see even if they tried. They saw a spiritual giant, leader and epitome of godliness, but God saw the questions in your heart.
An Open Invitation
Like Nathanael, the realist, Jesus welcomes everyone. Come with your doubts, your questions, even your opinions that have become set overtime.
While Jesus applauds the faith that believes instantly, he is also patient enough to meet each of us at our different points of belief, in his words “come let us reason together.”
What Acknowledging this does for You
One would expect Jesus to be put off by Nathanael’s unbelief, but like every other human who interacted with him on a personal level, we can come to him with our doubts- Nicodemus, with our filth-like the prostitute who washed Jesus feet with her tears, and like the father of the demon-possessed boy who said “Lord I believe, but help me have more faith.”
Jesus interaction with Nathanael and all these people should excite us to know that He is willing to meet us halfway.
In his responses to them, we see different aspects of the Father just the way he sees us under our fig tree.
But we will never know if we didn’t make an attempt. Like Nathanael will you take a chance and oblige Philip’s invitation, “come and see for yourself.”?