“I saw you under the Fig Tree”
This is not my fig tree, it’s an image retrieved from Google. It’s not my fig tree literally or figuratively, but we’ll get to that.
Jesus looked Nathaniel in the eye, warmly clasped his hand and with a slight smile said “I saw you under the fig tree”. There doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable in that statement. It gives context, location, background. I might meet someone and comment about having seen them walking in the park or playing with their grandkids on our block.
When Jesus met Nathaniel and mentioned the fig tree there was definitely more going on. We can tell because of Nathaniel’s response. He dropped to his knees, an awed expression on his face. Looking up at Jesus he said: “You are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel”!
How did Jesus statement about the fig tree convince Nathaniel of his divinity? One idea is that the fig tree was the place where Nathaniel worshiped, prayed and studied. His house was small and hot; he would go outside and sit in the shade to read and pray. The rhythm of each day, the rhythm of Nathaniel’s life centered around those times under the fig tree. Jesus was telling Nathaniel: in those moments with the Word – you were looking for me and I saw you. Nathaniel instantly grasped that standing in front of him, clad in flesh, was the Messiah, the fulfillment of the scriptures.
My phone buzzes at 5:30AM. There is a little spot where my middle daughter does her home school. It’s a chair, a desk and a lamp. It’s a place to study the word of God, to think, to learn, to pray. It’s a place to meet with the risen Christ, to see Jesus. This is my Fig Tree.