Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,–John 1:47-51
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
My family are big fans of The Chosen series. For the second episode in season two, their writers created a beautiful (fictional) backstory for Nathanael leading up to today’s Gospel passage. In the show we see Nathanael alone under the fig tree, surrendering his lost dreams and praying to God. At one point he cries out in frustration, “Do you see me!” It is a moment that many of us can relate to when we feel lost, forgotten, or even unknown.
So later when Nathanael and Jesus meet, we hear the words from today’s Gospel: “How do you know me?” The moment when Jesus says, “…I saw you under the fig tree,” we also experience an immediate emotional connection.
He knows us. He sees us in our most vulnerable moments of prayer.
Then Jesus asks Nathanael–and us–a question in reply. “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you…?”
How do we answer that? Do we believe that God loves us because we’ve received our own tangible sign or answer from Him? When our eyes and hearts are opened in faith, we can see and be seen by God in so many ordinary moments. A fragrant cup of tea. Receiving a warm hug. Sitting in a moment of quiet. Never forget that we are fully known and loved by God.
Where does God answer you in prayer, revealing that you are fully known and loved?
Jesus, I believe you are the son of God who comes to redeem us. Thank you for seeing and loving me.