Under the Fig Tree

It's been said, "those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." On the other hand, we can also be preoccupied with the future. Whether it's economic or weather forecasts or the imaginings of science fiction, we want to know what's going to happen next.

We're locked into a time continuum of past, present, and future. The only way to be free from repeating history or preoccupation with the future is to know and trust in the One who is eternal, who holds the future in His hands.

God already knows us—He's our Creator. But do we know Him? Really know Him?

We all realize knowing about someone and knowing them personally are two different situations. Misconceptions abound when it comes to knowledge about God and God's Son Jesus. But each true believer knows their own life story and experience with Jesus.


The next day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee. He found Philip and told him, “Follow me!” (Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.)

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the man whom Moses wrote about in his teachings and whom the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, son of Joseph, from the city of Nazareth.” Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip told him, “Come and see!” [vss 43-46]

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and remarked, “Here is a true Israelite who is sincere.” Nathanael asked Jesus, “How do you know anything about me?” Jesus answered him, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!”

Jesus replied, “You believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” Jesus said to Nathanael, “I can guarantee this truth: You will see the sky open and God’s angels going up and coming down to the Son of Man.” [vss 47-51]

(John 1:43-51 GW) [Context– John 1]

Key phrase—

We have found the man whom Moses wrote about in his teachings and whom the prophets wrote about

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • Who does Jesus call to follow Him in this short story? How is this person connected with others who follow Jesus?

  • Who does Philip speak to after Jesus calls him to follow and what does he tell this person?

  • What is Jesus' comment to Philip's friend? How does Philip's friend respond?

  • What do you think Jesus means by what He tells Nathanael will happen in the future?


Philip responded to the call of Jesus because he already knew about Jesus. He lived in the same area as Andrew and Peter who were already followers of this new rabbi. Awareness about Jesus, life experience, and relationships all influenced Philip to follow Jesus.

Once Philip knew Jesus personally and became one of His followers, Philip found his friend Nathanael. He told Nathanael what he knew and believed about Jesus. The conversation between these two friends includes Nathanael's skeptical question about Jesus' background.

Philip doesn't argue or try to prove what he says. Philip invites Nathanael to "come and see." This short story gives insight into how simple it is for anyone to share their faith with others. Tell people what you know about Jesus—your own life experience in relationship with Jesus and whatever you've learned about Him. Then invite them to meet Him personally.

The encounter between Nathanael and Jesus leaves Nathanael amazed. Jesus makes Himself known to Nathanael and tells him to expect much greater things. Both Philip and Nathanael had their own personal experiences and understanding of Jesus. This is true for all followers of Jesus. Those who aren't followers need to be invited by you and me to "come and see."

Taking it to heart...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • What stands out to you about how each of these persons began to follow Jesus?

  • What would it look like for you to follow Philip's example of inviting others to meet Jesus?

  • What do you know about Jesus? How did you come to this knowledge, is it true, and how do you know it's true?

  • Do you have a personal relationship with the Lord by faith? If so, who introduced you to Jesus or was an example that pointed you toward Jesus?

Personalize it...

Meditate On This— Jesus called His disciples to follow Him but some followed because they were invited by another follower.

Prayer Focus— Ask the Lord to show you people in your life whom you can introduce to Jesus through continued conversations, invitations to a gathering of believers, or simply by praying for them and for an opportunity to share your faith with them.