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Under the Tree

Nº 307

June 18, 2024

Our Christian life began not with our decision to follow Christ but with God's call to us to do so. - John Stott

Jesus called an odd crew of misfits to be His disciples. John records Nathaniel’s call to follow Jesus in a cryptic conversation.

Jesus: “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” (The phrase translated no deceit means nothing tricky or sneaky.)

Nathaniel: “How do you know me?”

Jesus: “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” (Throughout the Old Testament, fig trees are used as an image of peace and blessing. Jeremiah and Ezekiel also record idolatrous and immoral happenings that took place hidden under trees.)

Nathaniel: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:47b-49)

When Jesus said Nathaniel had no deceit, He may have been honestly complementing Nathaniel’s good character, or He may have been setting a trap. We don’t know what transpired under the fig tree. Maybe Nathaniel was behaving himself, or maybe something nefarious happened.

Whatever Jesus intended, the words stunned Nathaniel. He immediately recognized who Jesus was and proclaimed, “you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Whether we are in a good place or hiding our sin, Jesus calls us to recognize who He is and become His follower.


Dan Bolin

Author & President

Refueling in Flight Ministries


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