Gospel: Jn 1:47-51
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.“ Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?“ And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.“
Nathanael answered, “Master, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!“ But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.‘ But you will see greater things than that.
“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.“
What was Nathanael (Bartholomew) doing under the fig tree that was so revealing of his authenticity? We would never know for sure. Yet, being under the fig tree seems to refer to being in communion with God and walking in God‘s ways (see Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10). Whatever Nathanael did under the fig tree, Jesus‘s mentioning the event evoked an immediate pronouncement of faith from him who had been skeptical until then about anything good coming from Nazareth.
One thing we know from this encounter: God sees us. Even before Philip met Nathanael and spoke about Christ, Jesus had seen him. God sees us whether we are under the fig tree or in the market place. He not only sees where we are and what we do, but also sees into the deepest movements of our hearts. Nathanael received high praise from Christ. When I meet Christ at my resurrection, what would he have to say about me?