Nathanael’s Encounter With Jesus

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel’” (John 1:47–49).

Of all the apostles, Nathanael had one of the more interesting first encounters with Jesus. After Philip told him he had found the Messiah—“Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”—Nathanael was skeptical. His dubious reply, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” reflects his incredulity that the Messiah could come from such an insignificant town. Yet he followed Philip.

As he approached, “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!’” Jesus recognized that Nathanael’s blunt, honest reply revealed his lack of duplicity and his willingness to examine Jesus’ claims for himself. Nathanael was “an Israelite indeed”—he was a genuine, true disciple from the beginning.

Taken aback by Jesus’ omniscient recognition of him, Nathanael was also surprised by Jesus’ supernatural knowledge of information known only to him. Not only did Jesus supernaturally see Nathanael’s physical location, but He also saw into his heart (cf. Ps. 139:1–4).
Whatever happened under the fig tree, Jesus’ supernatural knowledge of it removed Nathanael’s doubt. Overwhelmed, he acknowledged Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

Just think—Jesus knows you every bit as intimately as He knew Nathanael. The same acknowledgement of Christ’s deity ought to be on your lips as well.

Ask Yourself
Is Jesus’ intimate knowledge of you a source of fear and anxiety, or is it rather a source of comfort and security? If you’re living in the first state of mind, try putting into words why anything that keeps you from the latter could possibly be worth it.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610