Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom 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 and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
-Nathanael was under the fig tree probably a place of prayer oblivious of the fact that Jesus had identified him before Philip called him. It is very interesting how Nathanael responds to Jesus’ words, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”. Nathanael asserts that Christ is the ruler of Israel & totally submits to Him. Many questions can be asked here, but what is clear is that Nathanael’s life changed positively after Christ came into his life. We also have hope in God for He transforms our lives by His everlasting love & mercy.
-Tree in Hebrew is written as ets & it means wood, timber, pole etc. More than 30 species of trees have been mentioned in the Bible, over 500 times. They symbolise shelter, support, provision, strength & capacity, which are also attributes of God. They provide oxygen, shelter, medicine, food for human beings & other creatures, attract rain, provide moderate global temperatures, provide beauty to the environment & remind us of Gods’ magnificent power of creation. Neighbouring Israelite communities including; Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites & Jebusites, curved wooden gods & worshipped them. At the time they were stronger than Israelites & this lured them into idolatry. God instructed the Israelites to destroy these sacred pillar & wooden images with fire & warned them against intermarrying with the neighbour’s (Deu 7:5). Jesus cautioned us against love of mammon, the god of money which is a by product of timber. Imagery has also been used to describe man as a tree or a part of it; to pass important messages. In Ps 1:1-3, a man who avoids evil advice, sinful ways, mockers & meditates on Gods’ statutes; will be planted by the rivers of water, symbolising Gods’ presence. His leaves will always remain green & healthy, he will produce fruits in due season & prosper in all his ways. In the fear of the Lord; he will be happy & healthy to eat the fruit of his labour, his wife & children will be blessed & extremely resourceful. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who take hold of her & happy are all who retain her (Pro 3:18). A critical question to ask, what if Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the tree of life & not from the tree of knowledge & evil? There would be no sin & the Bible narrative would be totally different. This is precisely because; the tree of life provides eternal life & is preserved for Christs’ elect (Rev 22:14). Because of the original sin therefore; Christ suffered & died as a sacrifice for our redemption, so that we may have eternal life in Him. He hang on a tree carrying all our burdens that we may be free from any form of bondage. As our true vine & we His branches, He calls us to abide in Him as He abides in us, so that we may bear much fruit, otherwise we remain fruitless (John 15:4-5).
Lord Jesus Christ, You are our source of life, our living water. You came to give us life & life more abundantly, wash away all our burdens. Help us to abide in You as You abide in us that our love for You will remain unshaken. We have many prayer petitions, have mercy on us, our families, nation & the world. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We believe that our leaves will never dry up despite the political & economic drought in our country. All glory & honour belong to You Father, now & forever. Amen
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