We Are Known
Nathanael didn't know everything, but he knew quite a bit. We know he knew his Bible. He knew, for example, that the prophets never mentioned Nazareth when speaking of the Messiah, whom Philip had just announced was Jesus of Nazareth. Bethlehem and Jerusalem, yes; even Egypt; but no reference whatsoever to Nazareth. Somewhere in his response to Philip we detect Nathanael's cynicism, sarcasm, or skepticism. Maybe Nathanael is tired of waiting for a sign of hope - for when his study and discipline will be met with personal encouragement.
When Jesus tells Nathanael that He saw him "under the fig tree," He probably meant it literally, but he also used a euphemism for contemplation. In those times, and in that part of the world, in the shade of trees were places to sit, think, and discuss weighty matters. The Grove of Akademia, near Athens, is where we get our word "academy." Jesus compliments Nathanael by bringing out this detail of his life, and Nathanael is impressed. He is also impressed that Jesus knew he was a true Israelite, and an honest person, even before speaking with him.
That day Nathanael believed Jesus is God. What's more, he discovered Jesus truly knew him.
Like Nathanael, we are known by God. He knows our hopes, our fears, our capabilities and strengths that perhaps no one else sees. Jesus is inviting us to a lifelong journey with Him, a journey in which we are fully seen and known. That knowledge gives us strength and courage to trust God to fully be who he made us to be.
In what ways does God show you that you are known?
In Ethiopia, women who have never been given leadership roles are stepping out in faith to lead their communities. Ayantu is the cashier on her village water committee. She collects community contributions for ongoing maintenance, ensuring the new water well her village received from Lifewater will last for generations to come.