Our Gospel this week is John 1:43-51, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward 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 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!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Jesus didn’t perform miracles to impress people. There was always a purpose in everything He did – healing, providing, forgiving – all done in the name of the Father that those gathered might know His love. Jesus wanted everyone to share His joy through a relationship with God.
When Jesus tells Nathanael that He saw him under the fig tree, it isn’t to display His power, merely an answer to Nathanael’s question. Others would demand a sign but Jesus rebuked them saying “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39). Those who need proof in order to have faith still don’t understand the reason that Jesus came to us.
Jesus wants us to believe because we admit our wrongdoing and accept God’s forgiveness to reconnect with Him. His miracles aren’t intended to “wow” us with what He can do, but to show us what God is willing to do in order to save us from sin. Bringing us back to a full relationship with our Creator is the purpose of His ministry and His sacrifice for us.
Loving Lord, we fail to see the love You offer, wanting signs and miracles instead. Help us to learn the lesson Christ taught, that nothing is more wonderful than our connection with You. Amen.