How Do You Know Me?

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip.
And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see the sky opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
(John 1:43-51)

Scripture Study

1:43 He: grammatically, could be Peter, but logically is probably Jesus.

1:47 A true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him: Jacob was the first to bear the name “Israel” (Gn 32:29), but Jacob was a man of duplicity (Gn 27:35–36).

1:48 Under the fig tree: a symbol of messianic peace (cf. Mi 4:4; Zec 3:10).

1:49 Son of God: this title is used in the Old Testament, among other ways, as a title of adoption for the Davidic king (2 Sm 7:14; Ps 2:7; 89:27), and thus here, with King of Israel, in a messianic sense. For the evangelist, Son of God also points to Jesus’ divinity (cf. Jn 20:28).

1:50 Possibly a statement: “You [singular] believe because I saw you under the fig tree.”

1:51 The double “Amen” is characteristic of John. You is plural in Greek. The allusion is to Jacob’s ladder (Gn 28:12). 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Nathaniel recognizes Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel. Like Nathaniel, once we make the decision for Jesus, once we determine that he is the supreme good, then every other claimant to supremacy must fall away. As I’ve argued many times before, every one of us has something or some set of values that we consider greatest. There is some center of gravity around which everything else turns.

Perhaps it is money and material things. Perhaps it is power and position. Perhaps it is the esteem of others. Perhaps it is your country or your political party or your ethnic identity. Perhaps it is your family, your kids, your wife, your husband.

None of this is false, and none of these things are bad. However, when you place any of them in the absolute center of gravity, things go awry. When you make any of them your ultimate or final good, your spiritual life goes haywire. When you attach yourself to any of them with an absolute tenacity, you will fall apart.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.