In His Steps - A Great Lent Series
Under the Fig Tree: I Saw You There
by Dr. Ray Pritchard
Jesus saw Nathanael before Nathanael saw him.
That statement reveals a huge spiritual truth:
"I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you"
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation doesn't start with us. It always starts with God. It is a work of God
from first to last. We need this truth because it's easy to fall into a
man-centered way of thinking. We often speak of "finding" the Lord, and that is
true. But it is equally true that if Jesus did not find us first, we would never
find him on our own.
Jesus was moving to call Nathanael before Nathanael knew who he was.
This ought to give us great confidence in our prayers and in our evangelism. We
have a part to play because God has ordained both the means and the ends of his
work on the earth. We pray for the lost precisely because we fully expect God to
work in the hearts of the lost long before they come to faith in Christ. We
can't say in advance exactly how God will work or when or where. We don't need
to know that part. It is enough to know that salvation is a gift of God, and
that every part of salvation is "not of ourselves" (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
Think of it this way:
Philip still had to say to Nathanael, "Come and see" (v. 46).
Nathanael still had to come.
When Nathanael came to Jesus, he discovered Jesus had been watching him all
along. Let this thought encourage you as you think about friends who are far
from the Lord. Jesus sees them too. He knows where they are. He prepares them to
respond so that when they are invited, at just the right moment, they will come
We all have friends who are "under the fig tree" right now. If they seem
unreachable, remember Nathanael and do not lose heart. Jesus sees the lost, he
knows where they are, and he calls them by the Holy Spirit.
Keep believing, and keep on praying. You never know what God will do.
Give us faith, O Lord, to believe your Word, and to keep on praying for our
friends who do not know you. Amen.
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