Connecting The Dots
If you haven’t already, read John 1:43-51. About 1,800 years after Jacob’s dream, Jesus began his public ministry. All of the men that Messiah selected as his first disciples were sons of Jacob. Imperfect as they were, God chose them as He had their famous father. It took just a few hours for their world to be turned upside down. Expectantly they had been looking for the promised Son of David, the Anointed One that was to come. Suddenly, there He was!
Philip met Him. Then he introduced Nathanael to the One of whom Moses and the Prophets spoke, “Jesus of Nazareth.” You can almost hear Nathanael’s incredulous retort. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” The hometown of Jesus was the 1st Century equivalent of “Podunk.” Nathanael was very transparent. What you saw was what you got. Of course, the God / Man already knew this. He created Nathanael. “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit,” was Jesus’ reply. Today, Jesus might have said. “Whoa, a son of that old deceiver Jacob. This one is as honest as the day is long.” Taken aback, Nathanael wanted to know how Jesus knew all about him, that he was not like his father, Jacob. That was when Jesus blew Nathanael’s mind!
“Before, Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Jesus wasn’t a fortune teller or a magician. He is God; He has always existed. God knows everything. The Jewish rabbis of the 1st Century held that a good place to meditate on Scripture was in the shade of a fig tree. It is highly possible that Nathanael was thinking about God’s Word when he encountered Jesus.
Maybe Nathanael was contemplating Psalm 139, the declaration that God intimately knows the most profound thoughts and condition of those He crafted in their mother’s womb. Whatever he had been doing or thinking, Nathanael became convinced of Jesus’ identity. “Rabbi, You ARE the Son of God; You ARE the King of Israel!”
Maybe. Just maybe, Yeshua’s next comment sheds a little more light on what Nathanael had been meditating on, tieing the calling of Nathanael to God’s calling of Jacob during his initially restless night.
“Because I said to you that 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 the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” There is no way to prove it, but I think Nathanael may have been meditating on the account of Jacob’s dream.
Upon waking up, Jacob recognized the presence of the Living God. He said in fear and wonder, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
The stone on which Jacob rested his head was set up as a memorial in the place where Jacob met God. Who exactly did Jacob meet? Throughout the Bible, the second person of the God-head is often identified as a stone, as a rock (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42-44, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, 1 Peter 2:4-8, Acts 4:11, Isaiah 8:14, Romans 9:33, Isaiah 28:16, Daniel 2:34, 45, 1 Corinthians 10:4). Jacob then performed the first anointing of the Old Testament. He poured oil on the stone and renamed the place Bethel, the House of God.
Long before God became a man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, Jacob found rest in the Anointed One of Israel, Jesus the Messiah. Like his forefather, Nathanael recognized the presence of God as well.
What About You?
I am probably a lot more like Jacob than Nathanael. Praise God that He has revealed Himself to me as He did to Jacob and Nathanael. Like them, I too believe in the Rock of Israel. I now rest in Him.
What about you? Messiah Jesus is “a choice stone, a precious cornerstone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Can I tell you His story?