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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 1 - Verse 48

Verse 48.

Whence knowest thou me

? Nathanael was not yet acquainted with the divinity of Christ, and supposed that he had been a stranger to him. Hearing him express a favourable opinion of him, he naturally inquired by what means he had any knowledge of him. His conscience testified to the truth of what Jesus said—that he had no guile, and he was anxious to know whence he had learned his character.

 

Before that Philip called thee. See Joh 1:45.

 

 

When thou wast under the fig tree. It is evident that it was from something that had occurred under the fig-tree that Jesus judged of his character. What that was is not recorded. It is not improbable that Nathanael was accustomed to retire to the shade of a certain tree, perhaps in his garden or in a grove, for the purpose of meditation and prayer. The Jews were much in the habit of selecting such places for private devotion, and in such scenes of stillness and retirement there is something peculiarly favourable for meditation and prayer. Our Saviour also worshipped in such places. Comp. Joh 18:2; Lu 6:12.

In that place of retirement it is not improbable that Nathanael was engaged in private devotion.

 

I saw thee

. It is clear, from the narrative, that Jesus did not mean to say that he was bodily present with Nathanael and saw him; but he knew his thoughts, his desires, his secret feelings and wishes. In this sense Nathanael understood him. We may learn—

1st. That Jesus sees what is done in secret, and is therefore divine.

2nd. That he sees us when we little think of it.

3rd. That he sees us especially in our private devotions, hears our prayers, and marks our meditations. And

4th. That he judges of our

character chiefly by our private devotions. Those are secret; the world sees them not; and in our closets we show what we are. How does it become us, therefore, that our secret prayers and meditations should be without guile

and hypocrisy, and such as Jesus will approve!

{o} "I saw thee" Ps 139:1,2

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