Christ the Witness of Our Secret Hours
John 1:48
Nathanael said to him, From where know you me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called you…

I. WHAT THIS INCIDENT TEACHES US OF CHRIST. His Divinity. Let us leave the trite and well-trodden method of proving this, and try a simpler way. Jesus demands our adoration as more than man, and on the ground that He alone of all the minds that have lifted up the world with intelligence has the power of reading all men's thoughts and hearts and experiences through and through. The leaders of thought have never been equal to this. Had they even pretended to it ,hey would have been set down as miserable jugglers. A general knowledge of human nature is all that the acutest have attained. The limit of this is soon attained and is not always accurate. But here is a man who all through life knew what is in man. He wanted no information about the diseases He cured. He saw the lack of selfsacrifice in the young man. He judged faultlessly the Pharisees, Judas, Pilate, the faithless wife, the woman that was a sinner. How could He be a Saviour without knowing our real state? the Light of the world without its lying open to His inspection? the Judge without comprehending every secret motive, error, sin?


1. He was not a faultless character, but genuine, lowly, teachable, having a soul open to receive spiritual light.

2. The blessing imports —

(1) That which falls on all genuine unconscious goodness that hides itself from men, and therefore is more precious to God. This is one of those new gracious ideas which the gospel brings into the world. Not only is righteousness independent of station or publicity, but it is acceptable to God and a sign of spiritual purity in the degree that it turns to God alone for its Approver.

(2) Attainments are of slow growth. It needs time to form habits. But sincerity in the religious life is indispensable at the very outset. This was Nathanael's one promising, solid grace. Hence the encouragement held out to genuine repentance and the unsparing condemnation of hypocrisy.

(3) The modest and faithful performance of a lower duty prepares the soul for the higher services and privileges. The man that was true under the fig tree afterwards sees angels of God, etc.

(Bp. Huntington.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

WEB: 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."

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