48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Nathanael knew that something unusual had happened to him, that Jesus had read his heart.
Jesus answered and said to him,
Nathanael asked a question to which he would get a surprise answer. Jesus said in effect, “I am a Revealer of truth. I have supernatural knowledge.”
“Before Philip called you,
Jesus knew everything that went on between Philip and Nathanael before Nathanael ever met Jesus.
when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jesus had supernatural knowledge of Nathanael. He saw Nathanael under the fig tree before they met each other. He also was able to look into Nathanael’s heart.
Nathanael answered and said to Him,
As soon as Nathanael found out how Jesus knew about his life without meeting him, he immediately responded with belief in Jesus as the Son of God; he accepted the deity of Christ. His doubt was removed immediately. He ascribed titles to Jesus that far transcended any normal Rabbi or teacher. He instantly acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah.
“Rabbi, You are the Son of God!
Nathanael asserted two things about Jesus’ ability to read his mind: (1) Jesus was “the Son of God” and (2) he was “the King of Israel.” The first designates His person and the second His office. Instead of stiffening his doubt about Christ, Nathanael yielded to Him. It took a process for him to receive Christ.
The idea of “Son” in the phrase “Son of God” shows the unique relation of Jesus to the Father. It sets forth Christ as God.
This is the first confession of Jesus by a disciple of Jesus. The first part of Nathanael’s confession fulfills the purpose of the gospel of John, which is to believe on the deity of Christ as the “the Son of God” (Jn 1:34; 20:31). Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
You are the King of Israel!”
Nathanael recognized that Jesus was the authentic King of the nation Israel (Zeph 3:15). The “King of Israel” and “Messiah” are synonymous terms. Palestinian Jews used the phrase “King of Israel” for the Messiah (Jn 12:13).
Up to this point in the gospel, Nathanael gave the most complete confession of faith in Christ except for the Baptizer. His doubts vanished instantly. Since Jesus knew such intimate knowledge of his movements and mind, he could do nothing else but trust Him as his Savior. His conversion was quick and complete. He was convinced of the evidence.
Questions can lead to faith.
Not all questions come from implacable doubt. Nathanael recognized that Jesus saw him where no human could see—that Christ had penetrated his motives and heart. He discerned that there was something unique about Jesus. Nothing else justifies Nathanael’s response to Jesus.