This passage doesn’t really speak to me. Its noticeable that a couple of John the Baptist’s disciples left him for Jesus, perhaps this was at his encouragement. I love Nathanael’s reaction because it seems to me he’s being a bit caustic asking if anything good ever came out of Nazareth. I could see making a similar comment, trying to be funny — talk about foot in mouth, a little geographic snobbiness and it turns out that God chose that location for his incarnation. I should stop trying to be funny.
I learned through Bible study that the significance of the fig tree is that its branches hang long and low and thick and that sitting under a fig tree would completely hide a person. So Jesus seeing Nathanael in such circumstances is really awe-inspiring and thus Nathanael’s exclamation “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! The King of Israel!” (1:49)
I’m always amazed at the faith and boldness of these disciples to just go and follow Jesus. I envy the surety of their belief that this is the Messiah. I can’t help but feel I’d be watching with skepticism. Am I doing that now?