Under the Tree

Based on John 1:43-51

(Fill in the blank answers at the bottom.)

There are not many places to hide where Jesus cannot find us.  In fact, there’s no place to hide.  There’s no place we can go, there’s no place to where we can run, there’s no place to shield us from the loving search of Jesus for our souls.

In the first century world of Jesus, a man by the name of Nathanael discovered this truth.  After Jesus was baptized by His cousin John, men started following Him.  First there was Andrew, then Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus.  After that, Jesus found Philip and said to him that simple yet compelling command to, “_______  ____.”  And Phillip did, but not without finding another person to come to the Savior.

And that man was Nathanael.

Of Nathanael’s encounter with the loving, piercing gaze of Jesus, the Bible says in John 1:43-51,

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”  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.”  Nathanael answered and said to H im, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe?  You will see greater things than these.”  And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

First, at the gaze of Jesus, every person comes under _______.  In Nathanael’s case, someone told him about Jesus and he had to see for himself about this Savior, the Christ, whom he would in moments call the King.

We don’t know why Nathanael was sitting under a tree or what he was doing under the canopy of leaves and plopping of fruit on the ground, but that’s what Jesus saw – a man doubting the coming of a Messiah from the most unlikely of places.

And that’s us.

You can sit under the trees of life’s trying situations and still, Jesus searches for you.  And rest assured, He sees you before you see Him.

And when we do see Him, there’s this matter of coming under conviction.  Like Nathanael, we doubt that the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator of the universe and all that is in it, from super novae to subatomic particles, the Savior of mankind – we doubt that He is near much less sees us.  Yet under conviction we must make a _______.  Is He the Son of God who forgives people their sins or is He not and does He not forgive?  Under conviction, we must choose:  Is He Lord or is He not?

That brings us under _______.  The Bible says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and He is just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us, or _____  ___  _____, from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).  The Bible also says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised His Son from being dead, we will be saved from our sin.

Nathanael did that.  And at a certain point in life, all of us will sit under various, proverbial trees of burden, grief, physical ailment, strife, struggle, and any other number of earth-based issues.  Rest assured, Jesus does see.  He welcomes all into His kingdom if they choose to confess Him as Lord.  As Nathanael said, “You, Jesus, are the Son of God!  You are King!”

This matter of being under confession really does cause us to think about the priority of life.  Wherever you are, whatever” tree” you sit under, whatever you’re waiting for, whoever you’re hoping for, and like Nathanael, whenever you’re hoping for the hope to come, Jesus sees you and makes His _______ known.

That finally brings us under the _______.  It was upon this tree that Jesus died for our sins.  It was from this tree that He was taken and buried dead.  And it was in spite of this tree that God raised His Son from being dead.

We can move from tree to tree, that is, we can move from _______ to problem, from _______ to crisis, and even from _______ to quietness – and we do all that, every day, in every stage of life.  But once we are seen by Jesus, and convicted of our doubts, and confess Him as Lord, HE moves us under His tree, His Cross.

It’s in the shadow of the Cross where we find peace. Do you have peace?  Do you have the peace of Jesus, that passes all understanding?  (Philippians 4:7)

Jesus knows death, intimately.  He visited the grave, briefly.  And He conquered both, forever.  And it’s that _______ He wants for us.

There was an army commander one day who was ordered to nail a Man to a Cross.  With the small team of soldiers under his charge, he did just that.  The Man died, and we know this Man as Jesus.

But it’s the army commander’s story that goes unspoken.  For at the moment Jesus breathed His last breath on the Cross, the commander looked up at Him and confessed, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God!”

Did you get that?  No one can confess Jesus is the Son of God unless he believes that Jesus is Lord.  Under conviction, the army commander came under confession, and found himself truly and literally under the Cross of Jesus.  Under conviction, Nathanael found himself under confession, and suddenly from doubt to under the certainty of the Cross of Jesus.

And under conviction, may you, too, come under confession that Jesus is Lord, and find rest and find peace under the Cross.

It’s the only tree that really matters.

 



Fill in the blank answers, in order of appearance:

“Follow Me”

conviction

choice

confession

wash us clean

presence

cross

problem

crisis

quietness

victory

 

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