In Nathanael's conquest by Christ there is something implied, of which the Lord's words give significant hints. Nathanael (Theodore, 'the gift of God') had, as we often read of Rabbis, rested for prayer, meditation, or study, in the shadow of that wide spreading tree so common in Palestine, the fig-tree. The approaching Passover-season, perhaps mingling with thoughts of John's announcement by the banks of Jordan, would naturally suggest the great deliverance of Israel in the age to come. Such a verse as that with which the meditation for the New Moon of Nisan, the Passover-month, closes -'Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help'- would recur, and so lead back the mind to the suggestive symbol of Jacob's vision, and its realisation in 'the age to come.'

These are, of course, only suppositions; but it might well be that Philip had found him while still busy with such thoughts. It must have seemed a startling answer to his thoughts, this announcement, made with a freshness of new conviction: 'We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, did write.' But this addition about the Man of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, would appear a terrible anti-climax. It was so different from anything that he had associated either with the great hope of Israel, or with the Nazareth of his own neighborhood, that his exclamation, without implying any special imputation on the little town, seems only natural. There was but one answer to this- that which Philip made, which Jesus had made to Andrew and John, 'Come and see.' And as he went with him evidences irrefragable multiplied at every step. And as he neared Jesus, he heard Him speak to the disciples words concerning him which recalled, truly and actually, what had passed in his soul. And to his astonished question came such answer that he could not but burst into immediate and full acknowledgement: 'Thou art the Son of God,' Who hast read my inmost being; 'Thou art the King of Israel,' Who dost meet its longing and hope.


from pages 68-69, Jesus the Messiah