Nathaniel under the Fig Tree James Tissot Brooklyn Museum, 1886-94
Gospel of John 1:43-51 Reflection; In today's gospel we have the call of Philip and Nathanael. Again we have the same sequence; Jesus calls Philip, Philip responds and recognizes Jesus and then goes to call Nathaniel. "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’
‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’
‘Come and see’ replied Philip."
image from christchurchmontrealmusic.blogspot.co.uk
Notice how Philip speaks about Jesus; he already sees him as the fulfillment of the prophets. Nathanael replies with a joke about nothing good coming from Nazareth. The important point is that John is telling us in his gospel that Jesus is the one of whom Moses and the prophets wrote. We are being prepared for the Epiphany by the gospel spelling out that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and the One who is to come. Over these past few weeks we've had the preparation for the birth, with the beautiful stories from Isaiah and the Old Testament, the wondrous events surrounding the birth and now we are told who this child is. The foundations for the story as it continues throughout the Church year are being laid.