Since I’m teaching the Gospel of John this fall, I’m trying to make my way through it in Greek. I just finished chapter one this morning, and it included a passage that I have always found strange. I don’t think it’s a translation issue at all, but I’ll include the Greek just because it’s cool to be able to have Greek in the post:
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
Τῇ ἐπαύριον ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. καὶ εὑρίσκει Φίλιππον καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀκολούθει μοι. ἦν δὲ ὁ Φίλιππος ἀπὸ Βηθσαιδά, ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Ἀνδρέου καὶ Πέτρου. εὑρίσκει Φίλιππος τὸν Ναθαναὴλ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ὃν ἔγραψεν Μωυσῆς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ καὶ οἱ προφῆται εὑρήκαμεν, Ἰησοῦν υἱὸν τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἀπὸ Ναζαρέτ. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ Ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι; λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Φίλιππος Ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε. εἶδεν Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ Ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλείτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν. λέγει αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ Πόθεν με γινώσκεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε. ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ Ῥαββεί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ὅτι εἶπόν σοι ὅτι εἶδόν σε ὑποκάτω τῆς συκῆς πιστεύεις; μείζω τούτων ὄψῃ. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὄψεσθε τὸν οὐρανον ἀνεῳγότα καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
My question: Why does Nathanael have such an extreme reaction? Why do you jump to the conclusion that someone is the messiah for such a flimsy reason?