The Infinite and Intimate Christ - The Warrior's Journey®

The Infinite and Intimate Christ

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  (John 1:1) 

 Did you ever swim in a motel swimming pool? You’ve probably noticed that one end is shallow while the other is deep. The picture of Christ in the Gospel of John has been likened to such a swimming pool. One end is shallow enough for even the toddlers to wade through. Yet, at its far end are depths that no human can possibly fathom.   

 This first chapter of John’s Gospel begins by showing us the depths of Christ. It tells us of Christ’s eternity, deity, and His role in creating the universe. It tells us that “in the beginning” – as far back as any of us can envision – the eternal Word, Jesus, already co-existed with the Father. This picture of is Jesus difficult to comprehend. 

 Yet by the end of this chapter, John has moved from the immensity and eternity of Christ to the intimacy of Christ. We learn that Jesus knows the tiniest details of our lives. Not even our thoughts can escape His notice. 

 Just before Jesus met him, Nathaniel was sitting under a fig tree – a traditional place for meditation and prayer. There Nathaniel has been crying out to God. He struggled to understand why someone as deceptive as Jacob could merit such favorable attention from God. God revealed a ladder from heaven to earth before Jacob, with angels ascending and descending upon it. Yet a man like Nathaniel, who strove to be righteous and truthful, seemed to go unnoticed by God. 

 Yet Jesus is watching him, hearing his prayer, and feeling his pain. “Before, Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus explains to him. Jesus goes on to promise that, what Jacob only saw figuratively, Nathaniel will meet in the flesh. For Jesus is the true ladder that spans from heaven to earth. “You will see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”   


  • Do you ever feel insignificant in the face of God’s immensity and eternity? 
  • What do Jesus’ words to Nathaniel tell us about His intimate knowledge of us? 
  • We can be confident that Jesus sees us, hears us, and cares about us. Let’s talk to Him now. 


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