DAY 236 OF 365 IN 2021
ENCOUNTERING THE KING FROM ‘NAZARETH’
John 1:45-46 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.”
Nathaniel is remembered particular in today’s Gospel for his blunt and brutal statement of what bad name Nazareth had as a city. There was no malice or ill intent, just stated spoke up honestly and even Jesus would agree with the state of his heart “their was no guile”. He didn’t say anything to flatter or excite anyone. In fact, he stood a chance of making others angry.
Nonetheless, it is sad that the consensus or general conclusion was that ‘Nazareth had no potential for any great things’- good was even off the table. The message version of the text is even more brutal in its presentation. It renders today’s text: ‘Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding me?’ Now those words would be very harsh takes if one had close ties to the city, but that wouldn’t really matter if the words spoken were obvious facts.
Beloved, sometimes, the assessment of a situation in black and white simply leaves no room for any optimism. The obvious and clearly valid conclusions seem like ‘no potential and no opportunities, hence no expectations’. But then there are moments like Phillip’s where one has ‘to go and see’.
One of the pitfalls in learning is ‘the arrogance to think that one has all the answers‘ and so has no consideration for what might exist outside their own scope or pool. Nathaniel’s words stated obvious facts, but opening himself to probing further positioned Him to encounter something good out of Nazareth, He encountered Jesus, the son of God. And guess what, He was from Nazareth.