And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:46
Nathanael’s mocking question is more significant than we realise on face value. Even he did not fully understand what he was asking or saying. There is no sufficient scope to discuss this rich question in detail in this rather brief devotional. However, let us reflect on just a couple of empowering insights from this remarkable encounter.
Firstly, don’t expect all those you invite to Christ to applaud and believe automatically. Like Nathanael, some of them will be initially incredulous and sceptical. Don’t be discouraged when your invitees have low expectations of church initially. Many prospective believers have biases and prejudices that can block their receptivity to the Gospel. But don’t let that discourage you. Just let them “come and see” Jesus. Don’t argue with them over their opinions. Don’t be distracted. Just bring them to Jesus. Like a good salesman, don’t take their initial resistance personally. Let the Holy Spirit do His work in their hearts and minds. Then their initial negativity will not matter.
Of course, it’s true that there was nothing obviously special about the town of Nazareth itself. But that’s precisely the point. You see, God loves to bring great value out of nothing. It’s a small matter for the One who created the universe ex nihilo to bring out His indescribable gift out of the most despised place. Indeed, the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.
Moreover, Nazareth represents everyone of us whom the world dismisses or despises. If the Son of God had hailed from an amazing place, then credit would have gone to the place not to the Lord. Instead, God specialises in producing quality out of unlikely places. He qualifies the unworthy and raises the poor from the ash heap. He can reshape your life into something beautiful. He can transform a nobody into a somebody. He creates greatness out of obscurity, light out of darkness and hope out of despair.
God drew Moses from the backs of the beyond to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. He raised Joseph from prison to lead the nation out of an economic crisis. He catapulted forgotten David from the bush to deliver Israel from the Philistines. God propelled the orphaned alien Esther to the palace to save the Jews from genocide. Regardless of the anonymity of your background, God is making something significant of your life. Just trust Him. That’s the Gospel.
Pastor Josh