S-Hole nations have to go!
John 1:43-51 Nathanael has a lot to teach us! He’s the guy who says, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” He only appears, almost as a disciple, in the Gospel of John. Nathanael is encouraged to check Jesus out, by his friend Philip, who say to him, “Come and see”.
Unfortunately we all have prejudices. Nathanael’s was his lack of belief that anything worth value could come out of Nazareth. If I had to update that prejudice, it would sound like this, “can any good come from Haiti or Africa, or Mexico for that matter.” We all have prejudices! Nathanael is our model for overcoming them.
- Nathanael has the mind of a student. Inquisitive, curious. Jesus says I saw you under the “Fig Tree” which was a place of learning. It was a place that Rabbis taught. When Nathanael sees Jesus, he calls him “Rabbi”, which is Hebrew for the word, teacher. Nathanael is a student, a student of scripture.
- Checking things out for yourself. We all have to be careful of the opinion of others, especially when those opinions are negative and harmful. Instead check out preconceived notions for yourself. As scripture teaches us, Knock and the door will be open, seek and you will find…these are action oriented descriptions of initiation. Be proactive, don’t believe rumors, or opinions, but search for yourself.
- Allow scripture to open you up to other realities. Allow scripture, the word of God to speak to your heart! Nathanael knew that Nazareth is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, NEVER, but he also knew God works in unexpected places, at unexpected times, in unexpected people. Just read the story of Jonah! Nathanael knew his scripture and that allowed him to check out his preconceived notions. We can do likewise, and grow hearts of Christ in the process.
- Finally, Nathanael meets Jesus physically. That would be very convincing. We don’t have that option, but we can meet him spiritually, through our scripture, through loving acts of kindness, in worship, as well as through others. The Gospel of John wants to make that claim. It ends, John 20:29, Jesus says to Doubting Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me…Blessed are those who do not see me yet have come to believe! How our eyes can be opened when in our journey of Faith we come to “see” Jesus.
Take Nathanael as a model of overcoming your prejudices, I use the plural, because I know I have many. Jesus promised Nathanael, in overcoming his prejudice about Nazareth, “You will see greater things than these” John 1:50. But first, MY S-HOLE PREJUDICES HAVE TO GO! Allow a healthy, life giving relationship with Jesus to open your eyes!