Phillip calls Nathanael to come and meet the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael replies, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
We don’t see the look on Nathanael’s face or where his eyes focused, nor do we hear his tone of voice, so we can only speculate about his meaning. For sure, there was a small note of disrespect for Nazareth and a touch of disbelief that Jesus could possibly be the Messiah. But beyond skepticism, there might have been hooting derision or dumbfounded amazement at such nonsense.
Isn’t that what we often hear today from others when we talk about our faith, our love of God, our acceptance of Jesus as our Saviour and their impact on our thinking, feelings and behaviour? “What? You go to church? What’s the matter with you?”
How do you respond to ignorance, disbelief or derision? I like Phillip’s response: “Come and see.” His response is an invitation. He’s not embarrassed or defensive, nor does he back down. He issues a simple invitation to Nathanael to join him and see for himself.
I can do that. You can do that. Maybe we could start today?
God of welcome and warmth, give us opportunity and courage to invite people to meet you, to speak to them easily and genuinely about your extravagant love, your generous forgiveness, and your unfailing attentiveness to us. Amen. — SB