Read John 1:43-51.
TEXT: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth? ..." (John 1:46a).
As we near the end of John's first chapter, Jesus is gathering His twelve disciples. Even here we see the battle rage between light and darkness-in this case it's the darkness of a preconceived notion. Before he ever met Jesus, Nathanael arrogantly asks, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
That's what the darkness in us does. We sit as judge of everyone and everything around us, jumping to conclusions about people without knowing their whole story. And it's just too bad for the person who doesn't fit into our nice neat categories-whether it's that nerdy kid at school who doesn't dress like we do or that estranged family member, quirky neighbor or congregation full of hypocrites. We even do the same with God. We judge His holiness and faithfulness by the circumstances of our lives. We don't give God the right to be God.
Philip is wise. He doesn't try to argue away Nathanael's prejudice. He gives his friend a simple invitation: "Come and see." He is confident Jesus will shatter Nathanael's false judgment, and Jesus doesn't disappoint him.
Lent is the time to humble ourselves and to come to Jesus and admit our rash judgments. Jesus does something we would never expect: He shines His grace, power and love as He suffers from the darkness of human rejection, flogging and a cross. Yet in that brutality, suffering and death Jesus won our salvation. He gathers us together in congregations around His Word and Sacraments to shatter our preconceived notions and empower us to accept one another and work together to show His love to all those around us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive me for judging by appearances. Open my heart to see You as You are and to share Your Name everywhere I go. Amen.
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