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Saturday, January 15, 2011

1/16/11 John 1:43-46 Come and See vs. Prejudice

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

("The Last Judgment"- Michelangelo 1535-41- Batholomew (Nathanael) holding a skinning knife and his own skin indicating the kind of death he died in Armenia)

Thoughts: Nathanael was from Cana in Galilee (John 21:2) where Jesus turned the water into wine at a wedding.  Philip, Andrew, and Peter were from Bethsaida.  Today Bethsaida is ruins as prophesied by Jesus, Cana has a population of 8,500, and Nazareth has a population of over 64,000.  Nathanael had his own prejudices against people from Nazareth.  The good thing is that when Philip told Nathanael to "come and see", Nathanael went.  Nathanael listened to Philip's invitation and refused to stay in his prejudice.  On Martin Luther King weekend, perhaps this is a good occassion to investigate instead of staying stuck believing the labels.   Prejudice is a sin that almost kept Nathanael from coming to Jesus himself.  We need to be like Philip inviting people away from their prejudice against Christ and others and into love for neighbor and God. 

Prayer: Help me, O Lord to come and see.  Help me to invite others to come and see as well. 

John Calvin Abridged: The calling of all of us is illustrated by this calling of Jesus.  The external preaching or call of the Word is not effectual in and of itself.  For some hear it and do not respond, and are only rendered without an excuse.  We need to pray that Christ will display the same power in us.  Bethsaida is mentioned on purpose as the place Jesus cursed (Mt. 11:21; Lk. 10:13).  When Christ draws us, it is as if he draws us from hell itself no matter where we are from.  Philip was not completely accurate about Christ for he was not in the ultimate sense from Joseph or from Nazareth, yet God used his sincerity to bring Nathanael.  There are many educated and eloquent people who do not make Christ known faithfully as Philip.  We also can learn not to treat with disdain those who in their ignorance reject Christ.  Nathanael almost did not come to Christ because of Philip's mis-statement about Jesus' orign in Nazareth and because of his preconceived notion.  Satan is continually looking for lies that would keep us from Christ. Philip invited him to come and see, not trying to argue- but fostering inquiry. 

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