And Nathaniel said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip (Nathaniel’s brother) said to him, “Come and see." - John 1:46
I read this scripture in my devotional time this morning…and it just floored me. There are several things that I walked away with, that caused me to reflect on the whole of scripture and it’s relation to our lives today.
The first is that we often dismiss or forget about God’s ability to perform miracles and His ability to redeem. I’ve never been, but from my understanding, Bethlehem/Nazareth hasn’t changed much over 2000 years. It’s a region without much prosperity, technological advancement, or social progression. Nathan asks the question because he forgot.
Nathans question forgets that David, came from Bethlehem. He forgot that God promised to redeem all of Israel through David’s bloodline. He, like most of the region at the time would have dismissed any claims that a prophet had come out of Bethlehem because in recent history nothing of any importance had come from Bethlehem. But God has a great sense of redeeming humor, he likes surprises, and he likes to go against our expectations. He keeps His promises. At the time it would have probably been easier for Nathan to believe that a prophet or king had come from Jerusalem than from Bethlehem.
The second point is that Philip doesn’t provide an elaborate explanation of Jesus to convince his brother that indeed something good has come from Bethlehem. Rather Philip just offers up a simple invitation echoed throughout scripture: “Come and See”.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, but and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost." – Isaiah 55:1
It’s the looming invitation that’s always there, come see that the Lord is good, He is who He says that He is...not who we think or say He is.
This one little verse caused me to ask myself, when was the last time I dismissed someone because of where they were from, their education, their socio-economic status, or their social awkwardness. Would I dismiss Jesus today because he wasn’t from the city, had a Harvard education, and made six-figures? What list of credentials have I constructed before I hear someone...anyone out?
And the other question, I found myself asking was how often do I try to explain away scripture and theology…or get into an argument when I really should just simply say, “Come and see.”