“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. John 1:46

By today’s standards it was nothing more than a wide spot in the road. It wouldn’t even have merited a “Speed Reduced Ahead” sign. No tourist attractions or antique malls here. Most likely, were you to drive through at night, you wouldn’t even have realized you just drove through a town! That was Nazareth.

It’s no wonder then that Nathanael asked if there were anything good that could come from that place. It was barely a blimp on a GPS! But don’t be too hard on Nathanael. We do the same thing today. We ask, and sometimes not so graciously,

  • Can anything good come from him/her? He/she is divorced you know.
  • He’s a [insert your least liked political party here] you know. And you know what ‘they’ are like!
  • They go to that church down the street. They can’t be good Christians and go there. Everyone knows that.
  • Why, he can’t even speak the language. What good can he be?
  • Humph. Don’t tell me they are Christians. They are living together you know.
  • They teach at that ‘liberal’ school. They can’t be good Christians and teach there? Can they?
  • Once an addict, always an addict. You can’t trust them. Can you?
  • You know they did [insert the sin you think is most horrific here]. They can’t be used in any spiritual leadership position now. Can they?

And the list goes on and on. You know it does. You’ve heard the lines yourself. Maybe you’ve even said them on occasion. But Jesus has an answer for each question and the answer is yes. Yes the person struggling with sin, tainted by divorce, victims of abuse or addictions, haunted by the past can be used mightily by God. Good can come from anything and anyone if Jesus has come into their lives. He can forgive the ugliest of sins, repair the most damaged heart, and cleanse the dirtiest conscience. All you have to do to answer the questions above is to look at the nail pierced hand and the scar in his side to know that.

Philip didn’t bother to argue with Nathanael. He simply said ‘come and see’. And so it is with each of us. Before we make judgments about if or how or when Jesus can use damaged people we need only come and see! There is nothing we can do in our lives to be disqualified from Jesus’ forgiveness.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that far too often I judge others on external things and not the heart. I label people by race, religion or political persuasion. I question how you can use people who have done such horrific things to others. Then I look at me and realize that it’s only by your grace I am where I am. Forgive me for not accepting others as you do. Empower me to be more patient and accepting of those who are different than me. In Jesus name, Amen.