By Joel A. Hess –
“Nazareth! Is it possible for anything good to come from there?” (John 1:43-51). Nathaniel wasn’t mocking the idea. He truly never thought of Nazareth as a place of any significance. He quickly surveyed his memorization of Messianic quotes and came up with a blank. It wasn’t the tiniest of towns. It certainly wasn’t the worst. It was like vegetable lasagna or the Dave Matthews Band. Blah. Nothing.
Some say Trump said something even worse last week. Something along the lines of “S&^%hole countries.” Everyone has chastised him by now. And if he said it, then rightfully so. But let us not be so higher than thou. We all think like that in one way or the other. Little imagination. We shake our heads when we see “that” family at the grocery store. Mom’s in an out of the welfare office. Kids look like they are trying out for Les Miserable. What good can come from that? Or the purple-haired, atheist recluse. Or the cheerleader who is rumored to have slept with whole football team. What good can come from that? We all do it, don’t we?
And by the way, a country that pushes kids to damage their bodies and forces young girls to have abortion shouldn’t go around thinking it’s not a “you know what” sort of country.
If there is anyone who should be prejudiced, it’s God! As He looks at this whole mess, the whole lot of us, He should surely conclude that nothing good can come out of us. He would be right. Since Eve stole His fruit and the first couple flipped off their maker, we have left a trail of tears, death, divorce, war, debauchery, and destruction. John tells us,
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 1:24-25).
What good can come out of…? Well, that’s kind of God’s specialty. He loves making something out of nothing! A Savior from a manger. Diamonds out of rubble. Saints out of sinners. Salvation out of a dead bleeding man on a cross!
He created everything out of nothing. He promised a son to a barren woman and an old man. He rescued Israel from slavery. A virgin bore a son—more than that, God!
Jesus tells Nathaniel that he hasn’t seen nothing yet! Indeed, Nathaniel would see something he never would have imagined! As he stood beneath the cross and watched the miracle worker die! He must have asked what good could possibly come out of this.
Forgiveness, rescue, hope, life.
We are all born DOA, bound to hate and kill, with a family name that doesn’t have a very good reputation. We are a poor miserable lot whether we are from Haiti or Norway.
Yet amazingly, not because of fairness or some command from the courts, God chooses us, forgives us, and fills us with His Spirit! We were nothing, beggars, as Luther said, freely fed by His Son, with His Son.
Like the son in Jesus’ parable who was living in a S&^%hole country, wishing he could eat the slop that he was feeding the pigs, the Father welcomes sinners scared s$#&less worn down, poor and completely helpless.
So don’t be afraid if you don’t think you have the pedigree worthy of dining with the King or sitting in a pew. None of us do. Government has the right to reject you, and maybe it should! Yet Christ’s Church opens her arms to you. His meal is for you. His salvation is for you! The Son’s inheritance is for you. Repent and believe the Good News.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” I Corinthians 1:26-31.