COME AND SEE!
Nathanael’s response to Philip’s excitement and joy of having found the Messiah is very powerful and penetrating. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. (John 1:46). Though it was cold it was the language of simple honesty, but it must also be quickly pointed out that he was also simply, honestly wrong. It was sincere, straightforward, open and frank but it was also negative, tainted with despair and prejudiced. It is starkly contrasted with Philip’s sense of joy and feeling of euphoria. Finding Christ changes one’s outlook altogether. The gospel and the message of the gospel is an invitation to joy and celebration, even in these expressively trying times of Covid-19. We the people of God still see the message that we vigorously proclaim as an invitation to joy and celebration. Like Phillip, we deliberately find others and declare with excitement to them “. . . We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (v45). Today it’s really still all about “Him.”
Admittedly, Nathanael was influenced to make his assumptions of Nazareth based on its history, its prevailing conditions, the information he had received and the limited knowledge that he had. He had such a bias and prejudice against Nazareth that he labeled and stereotyped the whole place disreputable and anybody associated with Nazareth did not stand a fighting chance where he was concerned. Nevertheless, he was so wrong! He only saw and heard the past and the negatives and based on his limited and narrow-minded analysis made his erroneous assessment and conclusions. Somehow it escaped Nathanael that the God of Israel, the God of history, has a history of using little things and little people and weak things and base things and insignificant people to confound the wise and to bring to nought the things that are (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Scriptures affirm that more often than not, God chooses to use the most unlikely people, instruments, places, and things to display His glory and reveal His power. Many times the people that we overlook and tend to despise, the marginalized, the disempowered and the disenfranchised are the ones He tends to use mightily and elevate. Little did Nathanael know that there were some clean-living, righteous, God-fearing people in the city of Nazareth – that there were “godly” virgins in Nazareth like Mary, and “just” men like Joseph (Luke 1:21). Yes, God has people everywhere! Let us not be so quick to write off and discount others. Out of corrupt, rotten Nazareth, came Mary and Joseph and ultimately the Messiah.
Philip did not argue with Nathanael he just calmly said “Come and See!” He only desires that we invite people to Him, even when they contradict us with their doubt, negativity, and skepticism. Like Philip, we invite others to experience the joy of discovering the Messiah. Nathanael came and saw for himself – declaring “. . . Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49). The gospel is an invitation to joy and celebration. Let’s continue sharing the explosive joy of finding and having Jesus in spite of Covid-19! Come and See!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Presiding Bishop – Northeast Region
July 25, 2020
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional, Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region