Reading: John 1:43-51
Reflection: Today’s reading from the Gospel of John shows how easily bigotry can influence our attitudes and behavior. One of Jesus’ first disciples, Philip – who was always inviting people to meet Jesus – tells his friend, Nathaniel, about the Messiah. But Nathaniel is skeptical at first for one simple reason – Jesus comes from Nazareth. His response seems to indicate that Nazareth was one of those places that was often derided in jokes and proverbs. No one believed that anything good could come out of Nazareth. Yet, in typically surprising form, it is this rejected town that God chooses as the home for the Messiah. Somehow Philip got Nathaniel to meet Jesus in spite of his reluctance, and when he did, it took only one short conversation to change his mind.
Notice, that even though Jesus may have sensed Nathaniel’s antagonism, he didn’t respond in kind. Instead, he saw to Nathaniel’s heart, and praised him as a “genuine son of Israel – a man of complete integrity”. This willingness to look beyond the stereotypes and first impressions got through to Nathaniel and opened him to Jesus’ promise that he would see God’s glory revealed in Jesus (which is what the image of the angels and the stairway mean).
When people are unkind to you, how do you respond? What can you learn from Jesus’ response here? And what can you learn about seeing past stereotypes to the heart of other people?
Practice for Today: Some people may say, “My attitude to you will be based on how you treat me.” But this is not Jesus’ way. Jesus did not allow the behavior of others – no matter how bad – to stop him loving them. So, perhaps our attitude to others should be based more on Jesus’ love for them and us, than on how they treat us. Try to serve and love everyone you meet today, like Jesus would.
Prayer for Today: As you have loved and served me, Jesus, so I choose to love and serve others.
Communion with God