“And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
John 1:46 KJV
This passage is pretty popular. During this time in the Bible, God was beginning to collect his disciples or tell them to “follow Him.” As John proclaimed to those that Jesus was in fact the “Lamb of God,” Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother didn’t hesitate to follow Jesus and went to retrieve Peter as well. As Jesus entered the region of Galilee, He also retrieved Phillip who then goes to find Nathanael. Phillip tells Nathanael we have found the one “Moses wrote about in the law.” He stated we found the one the prophets spoke about, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nathanael responded with, “Can there any good thing come from Nazareth?”
When I read this passage this morning it wasn’t the first time I read it. But it was the first time God stopped me dead in my tracks at that very spot. I was reading the entire Chapter of John 1, which I have read plenty of times, but never has God spoke to me like he did this morning.
God spoke to my spirit loud and clear:
People will always doubt “who you are in God.” People will always first associate you with the “bad things” that are or sin that have been connected to you in your life.
Let me preface that with “people will always doubt who you are in God.” Too many times when we decide to submit our life and our will to God, when we decide to get “saved,” the enemy is right there with the first rock in the road in our path. People wonder what good can come from your “sin” or “your old life.” And because the enemy is the Accuser of the brethren the first thing he’s going to do is “accuse you” of not being who you say you are in God. With all the wrong representatives of Christ, people almost always initially have a sour taste in their mouth when you speak about God.
People are so laser focused on any bad things associated with your past, your name/family and where you grew up or live now, or the sin you were once known for, they forget that God can use anyone. That’s one amazing and sovereign thing about God, He can and will use ANYONE.
Phillip’s response was quite simple and perfect. “Come and see.”
Too often we desire to give someone a 100 reasons why we aren’t who we used to be. Too often we want to post on social media so we can show the world how we have changed. Too often we want to “speak” on how since we begin following Christ our life has changed. And all of that is good, but the most impactful testament of how great God is in your life, is your life. It’s your life on display to see how much God has changed you.
Later in the passage, Nathanael goes to Jesus and asks Him if, He knows who Nathanael is. As he is the Messiah and he should know who he is. Jesus responds by telling Nathanael where he was before Phillips came to retrieve him. He told him he was sitting under a fig tree. At that very moment, Nathanael knew He was Jesus of Nazareth, the one Moses wrote about and the one the prophets spoke about.
So the answer is yes, any good thing can come from Nazareth, as Jesus did.
In a world that often rushes to judgment, this passage calls us to pause, reflect, and approach life with an open heart. Let’s remember that greatness can spring forth from the most unlikely sources, and greatness always comes from God. It’s our willingness to “come and see” that might just lead us to extraordinary and life-changing experiences.
So, as we journey through life, let us be open to the possibility of finding goodness where we least expect it.
And yes, any good thing can come from where you came from once you are “in God” because God is sovereign and He can use anyone and anything He desires to perform His will.