Archive for January 26th, 2007

You Look Right Through Me

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 1:43-51 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

We’re funny creatures. On the one hand, we long to be known – and loved for who we are. On the other hand, we work really hard to hide so much of ourselves – petrified that “if they knew the real me, they wouldn’t love me.”

Imagine if some wise soul could look right through you right now – in the flash of an instant know everything about you, good and bad. Picture yourself standing there awaiting the verdict. Imagine if that wise soul – after pondering for a second – were to say, “You are a really wonderful, special person.” Oh the relief! Oh the encouragement!

“But wait a minute!” we might think. “What about all the garbage inside of me?” And the wise soul might respond, “Yes, I’m aware of that, but beyond it, I see so much beauty and so much potential.”

This, in essence, is what Nathaniel experiences in today’s Scripture. When his friend Philip shares amazing things about Jesus, Nathaniel is dismissive and skeptical. He says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” You see, many Jews regarded Nazareth as a hillbilly town filled with “red necks.” So, in addition to being dismissive and skeptical, Nathaniel is also prejudiced — what we today would call a bigot.

Later in the story, when Nathaniel first enters the presence of Jesus, the dialogue is fascinating. As Nathaniel approaches, Jesus says, “Here comes an honest man — a true son of Israel” (New Living Translation). Nathaniel says, “We’ve never met before. How do you know me?” Jesus says, “I saw you sitting under the fig tree as Philip approached you.”

Talk about an “oh shoot!” moment. Nathaniel’s blood must have run cold.

In effect, Jesus was saying to Nathaniel, “I saw the whole thing — I saw how dismissive and skeptical you were when Philip told you about Me. I heard what you said about people from Nazareth.” Yikes! Jesus knew everything about Nathaniel — looked right through him.

Armed with this knowledge, as Nathaniel approached, Jesus could have said, “Here comes someone who is rude, skeptical, and bigoted — an embarrassment to Israel!” Instead, Jesus looked deeper, choosing to see the positive. “Here’s a man who is honest, who says what he thinks.”

We all stand before Jesus like Nathaniel. There’s no point in hiding. Jesus looks right through me and knows my faults. But He’s willing to say, “I’m looking past the yuck to all the beauty that lies deeper. Come, follow Me! I want to help you reach your full potential as a child of God.”

Thought for the day: Stop hiding. Stop fretting. Jesus has looked right through you and knows everything. He likes what He sees; He wants you!

Today, let’s join together in prayer, asking: God, what do you see when you look into me? Help me know that you want me. Help me to follow You.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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