Devotional for the week of January 17th, 2021
At one of his life’s worst intersections, when legs trembled and steps were mired in bogs of doubt, his companion looked into the man’s hollowing eyes and said, “I believe in you. I know you.” Have you ever needed such a word?
The list is painfully long that names all of the circumstances and places from which it is assumed nothing good can come. Perhaps you have compiled your own catalog of those who fall short, the irredeemable neighborhoods, or the situations beyond hope in the life of others. Perhaps you find yourself on someone else’s list, among those whose life and plight has been dismissed as “nothing good.” So it was thought of Jesus, whose life was rooted in the hillside soil of a sidetracked town—Nazareth—where nothing remarkable, not much at all, was expected to grow up. That town and its people were on the “unfavorable” list.
It is a riddle of scripture that the likes of Philip (or Peter, John, James, and Andrew—those gospel familiars) would, seemingly without discernment or a second thought, leave everything when Jesus interrupted his settled life and bid him, “Follow me.” For Nathanael, it was different. He took an honest and reasonable step back. He knew all the talk about nothing good coming from Nazareth.
So many of our stories wither and so much of who we are dies when we are confronted with the “I know about you” list of painful failures instead of a loving, hopeful invitation to “come and see” (John 1:46).
There is a mighty mercy, an opening of heaven itself before our very eyes, a retelling of each “Nazareth” in our lives if we dare to “come and see” Jesus. Then that painful, long, imposed or self-inflicted list is no longer our truth because we, in seeing Jesus, begin to see ourselves and others as Jesus does. An epiphany happens: “I believe in you.”
Devotional message and art based on the readings for January 17th, reprinted from sundaysandseasons.com.
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