Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

By Jessica Brodie

These are trying times, to say the least. Our lives are upended, routines are off and many of the plans we thought we had a month ago are now completely and irrevocably gone. Some of us have lost our jobs, our security, our prospects, our health.

And yet still: God is good. All the time.

Even now. Especially now.

Yes, even as the spread of the coronavirus worsens, whole states go on shelter-in-place lockdowns, food becomes scarce as grocery stores are scavenged, and the economy takes a nosedive, God is still incredibly, blessedly, awesomely good.

Take a look at the article on Page 1 (“The Church is the People”) and see what South Carolina United Methodists are doing to help each other.

Or think about the ways people suddenly have “time” to read the Bible, pray, spend time with their families, serve others by running errands or lending sugar, flour (or toilet paper!) to their neighbors. Think about how many caught up in hopelessness or busyness are now seeking God in the midst of the proverbial storm.

It reminds me of Nathanael’s question in John 1:46, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (ESV).

As we might know, back in the days Jesus walked the earth, Nazareth was a nothing sort of town, small and far from any major cities. Nothing exciting happened there, no one famous hailed from there—the kind of place people refer to today as “nowheresland” or “bumpkinville.” Philip, however, had recently become a follower of Jesus, and with all the excitement of a new recruit, gushed about the man to his friend Nathanael.

“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph,” Philip said in John 1:45 (can’t you just hear his excitement?).

Nathanael’s sarcastic retort says it all. Nazareth? No way. That’s a joke. You’re pulling my leg.

But Philip persisted: “Come and see” (1:46).

Nathanael did come—and he did see. And he too, became a follower of Jesus.

The answer, as we know, was an unequivocal yes: Something good can indeed come out of Nazareth.

Just like something good can come—and is, in fact, already coming—out of the coronavirus. There is beauty, there is God, there is love, even in the hardship.

For as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (ESV).

Be heartened, friends, and do your part right now to help God’s glory shine through you, through His church and throughout the world. God bless you!

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