Scripture: John 1:43-51
Key verses: (43-46) The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Reflection: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? We know the answer is, yes! Jesus came from Nazareth and transforms our lives through his birth. Knowing the end of the story makes the question seem irrelevant. Why did Nathanael ask this rhetorical question?
Take a look at the humble beginnings of Jesus. Born in a dirty stable to poor parents, he was one of the least of these. Jesus is not from the center of power. Good things were not supposed to come from Nazareth or all of that. God had other plans.
This weekend we celebrate the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who also said good news was coming from the poor. He and other leaders began planning a Poor People’s Campaign where the poor from across the nation and across racial and ethnic lines would come together in Washington, D.C. to proclaim to the nation that our world was not in order. Racism persisted despite the civil rights legislation and change was needed. King had come to see that it was the poor themselves who would be called to be the leadership of this movement, and he began pulling together leaders from poor whites, poor blacks, poor Native Americans and poor Mexican Americans and poor Puerto Rican Americans. They were already working for changes in regards to housing rights, living wage rights, land rights, treaty rights, welfare rights, voting rights and education rights but each in their own community. Coming together, they would be good news not only for themselves but for the whole nation and world.
We don’t hear much about the Poor People’s Campaign because King was assassinated before the march on Washington and work could be done. Maybe we don’t hear about it because it’s hard to imagine that good would come from the poor. MLK knew God and knew that in God’s time, in God’s kingdom, good news comes from the margins.
Good news still comes from where we least expect it. God does not think that some people are more worthy than others. Look to the stable for confirmation that God knows good news comes from even the most unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Let us hear God’s call to work together, where all persons are valued and there is no longer room for poverty, racism, food insecurity or a living wage. Our God comes to us in unexpected ways.
Prayer: God, open our eyes and ears to unexpected leaders working for justice and peace. Open our eyes to your presence. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].