What Good Will Come?

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:46 NIV

I just love this line from the calling of the first disciples.

Jesus has found His first two disciples and then calls Philip, who wants to follow Him. Philip goes off to find who we assume is his friend Nathanael, saying he has found the Messiah, Jesus from Nazareth. Nathanael scoffs, “Nazareth, what good can come from there!” However, Philip urges him to come and see, and when he meets Jesus, he speaks kindly to Nathanael. “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”

Taken aback by this seeming knowledge of his character,   Nathanael asks how Jesus knows him. Jesus tells him that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip called him, and Nathanael instantly knows no one could have seen him there, believes Jesus and follows Him.

We don’t know what Philip was doing–praying desperate prayers, questioning his faith or something else. However, hearing Jesus’ voice turns him from scoffing about the man from Nazareth to following Him.

What good can come out of Nazareth? It felt like nothing ever would, but God took this little insignificant town and brought us Jesus from there. And He takes things in our world and brings good out of them. That’s what redemption is.

What good might come out of COVID-19? Who knows? Yet it will. In the meantime, Jesus hears our fervent prayer and our desperation under the fig tree. One day He will use our prayers, work and tears in these days for great glory. We will ask, “Lord, how did You know to get us here?” And He will reply, “I saw you under the fig tree.”

The Rev. Jane P. Ferguson
Assistant for Liturgy, Outreach and Student Ministries