There have been many times in my life when I’ve been incredulous, especially about the skills of someone I know. Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a bit of a jerk. But, every now and then, I find myself saying: “Really? Can anything good possibly come out of this person/thing/event?” When Philip tells his buddy Nathanael about Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth, Nathanael’s response is similar to mine.
|Hebert Translation||Nestle-Aland 27|
|Nathanael said to him: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him: “Come and see.”||καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι; λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Φίλιππος· ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε.|
When Nathanael expresses his incredulity, Philip asks him to come and check it out for himself. This is all very normal isn’t it? Someone says something that we aren’t quite sure about, and the natural response is “see for yourself.”
Here’s my problem: How do I check out God for myself?
For Nathanael it was quite easy. Jesus was walking around in the flesh and all he had to do was follow Philip and go see this man. In the 21st century we don’t have that luxury. Jesus is not walking around the Greater Houston area (or the Greater ______ area for that matter).
I believe that the above question would be answered differently by just about every person. Some will see the love of Christ in others and recognize it as the genuine love of God. Others will be convinced by the literature they read (the Bible was a large part of my own journey). Still others will be struck off their horses on the way to Damascus!
The reality is that God works in more ways than we can imagine, and salvation is his. As human beings, our job is to be open to possibilities. More than anything, that’s what I pray for: that I’ll be open to whatever comes. I don’t mean that I should be fickle and easily blown by the wind. Rather, I mean that I should be open to the breath of inspiration that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
As a non-Christian, it was openness to ideas beyond the realm of the easily explained that I think was instrumental in my coming to Christ.
The question, then, is not “How do I check it out for myself?” The question is:
“Am I open to being checked out?”