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Prejudice and Its Cure (11 of 23)
Series: The Hope of the Gospel
You remember the story. Philip had found the Messiah, or rather the Messiah had found Philip. And then Philip, with this new joy in his heart, had set off to find his friend Nathanael that he might communicate the good news to him. He burst upon him as he meditated beneath the fig tree, and without a word of introduction blurted out the glad tidings. 'We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.' But instead of receiving the news with joy, Nathanael shrugged his shoulders and smiled incredulously at his friend. That word 'Nazareth' staggered him. Nazareth! Who had ever heard of Nazareth, that poor despised village, being associated with the Messiah? Moses, in the law, and the prophets had written of the Messiah, but never once had the name of Nazareth been mentioned! Philip had evidently been deceived, and so Nathanael answered Philip's ecstatic outburst with the sad and incredulous question of my text: 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' And when I read that incredulous question of Nathanael's, I feel that had it not been for his open and candid mind, instead of being one of Christ's chosen twelve, he might very easily have become one of that blind and unbelieving crowd who hounded Christ to His doom and nailed Him to the tree.
For what lies aback of Nathanael's incredulous question? Nathanael's prejudices. Nathanael had his own preconceived notions of what the Messiah was to be like and where He was to hail from. He was a great student of Scripture, but He had studied it, shall I say, through the spectacles of the rabbis. Nathanael was looking for the Messiah; he was one of those who were 'waiting and watching for the consolation of Israel'; but the Messiah he looked for was not the Suffering Servant of the fifty-third of Isaiah. He was not the Man of Sorrows and acquainte ...
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