The winner of a sibling skirmish is declared when one convinces the others they are wrong. Back and forth they dispute, each declaration louder than the last. An onlooker would conclude the most deafening debater wins.
Unfortunately, I have to admit these juvenile arguments are modeled after adult examples. I like to be right! Too often I have to pull myself away from a quarrel and sheepishly apologize for trying to prove my point.
What about when someone’s life is at stake? Surely then I should prove I’m right. As Christians we’re charged with the Great Commission: to make disciples of all the nations. If someone doesn’t believe in Christ, eternity is worth fighting for. Recently, John 1:45-49 made me rethink my reason for fighting.
When Jesus invites Philip to follow Him, he doesn’t need any convincing. He’s ready to go. In fact, he wants to take someone along! Excitedly, Philip goes to Nathaniel to tell him the Good News. But Nathaniel is a hard sell.
“Can anything good come from [Nazareth]?” he scoffs.
|Nathaniel under the tree by J.J. Tissot|
But, Philip is cool. He doesn’t argue with Nathaniel. He simply says, “Come and see.”
A brilliant comeback really. Who can turn down a challenge?
At this point, if I were Philip I’d be looking forward to Jesus calling out Nathaniel for disrespecting Him and His hometown of Nazareth. But, I would have been disappointed.
When Jesus sees Nathaniel, He doesn’t condemn him for his judgmental attitude. He doesn’t criticize him for doubting. He has nothing negative to say at all. He looks at Nathaniel and compliments him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
When Nathaniel asks Jesus how He knew, Jesus answer convinces Nathaniel that He is the Christ. Just a compliment, a question and an answer. No argument.
I would have debated Nathaniel and perhaps prevented him from ever getting to Jesus. When I weighed my actions against Philip’s, I realized I wouldn’t have been fighting for Jesus’ honor at all; I would have been arguing to prove I was right about Jesus being the Son of God.
I get caught up in wanting to be right and forget that Jesus can stand on His own merits. My only responsibility is to tell others about Jesus and to show them Jesus’ love through my actions. It’s Jesus’ job to convince them of the Truth. What a relief!
Janey Goude and her husband of twenty years homeschool their four children, ranging from elementary school to high school. She enjoys exploring God’s open doors in writing, editing, and collaboration. Read her blog at Community Advance.
If you'd like WOW's devotions sent to your email every Sunday and one Wednesday a month, please subscribe below: