No prophet arises from Galilee. 

That sure seems like an open-and-shut statement! The Pharisees were certain: the Messiah would be a descendant of David and would come from Bethlehem. It was impossible that he could arise from Galilee—that place where the northern tribes of Israel had been destroyed and where those who remained had blended in with the Gentiles. Jesus was ruled out simply based on where they thought he came from.

But Nicodemus had a point when he objected to this line of reasoning: “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” (John 7:51). Instead of relying on past experience and limited knowledge, isn’t it better to look into the current situation and make conclusions accordingly? Yes, Jesus was from Galilee, but he healed the sick, drove out demons, and raised the dead. He spoke with the authority of God himself. Surely that said more about him than his obscure origins.

It’s not too much of a stretch to see how this type of reasoning can creep into our minds even today. We may fall into the trap of thinking that we know someone based on their level of education or job, their hometown or background, or even where—or whether—they go to church. If you’ve ever made those kinds of judgments, now is probably a good time to take a deeper look at your thoughts.

When you hear yourself making the kind of open-and-shut statements about someone that the Pharisees made in today’s Gospel (John 7:40-53), it would be wise to pause and follow Nicodemus’ example. Before rushing in, look again, more deeply, at the person in front of you. Let God show you how he views them. He sees someone made in his own image and likeness. He wants nothing more than for them to know him as their Father. Taking the time to look deeper will also give you the chance to see Jesus in them. And that can make all the difference.

“Jesus, help me to see you in all the people I meet today. Teach me to love, even when it’s hard.”

Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 7:2-3, 9-12
John 7:40-53


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