What's Inside

The theological ramblings of a simple man.


Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.

Dean Koontz

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

Love God, Love others...
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Friday, April 16, 2010
Just wait until you meet him
Step into my time machine. It’s November 1st 2012. The presidential elections are a few days away, and your best friend approaches you with some exciting news.

“I’ve just met the next President of the United States,” he tells you.
“You met Obama?” You ask.
“Sarah Palin?”

Confusion hits you like a punch from Mike Tyson (before he went crazy). You friend sees the question inside your eyes and offers an explanation.

“You have to meet this guy. He has a plan to ensure every child receives quality education, improve foreign relations, offer basic health care to every American, eliminate our national debt, lower unemployment, and reduce taxes.”
“Who is he?” You ask. It sounds too good to be true.
“This guy from Athol.”
“Athol?” It can’t be right. “You met some stranger from Athol and you think he’s going to be President?”
You friend nods his head. “I do.”
“Is his name on the ballot?”
“Any political experience? Is he the mayor? A senator? Is he in the state legislature?
“No, none.”
“A volunteer fireman?”
“Where did you find him?”
“He works at the Cydco up there. Talked to him when I stopped to get some fuel.”
“He’s unelectable. How is he going to become the next President?”
Your friend smiles and answers, “Because everyone will vote for him. Just wait until you meet him.”

If you really had this conversation, you’d have your doubts. Your skeptical outlook would be justified. There is no logical way that a gas station employee from a podunk town with no experience in public service could be elected to the highest political office in America. It’s just not possible.

That’s probably what Nathanael was thinking when his friend Philip said, “I met the Messiah.” (John 1:44-45)

Jesus found Philip and offered him the opportunity to be one of his followers. Philip accepted, but there was something he had to take care of first. He had to tell his best friend. Nathanael needed to know.

“Nate – we found him. It’s the one we’ve read about. The person who is going to rule Israel and overthrow the Romans. He’s here now. And he’s offered to lead us into victory!”
“Really? Who is it?”
“This dude from Nazareth. Joe’s son Jesus.”

Just like you’d be unconvinced of the possibility of a nobody from a backwoods town becoming President, Nathanael had the same suspicions.

“Nazareth? Really? That podunk town? What good has ever come from there?” (John 1:46)

Nathanael had a good reason to doubt Philip’s story. Nazareth was a small town. They only had one synagogue. The good priests were in Bigger cities, so the education that Jesus would have received there probably was not the best. No experience, a carpenter’s son, and Philip is asking him to believe that this Rabbi from a town that most would rather avoid is really the Messiah. This stranger is the one the prophets and the book of law had predicted would save them? Inconceivable.

Philips answer? “Just wait until you meet him.” (John 1:46)

And that’s all it took. All Nathanael had to do was meet him. Jesus proved himself and surprised Nathanael. The real Jesus isn’t who Nathanael anticipated. God, on earth. And not what Nathanael expected to come from Nazareth.

God often isn’t who we expect him to be. Our understanding and expectations of God don’t always match. He’s full of wonder and surprises. But we sometimes have doubts.

If He’s really God, can’t He save Darfur? Could He tell me why my Grandpa has cancer? Is He going to help me win the lottery? Why did He create mosquitoes? Will He end poverty in America? Or the AIDS epidemic in Africa? Or human trafficking in South east Asia? Why doesn’t He eliminate those that deny His existence?

There’s no way that He could be who He says he is.

The answer? “Just wait until you meet him.”

Did Jesus explain away Nathanial’s doubts? Did he give off a long list of good things that have come from Nazareth? Did he say “look at what I can do” and perform a song and dance number? No.

When Nathanael met Jesus, Jesus said “I know you. I saw you before Philip found you.” (John 1:48)

That was enough. Nathanael might have still wondered how Jesus made it out of Nazareth. He might have still had questions about how Jesus was able to perform his miracles. But he believed that Jesus was the Messiah – just because Jesus knew him.

Doubts are natural. To question is to understand. But we may not get our questions answered.

We don’t believe in God because he’s our winning lottery ticket. We don’t believe in God because he fixed all of the problems in our lives or ended human suffering.

We believe because we are known.

When we come to God, he tells us, “I know you. I saw you in your back yard playing with your kids. I saw you visiting a loved one at the hospital. I saw you sitting in your office wondering how you were going to get enough money to buy a new car. I saw you in line at McDonalds ordering chicken nuggets with extra sweet & sour sauce. I saw you lying in bed questioning the choices you’ve made in life. I know you.”

We still have our reservations, our questions, our doubts and hurts. But we are known and loved.

Just wait until you meet him.
posted by nicholas casey @ 7:05 AM  
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