The Danger Of Generalizations

Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” John 1:45-46

God made us to learn wisdom from making conclusions based on solid facts. But limited facts can lead to unfounded generalizations. If I fall three out of five times when climbing a ladder, I might conclude that climbing a ladder is dangerous. (Not always.)  If every snake I’ve ever encountered has been a garden snake, I might conclude that all snakes are friendly. (Not true.)  Sometimes our conclusions are flawed, especially when we make them about people and people groups.  If I meet several members of one family and they are all rude, I shouldn’t conclude that the rest of them are contentious.  

I’m from upstate New York by birth but for the past twenty years, we’ve made our home near Atlanta, Georgia.  We love it here and will probably spend the rest of our lives here unless God has other plans. While living here however, I’ve heard countless generalizations that northerners are rude.  Why?  Generalizations were made from a handful of unfortunate encounters and all northerners have been cast in a poor light.  I can assure you that the New England people are warm and caring.  I grew up there – in a town of a thousand people. 

Nathanael spoke disparagingly of Nazareth, not believing that any good man, much less the Messiah, could come from such a place.  

Galilee was a despised region in the eyes of the more polished Palestinians of the South. The Galileans were accused of being rude, illiterate, and devoid of culture. Their pronunciation was said to be so thick that it led constantly to mortifying blunders, as when one could not tell from the word used whether a Galilean peasant had come to the market for an ass (khamor), wine (khemer), sheepskin (immer), or wool (‘immar). It was not to Galilee that the Judaean would naturally have looked for a great theological teacher.                                                                                 S.S. Times Biblical Illustrator

Why would God give Jesus a childhood in this disrespected setting?  Why set him back with the people of Palestine?  All the reasons are not known but this I do know ~ God looks with favor upon the humble and, more often than not, chooses this person for His most important work.  God chose a nation of slaves to be His family, not those from great pedigree.  God called the forgotten son of Jesse to be Israel’s greatest king.  God chooses the low and despised, the forgotten, the unqualified.  And from this place called Nazareth, a place that earned such little respect, came our Teacher, the very Son of God.  Can anything good from Nazareth?  Yes.  Our King of Kings.

Forgive me when I disqualify myself from Your favor based on self-evaluation. I forget who it is that loves me and called me out of obscurity.  Thank you.  Amen 

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