John 1:45-46 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
Have you noticed how powerfully we can be affected by our perception of things? If we perceive something to be good or positive we respond differently that if we view it negatively – particularly if it involves us. Our perception becomes our reality which is fine and good provided that it is accurate. All too often we can find ourselves responding inappropriately because we are missing pieces of vital information that could radically change how we view something .
I am reminded of a story from the great tsunami in 2004. In many places, people on beaches in that region were fascinated by what they were seeing. The shoreline was receding accompanied by frothing bubbles. If I had been there, I can see myself standing with others discussing this curiosity that was unfolding before us – unaware that it was the precursor of something incredibly deadly.
Tilly Smith is a British girl who, at age 10, was credited with saving nearly a hundred foreign tourists at Maikhao Beach (Thailand) by raising the alarm minutes before the arrival of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
She learned about tsunamis in a geography lesson two weeks before the tsunami. She recognized the receding shoreline and frothing bubbles on the surface of the sea and alerted her parents, who warned others on the beach and the staff at the hotel on Phuket where they were staying. The beach was evacuated before the tsunami reached shore, and was one of the few beaches on the island with no reported casualties.
Fortunately, Tilly was believed and lives were saved. Credible information received changed something from a curiosity to a serious reality that required an immediate response. It wasn’t dismissed because it came from a 10 year old girl. In today’s verses, we have the well known retort of Nathanael to Philip telling him about Jesus of Nazareth: “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” When Philip ignored the retort and replied, “Come and see,” Nathanael followed Philip to Jesus.
Fortunately, Philip was able to let go of his perception of ‘things from Nazareth’ and recognized the reality of who Jesus was (and is) and became one of the twelve disciples. We too get to deal with our perceptions of who Jesus is or isn’t. Either way our lives will be changed. We must question the sources and validity of our perceptions because they might be keeping us from the truth. They might keep us on the beach convinced tsunamis aren’t real.