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Concerning Pedigrees by Andrew Nash

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Three: the Benedictus

Saturday, December 23

John 7:40-52

“From Galilee?” (John 7)

We like to imagine the Bible is filled only with kind words and loving guidance sent with divine inspiration. But there are many insults, too. They range from the serious, like “blind fools” in Matthew 23:17, to the silly, like “baldhead” 2 Kings 2:23.  

Three times in these 12 verses, the Pharisees use Galilee like an insult:

“How can the Messiah come from Galilee?” (verse 41)

“Are you from Galilee, too?” (verse 52)

“…a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” (verse 52)

They seem to imply that nothing good can come from Bethlehem. The Messiah comes from Bethlehem — not Galilee. Galilee doesn’t fit the profile. Galilee isn’t the right pedigree.

Luckily, God doesn’t care what the right pedigree is or isn’t. He uses people of all backgrounds. There’s no requirement that you be from a certain area or have the right name or have the right job to be successful in God’s eyes.

Of course, when we think about this idea — that anyone can serve God well — it’s often in opposition to someone else. But we can do this to ourselves, too:

“God wouldn’t want someone with my education.”

“A godly leader doesn’t look the way I do.”

“Deacons don’t come out of a broken home.” 

What barriers are you putting up that block you from serving God the way he intends?

There’s one more thing to note: the Pharisees were wrong. They were wrong about Jesus — who grew up in Galilee, but was born in Bethlehem — but they were also wrong about Galilee. The Pharisees bragged about knowing scripture, and that no prophet comes from Galilee. But Jonah — who spent three days and nights “dead” in a whale in a symbolic forerunner to Jesus’ resurrection — is described in 2 Kings 14:25 as being from a town in Galilee.

Andrew Nash

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