No Stereotypes (27-07-22)
Pause for thought
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
Bible Reading: John 3:1-5
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus
who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said,
"Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him."
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God
unless they are born again."
I do get frustrated by the way that clergy are portrayed on the television! Ranging from the bumbling to the bombastic and occasionally the culprit in a murder mystery, they are rarely portrayed as normal.
When I read the word ‘Pharisee’ in the gospels, I tend to think of legalism, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, and certainly Jesus did clash with some Pharisees over their teaching and behaviour. There were though occasions where groups of Pharisees supported Jesus, and where he encouraged them, and there were Pharisees who became followers of Jesus. Nicodemus was one such Pharisee.
Brought up within the strict teachings of the Pharisees, Nicodemus clearly saw something in Jesus that made him want to know more. At this point in his journey of faith he was afraid of what others would think and came to Jesus at night; later on he would have more confidence to be seen as a follower of Jesus.
There are people today from all backgrounds and faiths who are seeking to discover more about Jesus, both here in the UK and around the world. Let us pray that they will find Christians who will help them on their journey of faith and that come to the place where they are born again.
Earlier in John’s gospel, Nathanael says of people from Nazareth, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Stereotyping is generally unhelpful, whether it is about gender, race, faith, politics or any other label we might choose to use. Let us give thanks to God for Christians from all backgrounds who seek to serve God in all walks of life. Let us pray that God will bless their work and their witness.
Forgive me Lord where prejudice distorts my view of other people
and give me the confidence to be recognised as one of your disciples.
Brother, sister, let me serve you