Assumptions and Prejudices

“How can the Christ come from Galilee?” asked some of the crowd listening to Jesus one day (John 7:41). The Pharisees were even more certain: “Look into it and you will find that a prophet does not come from Galilee.” (John 7:52).

It was a reasonable question. The crowds knew that the Scriptures said that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem and they had clearly not heard the account of Jesus’ birth. It’s fair enough to be puzzled and to ask about things we don’t understand, as long as we do so with an enquiring heart and mind which has not prejudged the issue, as did the Pharisees. They were blinded by an arrogance which assumed that they alone were the authorities on the things of God; they also thought they were a cut above the rest, including the guards, the ‘mob’ and anyone from Galilee. See how human pride is the root of class war and racism. They were so closed minded that they could not recognise that their own assertion that none of their own kind believed in Jesus might not be true – their minds were made up; don’t confuse them with the facts!

I was challenged by this passage the other day. On one level, we can take it as an encouragement to ourselves if we experience any prejudice against us. Perhaps others do not listen to us because we are young/old/female/single parents/uneducated/black/poor. Jesus himself knows how that feels. Keep following him.

On the other hand, are we the ones who are prejudiced? There are people in my life who have let me down and I am inclined not to trust them, but, Lord, let me never fall into the trap of assuming that nothing good can ever come of those relationships again. Of all people, we believe in redemption, grace, hope and change. Let me hold doors open, and let me be willing to give someone a fair hearing again and again. Just as Jesus always does for me.


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