Can any good thing - The character of Nazareth was proverbially bad. To be a Galilean or a Nazarene was an expression of decided contempt, John 7:52. See the notes at Matthew 2:23. Nathanael asked, therefore, whether it was possible that the Messiah should come from a place proverbially wicked. This was a mode of judging in the case not uncommon. It is not by examining evidence, but by prejudice. Many persons suffer their minds to be filled with prejudice against religion, and then pronounce at once without examination. They refuse to examine the subject, for they have set it down that it cannot be true. It matters not where a teacher comes from, or what is the place of his birth, provided he be authorized of God and qualified for his work.
Come and see - This was the best way to answer Nathanael. He did not sit down to reason with him, or speculate about the possibility that a good thing could come from Nazareth; but he asked him to go and examine for himself, to see the Lord Jesus, to hear him converse, to lay aside his prejudice, and to judge from a fair and candid personal inquiry. So we should beseech sinners to lay aside their prejudices against religion, and “to be Christians,” and thus make trial for themselves. If men can be persuaded to come to Jesus, all their petty and foolish objections against religion will vanish. They will be satisfied from their own experience that it is true, and in this way only will they ever be satisfied.
Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? - Bp. Pearce supposes that the τι αγαθον of the evangelist has some particular force in it: for, in Jeremiah 33:14, God says, I will perform that good thing which I promised, etc.; and this, in Jeremiah 33:15; is explained to mean, his causing the branch of righteousness (i.e. the Messiah) to grow up unto David, from whom Jesus was descended: in this view, Nathanael's question seems to imply, that not Nazareth, but Bethlehem, was to be the birth-place of the Messiah, according to what the chief priests and scribes had determined, Matthew 2:4-6. If this conjecture be not thought solid, we may suppose that Nazareth, at this time, was become so abandoned that no good could be expected from any of those who dwelt in it, and that its wickedness had passed into a proverb: Can any thing good be found in Nazareth? Or, that the question is illiberal, and full of national prejudice.
Come and see - He who candidly examines the evidences of the religion of Christ will infallibly become a believer. No history ever published among men has so many external and internal proofs of authenticity as this has. A man should judge of nothing by first appearances, or human prejudices. Who are they who cry out, The Bible is a fable? Those who have never read it, or read it only with the fixed purpose to gainsay it. I once met with a person who professed to disbelieve every tittle of the New Testament, a chapter of which, he acknowledged, he had never read. I asked him, had he ever read the Old? He answered, No! And yet this man had the assurance to reject the whole as an imposture! God has mercy on those whose ignorance leads them to form prejudices against the truth; but he confounds those who take them up through envy and malice, and endeavor to communicate them to others.
The first thirty years of the life of Christ were passed in the obscure village of Nazareth. The inhabitants of this village were proverbial for their wickedness, hence the inquiry of Nathaniel: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” The evangelists say but very little in regard to the early life of Christ. With the exception of a brief account of His accompanying His parents to Jerusalem, we have the simple statement only, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” MYP 78.1
Christ is our example in all things. In the providence of God, His early life was passed in Nazareth, where the inhabitants were of that character that He was continually exposed to temptations, and it was necessary for Him to be guarded in order to remain pure and spotless amid so much sin and wickedness. Christ did not select this place Himself. His Heavenly Father chose this place for Him, where His character would be tested and tried in a variety of ways. The early life of Christ was subjected to severe trials, hardships, and conflicts, that He might develop the perfect character which makes Him a perfect example for children, youth, and manhood. MYP 78.2Read in context »
The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God. While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Yet He was not exempt from temptation. The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael's question, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46. Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood. DA 71.1
Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from the defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the prince of darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour. DA 71.2
The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. No aimless hours opened the way for corrupting associations. So far as possible, He closed the door to the tempter. Neither gain nor pleasure, applause nor censure, could induce Him to consent to a wrong act. He was wise to discern evil, and strong to resist it. DA 72.1Read in context »
This is a time when every man in a responsible position, and every member of the church, should bring every feature of his work into close accord with the teachings of the word of God. By untiring vigilance, by fervent prayer, by Christlike words and deeds, we are to show the world what God desires His church to be. 9T 185.1
From His high position, Christ, the King of glory, the Majesty of heaven, saw the condition of men. He pitied human beings in their weakness and sinfulness, and came to this earth to reveal what God is to men. Leaving the royal courts, and clothing His divinity with humanity, He came to the world Himself, in our behalf to work out a perfect character. He did not choose His dwelling among the rich of the earth. He was born in poverty, of lowly parentage, and lived in the despised village of Nazareth. As soon as He was old enough to handle tools, He shared the burden of caring for the family. 9T 185.2
Christ humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity, to meet the temptations and endure the trials that humanity must meet and endure. He must know what humanity has to meet from the fallen foe, that He might know how to succor those who are tempted. 9T 185.3Read in context »
We cannot do a better work than to unite, so far as we can do so without compromise, with the W.C.T.U. workers. Te 224.1
Concerning this matter I wrote to one of our sisters in 1898: Te 224.2
“The Lord, I fully believe, is leading you that you may keep the principles of temperance clear and distinct, in all their purity, in connection with the truth for these last days. They that do His will shall know of the doctrine.... The Lord does not bid you separate from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. They need all the light you can give them. Flash all the light possible into their pathway. You can agree with them on the ground of the pure, elevating principles that first brought into existence the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The Lord has given you capabilities and talents to be preserved uncorrupted in their simplicity. Through Jesus Christ you may do a good work.—The Review and Herald, October 15, 1914. (Part used in Gospel Workers, 384, 385.) Te 224.3Read in context »