Day 42: February 11, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

John 4:43-45 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

When they entered Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him because they had seen everything He did in Jerusalem during the festival…

—John 4:45

A Conditional Welcome
by JoEllen Taylor,

As Jesus returned near the place of His upbringing people began to welcome Him, but not for the reasons we might think. 

Undoubtedly some of these families had visited homes, reclined around tables or swung tools made by Joseph, or by Jesus Himself. They had passed near His home countless times and joined the processions as whole communities traveled to Jerusalem for festivals. Some may have remembered the day young Jesus was lost in Jerusalem, only to be found teaching the rabbis. Whispered questions about Jesus’ distant childhood in Egypt may have persisted, but Jesus was one of them.

Now something had changed. NOW they were impressed! Jesus had turned a lot of heads lately—in nearby Cana wedding guests tasted the finest wine at a wedding celebration—from jars that had been filled with water! His righteous anger in the Jerusalem temple complex had left an impression still rippling through the Jewish communities. This man had gained public credibility, even a kind of celebrity. People were curious, and fascinated by the morbid reality that neither the religious establishment nor the Roman government would tolerate a power they couldn’t control for long.

The Galileans embraced Jesus with a conditional welcome. Now that He was well-known, popular, and controversial, they were interested. They had time to linger and listen. Because they had seen the signs and wonders, He was attractive to them.

Conditional—made or allowed on certain terms; imposing, containing, subject to or depending on certain factors.

Welcome—greet the arrival of; accept with pleasure.

A conditional welcome is more shallow, less meaningful, and by its nature self-seeking.

In considering this conditional welcome, I began to wonder why I “welcome” Jesus. How often do I welcome Him just because of His beautiful identity? Under what conditions do I welcome Him more easily? And who am I to impose conditions on His arrival and actions anyway?

Some welcomed Jesus by responding to who He was. Simeon, Anna, Peter, Andrew, James and John, among many others, wholly welcomed Jesus before He ever demonstrated His power—in Simeon and Anna’s case, before He could even speak. Their attentive hearts immediately recognized God Incarnate and responded with wonder. They anticipated; they hoped. This is the heart I want. I don’t want to miss or misperceive any movement of Christ by viewing Him conditionally.

Reflection Questions

  1. How can learning to genuinely welcome Jesus daily affect the ways we welcome others?
  2. How does the way we welcome others reveal our regard for them as the handiwork of God?
  3. Spend a few minutes welcoming the nearness of God. Ask Him to help you perceive His fingerprints in the lives of others today.
  4. Suggested listening: The Face of Christ by Chris Rice

About the Author

JoEllen Taylor

Since 2006, JoEllen has been a member of Brentwood Baptist. She’s served alongside her husband, Linc Taylor, in student ministry for 22 years. Current she serves as an assistant in the Missions Ministry at Brentwood Baptist.

On the side, JoEllen has written curriculum for LifeWay, including Explore the Bible Discovery, LifeMatters (Threads), LifeTruths, and FUGE. She also leads a group of high school girls in Brentwood Baptist’s Student Ministry.

JoEllen and Linc have three daughters: Grace, Joy Beth, and Lynna Carol. When together, they love to hike, camp, and follow high school football, college football, and NCAA college basketball. Some of her favorite things to do are: sit by the campfire with her family, read, cook, write, work on window treatments, and make quilts.