John 7:40-44

Throughout our passage this week, people are repeatedly asking where Jesus is from. By the first century, a minority view held that the Messiah would appear as a surprising deliverer whose origins were hidden. With this in mind, some in the crowd said, “We know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from” (7:26).

Another theory said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, the city of David, Israel’s greatest king. We know from other gospels that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but those who debate about Jesus in the Temple do not know that fact. All they know is that he is from Nazareth, an unimpressive village in Galilee: “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?” (v. 41).

What are your roots? Where are you from?

I was born in West Virginia, grew up on the socio-economic “wrong side” of Atlanta, and went to what was then considered a decidedly second-tier public college. No doubt those experiences shaped my identity. They are part of who I am. I am grateful for them, but they are not all of who I am, just as your origins are not all of who you are. 

Jesus was from backwater Nazareth, but his truest origin was the heart of God. “I am from him, and he sent me,” he says (7:29). 

This is true for us, too. Our identities are not fully determined by the circumstances we grew up in, the schools we attended, the work we do, or the expectations, whether high or low, which others have of us. Our origins are in the vast, unconditional, and transforming love of God. We are children of God, and, therefore, we are more than we yet know ourselves to be.


In the busyness and distractions of my life, how can I remember who I really am—a beloved child of God in whom God takes great delight?


Gracious and merciful God, heal my wounds and deliver me from the noise that confuses me about who you are and, therefore, who I am. Amen.

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