John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I was struck by a verse I came across as I was collecting myself for another day in my middle school classroom this week. The verse? It came from John’s gospel chapter 1:
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote– Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
How many times have we heard, or even said ourselves, something similar about a student? How many times have we prejudged a student before they’ve even stepped a foot into our classroom? I will be the first to remorsefully confess I have. Sometimes we do so without thinking about it (which needs to stop, right?).
Yet, as I read the passage and having done the same thing myself (oh me!), I immediately thought to myself, “Wow Nathan, what a stupid thing to say! I mean really? This is Jesus we are talking about here. Of course, something good can come from Nazareth. He is the epitome of good! He came to die for your sins and my sins. Get with it Nate!” I’m not a Bible scholar, but it sounds as if Nazareth was perhaps an area that today we might call the wrong side of the tracks.
Albeit, it convicted me how quickly I sometimes, just like Nathanael did, come to the wrong conclusion about where my students hail from or rumors I’ve heard as to how they’ve behaved prior to arriving at my door. Remember, just because a student didn’t gee-haw with one teacher doesn’t mean she won’t gee-haw with you or me, my fellow teachers. I’ve seen this play out time and time again! Furthermore, if our students are from areas we deem undesirable, those areas can bring forth students like Jesus or students that need Jesus. Either way, Jesus died for both!
I want to again encourage you, as I did last week, to remember where we are on the Christian calendar. It’s Good Friday as I write this post, and I’m overwhelmed with what came out of Nazareth. My Savior, My Lord… Your Savior, Your Lord. His death, His resurrection, His mercy, His grace…. There is no place on earth that is perfect, but as for me, I think if my Savior came from a no good place like Nazareth, then my students who come from the same types of places may have a little something to teach me and not the other way around. The thing is, you never know!
Greater love hath no man… Let’s demonstrate that love to ALL our students.
Happy Easter! He’s alive! God bless you, dear Christian teachers, and stay devoted.