Can Anything Good Come Out of Cicero?

Bruce Hoffman

READ : John 1:43-51

My childhood years were lived in Cicero, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Cicero gained an unfortunate reputation in the 1920s and ’30s as the hometown of gangster Al Capone and his cronies. That notoriety remains “attached” to Cicero to this day! Whenever I was asked where I lived and said, “Cicero, Illinois,” I was often looked at as if to say: “Watch out . . . nothing good has ever come out of Cicero!”

When I lived there, Cicero was a good community made up of thousands of decent, law-abiding people, many of whom were Christians. How unfortunate that a few infamous sinners had such a negative influence on the attitudes of many throughout the country toward the average “Ciceronian.” Our nature seems to be to identify the many who are honorable with the few who are hopelessly corrupt.

Jesus was a victim of such thinking! Philip told Nathanael that he wanted to introduce him to the Messiah from Nazareth. In Nathanael’s mind, Nazareth was “the pits.” We don’t know just what it was that gave Nazareth a bad reputation. However, Nathanael could not imagine that the Messiah could ever come from that place! How wrong was the opinion of Nathanael! How misguided we often are with our hasty judgments of people and places!


Lord, help us to show the same grace to others that You have shown to us, just as we are. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.