Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jesus had to Go to Samaria by John Wright

Jesus had to go to Samaria                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         By John Wright

          Jesus was always breaking down barriers, walls between us and God. Our sin separates us from God and our only hope was for Jesus to break the barrier of sin. Is there anyone beyond the reach of God's mercy through Jesus? (John chapter 4) Jesus, after hearing the Pharisees were worried about his many disciples in Judea decides to leave Judea and go to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria according to Jn. 4:4, but most Jews would not travel through Samaria. Instead they would detour around it when traveling back and forth between Judea and Galilee. The Jews had completely given up on the Samaritans. In their minds they were the lowest form of life. The Jews and the Samaritans shared a common history going back into the Old Testament. They once were known as the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. They were estranged brothers separated by Kings, politics and rebellion to God. Samaria, the land of Ahab and Jezebel, who worshipped all manner of false gods. God never gave them up. He sent prophets to turn them from their ways, but they refused to turn back to God. After generations of apostasy, and wicked Kings they continued to ignore the warnings by the Prophets that they should turn away from their sin and repent. Finally after a time of much patience God allowed the Assyrian army to invade and exile the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom became known as the ten lost tribes of Israel. Most Samaritans believed they were descended from Jacob, but they were not pure Israelites. Their blood had been polluted with the intermarrying of pagans. The mighty indeed have fallen. These people were not their brothers, in the sight of the Jewish people they were filthy dogs.

            Jesus had to go to Samaria, the land everyone had given up on, the place on earth the disciples believed was hopeless. The ten lost tribes were assimilated into the melting pot of the peoples.  Jesus begins to tell a Samaritan woman about the Kingdom of Heaven, he engages her in dialogue. Jesus had to go to Samaria to show us that any amount of sin could be overcome by trusting in Jesus. Jesus was reaching out to a people that had been involved in spiritual fornication by connecting with a woman who had five husbands and the man she was now with was not her husband. Can you see the parallel? Jesus did not believe that this Samaritan woman was not worth his time. In fact, he was more plainspoken to her than he was when teaching the Jews. When she mentioned that she believed the messiah was to come and he would explain everything, Jesus told her plainly "I am He.” Jesus had to go to Samaria because he said "my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

            God said to Jacob at Bethel "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring" (Gen. 28:14). The finished work of God is to redeem the entire world through his Son. (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Jesus had to go to Samaria because as he told his disciples "Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest". The people of the town came to him after hearing what the woman said about him, she said, "could he be the messiah?" The townspeople longed to hear his teaching so Jesus stayed with them two days. A very large number of them believed on him and they said to the woman who told them about Jesus, "we know that this man really is the savior of the world.”

            The fields are ripe for harvest in Samaria and right now in our town and wherever we may be. The lesson the twelve apostles learned in Samaria was God does his most amazing work in the places where it is least expected. There is no one beyond the reach of God's mercy. Where is your Samaria? May God give us the grace to not judge, but instead plant the seed of the gospel everywhere.

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