Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Samaritans Believe

John 4:28-42

“The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.” (John 4:28-30)

When Jesus disciples showed up, the Samaritan woman quit talking to Jesus, probably fearing being snubbed because she was a Samaritan.  She left her water jug sitting, and went into the city to tell the other people about Jesus.  She had accepted him as the Messiah and her savior simply because he showed her the truth about her life and her need for a spiritual conversion.  She had not professed her faith to Jesus or made a prayer for salvation, but she believed, and acting on that belief went to tell the people in the city.  Her first profession of faith was to those unsaved Samaritans, and it had an impact, causing them to come to hear him. 

“In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:31-34)

While the woman went into the city, Jesus’ disciples encouraged him to eat, but he told them he wasn’t hungry because he had something else that had filled him up.  They wondered who gave him food, but he stated that he was satisfied by having done what God had sent him to do.  People who have never experienced it don’t understand the satisfaction that comes from having done the job God gave because other things matter more to them. 

  “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” (John 4:35-38)

It was early spring, just about time to start planting their crops, and the natural thought was that there would not be anything to eat for four months.  Jesus said if they would look they would find there was a great harvest ready to pick.  Though the crops they were used to were not even planted yet, there were other things ready to be picked at any time.  Just as a farmer who plants his own fields may find it necessary to hire someone to help with the reaping, with the result that both profit, God sends us out to gather those who have been won that everyone can benefit.   Someone else had taught the Samaritan woman and when Jesus came along she was prepared to receive Christ as Savior.   In the same way, most of the work in winning people to Christ has been done by other people who set a godly example, or taught them about the Word of God or basic moral principles. 

Many thousands of Jews were saved under Jesus’ ministry and that of the Apostles because for two thousand years, the Jews had been taught about God and his power.  As a missionary, Paul did not have nearly the number of people saved that were saved in Jerusalem.  A major part of the reason was that the people he went to, had no knowledge of Christ.  Paul described the situation in Romans 15:20-24.  “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.  For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.  But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.     

As a missionary or evangelist, Paul’s job was to announce the gospel to people who had never heard.  Once a few churches had been established, there was no more place for a missionary, so Paul was planning to go to Spain where the gospel had not yet been preached, although he hoped to stop in Rome for a while. 

Today many are talking about how hard it is to win people in this “post modern” society.  The term is an oxymoron because modern means relating to the present time.  Hence,  post modern can only refer to something in the future that does not yet exist.   So called modern art was only modern at the time it was created.   The reason people have become so hard to reach is that most of the focus is on reaping and hardly anyone is planting, and no crop is ready.      

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.  So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:39-42)

Because the seed had been planted and nourished by others, many of Samaritans believed because of what the woman told them.  When they came to Jesus, they asked him to teach them more, and as a result many others turned to him, because they had heard the Lord, and were sure he was the Messiah of whom they had been told.  It was not the woman’s testimony that caused them to believe, but the Word of God.  Romans 10:17 tells us,  ”…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

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