I love hearing stories of how people come to Jesus. At our church, we celebrate this often and one of my favorite ways is through a video testimony that allows a person to share in their own words how God grabbed their heart. It’s one of the parts of ministry that I had no idea would bless me as much as it does.
One time, we saw a whole family come to Jesus as they heard “for the first time” about God’s grace in sending Jesus as the answer to their need. But, I’m curious. Have you ever seen the majority of a village come to Jesus? What about a whole “hated” group? Would you celebrate their salvation? Really? I hope so, because Christ is in the business of going outside of our boxes and I just really love that about him.
I was reading in John 4 about the Samaritan woman, whose story is like so many. It has gotten a lot of attention in our churches over the past few years, so I’m not going to retell her story today. There seems to be an increasing recognition that Jesus did not come for the “healthy”, but rather for the “sick”, of which you and I all are. You might be thinking, “um, Shanna, this is in the Bible and is not new,” and I would have to agree with you, but the awareness seems different these days. Maybe it’s that the “religious” are finally fessing up to their sickness instead of pretending that they are the picture of health. It’s refreshing to hear pastors talk about real sins that they struggle with and leaders who have stopped being afraid of what “you” might think of them, so that they can lay their lives on the altar of real freedom.
You have to understand sickness in your own life in order to find true freedom.
To clarify, when I say “sick”, I mean that we ALL have something very wrong with us, which is that our sin separates us from a holy God. Thankfully, for those who call on the name of Jesus, our sins are forgiven!
Recognizing the sin in our life should remind us of our dependence on God and our distinction from Him.
After a fairly strange encounter with Jesus (found in John 4) the Samaritan woman goes back to her village…the village that most Jews go out of their way to avoid…the village where hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans dates back to the Joseph days. He goes there. The text says “He had to go to Samaria on the way”. He had to. He was on mission. There wasn’t a part of town that Jesus felt he should just avoid. He had come for the sick.
What I found so interesting about this story comes at the tail-end of this passage. In verses 39-42, we see that many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because of the woman’s own testimony: “He told me everything I ever did!” That was enough for them. This was convincing enough for these villagers to believe that this was indeed the Messiah. But for others, it was going to take more.
They would watch him. They would consider if it was truth being spoken by this man. The text says that Jesus stayed in Samaria for two days, which was long enough for many of them to hear his message and believe.
I found this interesting simply from a sociological perspective. Some people will believe in Jesus by convincing testimony and others still need to see for themselves. The same is true today, is it not?
After two days with Jesus, here is how many of the Samaritans responded to the woman from the well:
“Now we believe because we have heard him ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Savior of the world.”
I can’t help but be touched by these words. To see someone come to the realization (for themselves) that Jesus is who he claims to be, is breathtaking to say the least! It’s miraculous that someone destined for an eternity separated from God can instantly be set on a new path, which allows them to walk in freedom and purpose. What grace!
I’ve gotten to walk along side some friends as they’ve come to know Jesus. There’s nothing like it in this life. It’s like saying, “Friend, meet my Friend who is going to rock your world, save your very soul and teach you things that are going to change your heart forever!” I’d love to say, “who wouldn’t want to meet him?” But, I understand that the cost for some, feels too great on this side of eternity. God wants our lives-our hearts-our dreams-our goals-our family-our money-our time-He wants it all-laid at His feet in surrender.
I’ve often wondered why many who seemed to know the Lord have walked so far away. I have to believe that they never really “knew” Jesus more than a simple meet and greet. He came to give us life! In other words, you don’t really have LIFE without him. I tell you this out of my own testimony, just like the woman at the well who realized Jesus knew everything she had ever done. I’ve experienced his grace and love and power, so I share it! If you haven’t already, I pray you will find life in Jesus Christ, because He is indeed the Savior of the world!!
Have a question or comment? I love to hear from you!