By Joe Chesser
When Jesus was on earth, there were many things about him that were surprising, even shocking.
For example, in John 4 there is the story of Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. Perhaps we are so used to the story that it has lost some its shock value, but the fact that Jesus was talking to this woman was totally out of character for people living in the Jewish culture. Jews just didn’t have anything to do with Samaritans. Samaritans were traitors … dogs … scum! And to add to the shock, he was talking to a Samaritan woman who had been divorced several times and was living with another man!
But it was to this woman Jesus revealed some of the most important spiritual truths. He told her about living water (4:10). He told her that true worship was in spirit and truth (4:24). He talked to her about her personal sins regarding marriage (4:17-18). He told her he was the Messiah for whom the people were longing (4:25-26).
It was at this point in the story that Jesus’ disciples returned (they had gone into the town for some food). They were shocked to see Jesus talking with the woman, and even questioned Him about it. It was a normal response in those circumstances. But this is where Jesus told them something else we find shocking — that eating physical food is not nearly as important as evangelism: “my food is to do the will of him who sent me” (4:34). You see, the thing that motivated Jesus, the thing that gave Him His greatest strength to do His work, the thing that made life worth living was helping someone, even a Samaritan woman, with their spiritual needs.
This woman was not too bright when it came to marriage commitment, but she quickly caught on to the fire burning in the heart of Jesus. She immediately went back to town and told the villagers what had happened. Her testimony resulted in many of these Samaritans believing in Jesus. And they were hungry to know more, so Jesus stayed with them for a couple days. Many more became believers. Before Jesus left town, what I see as the ultimate goal happened. In John 4:42 we read, “They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”
It is vital that somewhere in our spiritual journey we all reach that ultimate goal of growing beyond the testimony of others, that we come to know for ourselves that Jesus is not only the Savior of the world, He is my Savior. Trying to survive on a second-hand faith will not last long. The devil is too cunning, and God never intended for it to be that way. At Judgment we will be accountable only for ourselves (2 Cor. 5:10). Have you reached that ultimate goal of knowing for yourself that Jesus is the Savior of the world? When you do, you won’t be able to keep it to yourself!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/