Missional Monday: Be Careful About Missions – Part #3

mmResult #2: If We Are Not Careful, Our Sense of People Can Become Limited.

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:27-29)

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days (John 4:39-40)

When the disciples returned, they were surprised to find Jesus talking to a woman. Why? The phrase “that He talked with a woman” is a loaded one. This should be seen in the context of the Jewish norms of that day. It was not judged decent or proper for a man to enter a lengthy conversation with a woman, especially in a public place. A religious man was to especially guard against this practice. Beyond all of this, Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. The Jews had no familiar conversation with Samaritans, men or women. For Jesus to ask a favor of this woman certainly must have had the disciples confused. In this very narrow snapshot, we can see an incredible barrier to missions. The barrier: An unwillingness to engage all people with the gospel; born from the belief that some are worthy and some are not.

The disciples had a hard time understanding that Jesus had come to be the Savior of all people. Jesus did not come to be the Savior of the Jews only. Jesus did not come to be the Savior of men only. Jesus did not come to be the Savior of the rich only. Jesus did not come to be the Savior of the religious only. Jesus did not come to be the Savior of the good person only. In defense of His ministry, under Pharisaical scrutiny, Jesus affirmed His mission by saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” If we are not careful, our sense of who the gospel is for can become limited. It is easy to engage people who look, act, eat, recreate, shop, and believe as we do. The challenge is to go to those who don’t share our value system. The challenge is to go to the one who mocks the name of God because they don’t know any better. The challenge is to go to those who were just like we were before Jesus saved us. Remember that person? As the story ends, the Samaritan woman believes on Jesus and shares what He had done for her with everyone she knew. This is the essence of evangelism: one hungry man telling another hungry man where he found bread. Let’s be careful that we don’t put an unfair and unnecessary limit on those who have the chance to hear. The bottom line is this: no one is worthy of God’s salvation. It is a work of grace. Share it.

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