Wednesday, January 29, 2014

John 4:27-42, Part II

 27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 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.”

On Monday we shared that we need to be able to tell our story to others. How we came to know Christ, and how He has impacted our lives.
We also need to know that we can rely on God to prepare the hearts of those we will tell. We touched on this long ago in the midst of our study on Proverbs. Let's dig in!

In verses 35-38, it's as if Jesus is telling His disciples that they don't have to convert people -- the job of working on and with hearts is taken care of by God. We don't have to be slick. We don't have to be flashy or have a gimmick.
And we are not even required to have an answer for every question. You see, we don't need to convince anybody -- God does that! We don't have to resort to tricks or hope that we'll be able to pull an answer out of our hat for every question that we may hear from the ones we are telling our story.
The only thing that we need to do, is to grow in our relationship with God. Then we will be better able to tell others about Him, and our lives will be appealing to them -- they will want to know what is different. God will work in the hearts of those we meet, and we will help. Just as Paul said in Corinthians:
"Who then is Paul and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." I Cor. 3:5-6
How joyful it will be in heaven, to realize that we had a part in someone receiving eternal life in Christ!

Have you said this before?
"I don't know the Bible well enough to share my faith with someone."
Or have you said this?
"I know they will ask good, thoughtful questions, and I don't know how to answer them. The pastor knows. He should talk to them."
You know what? That's perfectly OK. The "I don't know" part, that is. When someone confronts you with a tough question, you can honestly say, "I don't know." You can tell the person that the two of you can study on it together, or you can go together to an older, wiser Christian. Just don't let it stop you from telling your story!
The Samaritan woman didn't. She went back to the town and asked the others, "Could this be the Messiah?" You see, the Samaritans only acknowledged the first five books of the Old Testament, so their perception of the coming Messiah came only from Deuteronomy 18. They were simply expecting a prophet similar to Moses; they thought he would be a powerful intercessor between God and His people. So, she didn't understand everything about Jesus yet. But she knew that He  had confronted her with her sin, and then offered to take it away -- she understood enough to be able to tell her story.

There is an important caveat here . . . that is we need to keep growing in our understanding. See verses 39-42? The people believed what the woman said, and then after staying with Jesus for two days (doesn't that simple phrase make you jealous? it does me!) they came to understand that the Messiah was not just a prophet, but the Savior of the world. So we need to keep studying, keep praying, keep growing in our relationship and our knowledge of Jesus.

When we've met Christ and He has transformed our lives, we can tell our story!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

I think we use any excuse we can to keep from witnessing a lot of the time. I'm glad that I don't have to know all the answers when I do find the courage to speak about Christ.

I believe that sometimes though, we don't know the answer to a question, until it's asked. By that, I mean that there may be times when God illumines our minds when He desires us to be able to answer. I may be way out in left field with that statement, but hey, God can do anything right?