Valuing People; July 8, 2018

John 4:25-26 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

This incident is astounding on several levels. In the first place, Jesus demolished several societal barriers in the process. It was not “proper” for a man to speak to a woman without introduction or chaperon, but Jesus did it anyway. It was not accepted for Jews to be accepting of Samaritans, but Jesus did it anyway. However, this Samaritan woman, whom even Jesus acknowledged didn’t really know the God she claimed to worship, (verse 22) was looking forward to the Messiah with enough anticipation that she recognized that Jesus fit the bill. In response to that, Jesus gave an unequivocal declaration that He was indeed the Christ, and that was something He refused to do repeatedly after that. Jesus didn’t fit in boxes, and He still doesn’t. Political liberals today accuse Christians of being oppressive toward women, when actually the very idea of the equality of the sexes comes from the Bible. (They are equal but not the same, but that is a different, and rather long, discussion.) Jesus opened His heart to an immoral woman in a way that He hadn’t yet done even with His closest disciples, and we need to learn from that. Jesus certainly didn’t sink to her level in the area of morality, but He treated her as a fully valuable human being, which she had perhaps never experienced before in her life. We need to understand, really, that God doesn’t look at people the way we do. We pay that concept lip service, but we have an awfully hard time really getting it through our heads and hearts. Ascribing to people the value their Creator does is both the most fundamental and the greatest thing we can do for anyone.

I find myself wondering how this incident came to be recorded, since Jesus and the woman were the only people present, but I’m guessing that Jesus told John about it as they walked along the road at some point after this. The point for me, however, is to treat people as Jesus did, seeing them not as whatever wreck they might have made of their lives but as God sees them, precious and valuable and with enormous potential. Frankly, that’s not always easy! I do have the advantage of having rubbed shoulders with “bigwigs” throughout my childhood, so I’ve never been overly impressed with titles and degrees. I know they’re just as human as anyone else! However, Jesus didn’t bring people down to where He was, He lifted them up to where He was. I’m not to look at people as no more valuable than I am, but rather, just as valuable as I am. I have to fight with being self-centered just like anyone else does, and I lose that battle far more often than I would like. I am to remember God’s amazing grace toward me and willingly extend that grace toward everyone, so that God may be pleased to touch them and draw them to Himself through me, for their salvation and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me never forget it! May I be Your agent of love and grace in the service this morning and in everything to follow, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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