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January 11, 2021 3:00 am
Ever been distracted and as a result, missed a divine appointment.
That's what happened to Jesus followers in the story we read in John chapter 4 as they focused so much on their lunch that they failed to see a woman in need today on Truth for Life.
Alister bag urges all of us to wake up to the spiritual condition of others around us. He's titled his message come see a man I invite you to turn to the Bible to John chapter 4, the greater part of John chapter 4 involves the dialogue between Jesus and this woman that he meets at the well and we going to pick up the account at verse 27 John chapter 4 and verse 27.
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find them talking with a woman, but no one asked what you want or why are you talking with her, then leaving her water jar. The woman went back to the town and said to the people come see a man who told me everything I ever did this be the Christ. They came out of the town and made their way toward him. Meanwhile his disciples urged him, Rabbi, eat something, but he said to them, I have food to eat that you know nothing about. Then his disciples said to each other. Could someone abroad in food.
My food said Jesus is to do the will of him who sent me into finishes work. Do you not say four months more and then the harvest I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields they are ripe for harvest. Even now, the reaper draws his wages even now he harvest the crop for eternal life, so that the sword in the reaper may be glad together that's the say one sows, another reaps his true I sent you to reap what you've not worked for others have done the hard work and you have reap the benefits of their labor. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony he told me everything I ever did. So when the Samaritans came to him the urged him to stay with them and he stayed two days and because of his words.
Many more became believers, they said to the woman. We no longer believe just because of what you said.
Now we have had for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world. Amen. Before we look at the Bible we pause and asked for God to help us further what we know not teach us what we have not given us what we are not make us for your son's sake. Amen.
I don't think there's any doubt that the turning point in this conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well is in verse 16 because it is there that it is recorded for is that Jesus asked her to go and call her husband, and come back.
And of course she's honest enough to say that he doesn't have a husband and then Jesus fills in the background far end explains to her that he knows that she's had five husbands, and she now has a man in her company who is not her husband. A tall, it's the intimate awareness of her detail shown by Jesus that has caused this woman to be profoundly impacted by Jesus words after his statement there in verse 18. Her perspective on him shifts dramatically.
If your Bible is open, you will see that in verse nine. In the opening gambit, she says, how can you ask me for a drink. You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman that was his identity. A Jew now in verse 19 she says Sir I can see that you are a prophet is going to advance beyond this, she's going to ask the question. I think perhaps this is actually the Messiah, the Christ and the chapter in the section of the chapter is going to end with a declaration as surely this man is the Savior of the world.
Now, in this conversation.
As we noted before, and it is worth reiterating this fact, Jesus treats this woman with courtesy, with respect and with dignity. Although it was not customary for the Jewish people are to treat women with this kind of respect. Indeed, I Jewish law had a number of things to say. That certainly did not advance the cause of women. Jesus is here breaking the bounds of this out of power poly test factor of gender and at the same time of race because he is displaying for is the universality of the gospel message. She is able to say that since she understands him to be a prophet. She thinks he can perhaps deal with a question that has been in her mind, were not going to tackle that question just now Jesus simply explains to her that if she things in geographical or territorial terms. When it comes to worshiping God. She's thinking along the wrong the wrong lines. In fact, the time is coming and is now, he says, when people will worship God in spirit and in truth, to which the lady says in verse 25 I know that Messiah that is called Christ is coming and when he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then imagine. Imagine being there to process the response of Jesus, I am Christ, I am the Messiah, speaking to you now. Jesus, I am the Messiah, speaking to you now that she sits presumably processing that information. Verse 27 tells us that the disciples make the return is not the return of the Jedi.
This is the return of the disciples they had gone off as we discovered in verse eight to pick up food for lunch was an important assignment. They took it seriously. They made the journey and they had now returned. If we were editing a film we would be cutting between these various scenes as the narrative progresses and I'll do that with you. Hopefully in a way that helps to settle it in our minds. All we really need to. Notice in verse 27 is that these disciples upon their return were surprised but at the same time silent.
They, for whatever reason chose not to enter into a dialogue with Jesus. They chose not to ask him what you want or what are you talking with this woman. That in itself is quite remarkable, given what we know of the disciples, some of the questions they asked questions that Philip asked and certainly the kind of things that Peter was prone to blurt out both for good or for ill, but on this occasion, they remain silent.
Perhaps it is simply that they themselves are very interested in lunch and that anything that he asked would only delay the time for them to get into the food and so perhaps on a very pragmatic basis. They decide not to get involved in conversation without cut and the scene cuts to the picture of the water jar left behind and we see the back of the woman as she proceeds into town.
Incidentally, a lot of ink has been spilled over why the water jar was left there and I recommend that to you if you're interested in those kinds of things I need to remind you that the main things of the plain things in the plain things are the main things and those who get elaborate explanations out of the leave in the water jar. I admire, but do not desire to emulate. It may well be that she left behind so that Jesus could finally get a drink of water that he hasn't had to this point, it may be that in her haste she just ran off and forgot it. It may be that because she had planned on coming back. They could use it and she would be back later on we really don't know. And yet people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out all about the water part so leaving the water part aside. Notice the main emphasis of the verse. She left her waterpark went back into the town and said to the people come out and see the man who told me everything I've ever done, who told me everything I have ever done anything. You are told you everything you've ever done yes told me everything I've ever done me little mascot knee little go to the well by yourself.
Me, little no-name woman from Samaria me little friendless me. Can this be the Messiah. Do you think verse 30 is dramatic is they came out of the town and started to come to Jesus on the strength of this on the strength of this particular lady issuing this particular invitation is wonderful really is to be an encouragement to all of us to think were no good issuing invitations. Certainly when it comes to explaining to people what is happened to us in terms of our Christian experience, not all of it of course have a story to tell, but some were here this morning like this woman have been picked up and sent him the right way and as a result of that we have something to say but were often very diffident and it may well be because we think, really, why would anyone want to listen to me.
I don't think I should speak because if I say, why don't you come to the patio or why don't you come and attend this Bible study with me or why don't we have coffee and let me tell you about this. The chances are no one will be any attention to me. It's all listen. When God is at work you be amazed what happens. I'm sure this lady must've been amazed you come out and see the manager told me everything I ever did the people said yes okay will do that. So we have two camera angles. Now we have a camera angle shooting them as they come, and then we have another camera angle shooting them as they leave. We cut between and as we have not seen in our minds. Then we cut right back to the disciples. Meanwhile, verse 31. Meanwhile back at the well. The disciples are urging Jesus to eat your cats that don't you Rabbi eat something and then this little dialogue. It follows that borders on the humorous doesn't it. Jesus said to them, verse 32. I have food to eat that you know nothing about. I wonder if he said it with a twinkle in his eye. I don't know, but he seems to love these things doesn't tenderness and this is a wistfulness than this.
There's a there's a touch in this there is a there's a communication factor in this. That Jesus is masterfully Rabbi come on, let's have the lunch hey I I actually have food to eat that you don't know anything about and the disciples were going to look at one another and said that somebody bring in food when we were away. In other words, the respond literally the respond physically and once again the drama is about to unfold on the strength of misunderstanding bears repetition, doesn't it. Jesus has been employing this methodology back in chapter 2, he says of the people destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again. The response of the people as it took 46 years to build the temple and you're going to raise it in three days. The point is I'm not talking about the temple and talk about my body. All we do know that I know you didn't know that. That's why I said that so I could tell you that chapter 3.
You must be born again. Nicodemus, how can a man be born again when he is old can enter a second time into his mother's womb not talking about the negatives and talk about being spiritually born being born from above a heavenly book to the woman at the well in the earlier part of the chapter. If you knew it was who was asking you for a drink of water you would ask him for a drink of water. He would give you water and you never be thirsty again, for she said well and give me this water so I will not be thirsty again and I won't have to keep coming to the well. Jesus doesn't want to. And once again Rabbi can we leave your lunch now I have food to eat that you know not all somebody bring in food now look at the disclosure verse 34, the disciples complete misunderstanding opens up the way for Jesus to teach them this vitally important lesson. My food said Jesus is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work. Now this is a theme which runs throughout the gospel. Certainly throughout the gospel of John. You going to chapter 6 and verse 38 for I have come down from heaven, says Jesus not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me back to verse 34 of chapter 4 my food said Jesus is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work. I keep outward finish in mind because it is the it is the same route that you will find if you read all the way to chapter 19 and you find Jesus upon the cross and from the cross. Remember, one of the things he says is is finished. Not a cry of despair but a declaration of the flag that he has completed what he said out to do, namely to die in the place of sinners, so that those who deserve God's judgment on his raw may not expedience.
That judgment and brought caused by grace through faith. They have come to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, who, in this moment is explaining to these disciples that food and meat and drink for him was simply to do what his father had sent him to do and that becomes the occasion of him saying and I'd like you to wake up and see the harvest wake up and see the harvest, your eyes are no you need to open your eyes, is not a phrase there in verse 35 I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields.
This is a wake-up call. Not just of these fellows on that day, but it is a wake-up call to all who are the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ because it is a reminder to us that very easily like these fellows we can become preoccupied with what is mundane and missed the overarching mission to which we are called we can actually get preoccupied with the doing of church and the way everything works and fits together in whose where and why, and when and forget the fact that Jesus is saying to his eye.
When you wake up and see the harvest.
I want you to open your eyes, not simply when you're in here, in order that you might read the Bible, but when you're out of here, in order that you might see the people and what he saying here is that the seed that is sold, the seed sown in this woman's life is already bearing fruit in the harvest of the advancing Samaritans. Now this parable of one sewing and another reaping is capable of all kinds of interpretations some of said that Jesus is referencing John the Baptist and his Preparatory work in now is disciples are entering into the benefits of reaping what John himself its own all kinds of legitimate ways, I think, in which we might make application of this but it's hard not to see ultimately John chapter 12 and verse 24 in Jesus statement and for this, you're going to have to turn to it. Otherwise, it will make no sense at all. John chapter 12 and verse 23 people at common wanted to see Jesus. Verse 23 on hearing this, Jesus replied, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many see Jesus is predicting his death isn't.
It is only as the seed of the life of the Lord Jesus is sown in death. The death of the cross that the fruit of eternal life may be reaped by anyone and in an ultimate sense. It is Jesus who has finished the work so that we might enter into the benefits of that for which we did not so far we have reaped from his work. Eternal life, and when takes hold of our lives, then we will understand that he intends for those who have been so changed to be the agents for change and for reaping in the lives of others. That's why last time we tried to anchor. Chapter 4 in chapter 3, and I invite you just turn by one page to chapter 3 to verse 16 all over again. We said it was the most famous verse probably in John may be in the Bible look at it again.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. There's a sense in which you when you going to chapter 4 and see it's true. In chapter 3, but it seems more graphic in chapter 4 chapter 4 if you like begins to give us an immediate portrayed of what that means in action. What is it mean that God is love the world.
Well, it means that the that the message of the good news is not restricted to the Jew. It breaks the boundaries of that and bleeds over into the Samaritan world, and indeed this the harvest amongst these Samaritans is the indication. The first indication in John's Gospel of the fact of the inclusive nature of the gospel of the universal nature of the Gospels appeal that it is for all men and all women everywhere God so loved the world that he gave his only son, and that there is eternal life as we saw in verse 15 of chapter 3 or all who believe. I was just underlying this God is our seeking and saving God that gives the lie to the notion that an actual fact, men are seeking for God and God somehow is hiding from them know that's not true. Men and women today may be seeking for peace. They may be seeking for fulfillment.
They may be seeking for all kinds of things but they are not seeking God but God is seeking them.
He is the God who comes to Adam and Eve in the garden and says, where are you if we were to believe the way it is told to us by anthropologists and sociologists. It is the absolute reverse of that is the God is a way hiding somewhere and Adam and Eve are going on the garden going where are you where are you I'm looking for. You know, Adam and Eve are highly look at John chapter 3 what is it say this is the verdict 19. Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. So you have these two things set side-by-side men and women hiding in the darkness and the light of the world coming to penetrate that darkness. Here the darkness is represented in the actual experience of this no-name woman at the well and into the darkness of her life comes the light of Jesus, which, first of all, is a painful light in that it shows up her dark spots, but it is a purifying light insofar as it shows her condition in order that it might radically change her condition.
Jesus Christ is the light that penetrates our darkness to a great reminder about the power of the gospel from Alister big today's message is titled come see a man in your listing to Truth for Life. As Alister mentioned God. He is a seeking and a saving God is a God who loves us and who offers every one of us the free gift of eternal life. That's the message of the gospel and it's a message that author Roger Carswell loves to share with others that Roger has written a book called facing a task I'm finished this book reminds us that our call from God is to share the good news of the gospel with others. This is not a how-to book. Instead it is a book written to help stir in each of us a fresh desire to tell people we know about how they can experience new life in Christ as you read facing a task I'm finished, you'll find yourself more motivated to pray for the salvation of others and for the needs of the world around us.
In the course of the year.
You can even keep a record of your prayers in the space that's provided at the end of each entry find inspiration to share your faith with others in the weekly devotional facing a task unfinished requester copy today along with our thanks when you make a one time donation. Simply tap the image of the mobile app or visit Truth for Life.org/donate or you can give us a call at 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139. If you're a regular listener to Truth for Life. You know that we routinely invite you to open your Bible because the mission the Truth for Life is to teach the Bible and to clearly explain the text exactly as God has given it to us as we come to understand God's word our trust in him and in his promises grows as a way to encourage you to read scripture on your own. Throughout the year. We want to recommend you consider using a Bible reading plan. We have a Bible reading calendar that's available you can download the reading schedule for free Truth for Life.org or you can purchase a printed version for one dollar go to Truth for Life.org/store Bob Lapine thanks for joining us.
Be sure to listen again tomorrow for the conclusion of our message as Alister explains where true freedom is found as part of our current series titled alike in the dark. The Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living