Tuesday, June 30, 2020

No Jesus - No Peace - Know Jesus - Know Peace

“He [Jesus] left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’ For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” – John 4:3-9

We normally focus on the woman at the well in these verses. But I want to focus on the phrase “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans”. I was told once that Jews would not travel through Samaria they held so much disdain for the people.  The trouble between the Jews (inhabitants of the Judah, the southern kingdom) and Samaritans began immediately after the division of the northern kingdom (Israel) and Judah, the southern kingdom (Jerusalem), as Samaria was the capital city of the northern kingdom (with Jeroboam as her first king). Rehoboam assembled an army to make war against Israel to reunite the kingdom, but God intervened through His prophet Shemiah (1 Kings 12:21-24). The animosity was passed from one generation to the next.  The divide between the people was great – and seemingly impossible to resolve.

Ethnic groups, people of different nationalities continue to struggle with division, hatred even.  My point is that as bad as that problem us in this country, it is not isolated to this country. It is born out of the sinful nature of man. And, since its source is sin, the only solution is spiritual. I remember a line in “Ground Hog Day”, when the weather man and the director prayed for world peace right before they drank in a bar. That really seems so antithetical as I type out those words. World peace is a pipe dream. That will only happen when Jesus returns. Until then, the sinful nature of man rules the nations. Peace and conflict ebb and flow through generations. The lack of physical conflict does not mean that there is not hatred abiding in the hearts of men and women.  People are mistreated because their faith is different, because their customs are different, because their skins is a different color – because they are not like the ones who oppress them.  Often, their only choice or to conform or die. The extreme is sometimes they are not given that choice to live. That is called genocide. Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. It is happening in the world today.  If they can’t make you like them, they will do away with you. 

That is man’s solution to the problem of people being different.  Peaceful coexistence is a myth – apart from some intervention. Force will not change a person’s heart, but it can change their behavior. There is a saying, “You can make me do it, but you can’t make me like it.” In a simple sense like making your children clean their room or saying they are sorry to their brother or sister.  Laws carry a consequence for not obeying them – at least that is their intent and result if applied fairly to all. But that doesn’t happen either, does it?  But the intent of laws is to control behavior – wrong doing – protect the public interest. But laws don’t change hearts and really limit behavior for some.  That is one reason why the prisons are full.

So what to do. God chose to intervene. To not change behavior first with laws but to change hearts first. Hearts that would want to adhere to what is right and good because they want to, not because they have to.  He sent His Son to establish a new order of things where people loved Him and others more than themselves.  Where they did not demand that people must be like them physically, culturally, ethnically, naturally but that they would be bound together through their spiritual commonality. Their faith in Jesus. Having the same Spirit. So how did that work out? Not perfectly. The problem is that those same people still struggle with their old nature – their sinful nature. People – Christians – still struggle with separation in the Body of Christ because of the natural that rails against the spiritual. 

Does that mean that all is lost – that it is hopeless? By no means! What it means is that the Church must recognize the problem and repent. Both the Samaritans and Jews. Their must be a heart change. The country is looking for a social change.  Some are turning to violence to make people change their minds. It will not change hearts. As a society that rejects God for the most part, it can only treat the symptom not the illness.  And what is the role of the Christians in this country? Repent and show the world what “Right looks like.”  Not by self-effort, but by the power or the Spirit – through unity and love. Not because we have to but because we want to.

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

That verse has been used to apply to our country – but I think it is more appropriately applied to the Body of Christ. Only the Spirit of God can bring unity in the Body of Christ, and that can happen only when Christians rend their hearts and yield them to the Spirit. Stop making excuses and repent. There is a song by the Beatles that goes, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” I would change that to “All we are saying is give JESUS a chance.” We are not going to change the world – that is not our job – our job is to let the light of Christ shine through our lives and relationships and lift Jesus up.

Peace I [Jesus] leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

No comments: