Summary: The 3rd in a series of sermons adapted from David Platt's "Radical" series. In this sermon we discusss the urgent need for evangelism and missions.
Text: John 4:27 – 42
I want to read you something that one of our brothers in India wrote while he was imprisoned for sharing the Gospel. He had been beaten and thrown in prison for preaching the Gospel and someone had written to him asking him if it was still worth it being a Christian. Listen to what he wrote in reply.
“In this world; nothing gives me happiness except for my service to Christ. While I live, I must serve Him. After death, I shall have heaven for ever, but only for a short time am I a servant here, so I must not waste the opportunity. Yes it is worth it.”
What is most urgent in our lives? In our lives, what is the most important thing that needs to be done while we are on this earth? Look at verse 4 from this same chapter (Read John 4:4). The NIV reads that Jesus “had” to pass through Samaria, but I like the NKJV translation here. It says He “needed” to go through Samaria. Most of you probably have maps in the back of your Bibles but in-case you don’t I’ve added one to the power point. And you notice that Samaria is right in between Judea and Galilee. Now that doesn’t mean that you “HAD” to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. In-fact most devout Jews would circumvent the area of Samaria. They would go up through Perea in order to bypass Samaria. The reason for that was because the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. They were seen as 2nd class humans, or worse. So it wasn’t like Jesus needed to go through Samaria because that was the only route; no… He needed to go through Samaria because of this encounter we read about in our text. And again; here we have Jesus breaking down cultural stereotypes and disregarding the prejudices of men. And you know what? That’s part of the Good News. Think about it… what if Jesus had been as prejudice as the typical Jewish person of His time? Gentiles were just as bad if not worse than the Samaritans. If Jesus had these racial prejudices, we wouldn’t be saved would we? In one of his books; C.S. Lewis talks about the surprises of heaven. He says that we’ll be surprised at some of the people that will be there. We’ll be surprised at some of the people who aren’t there. And probably the biggest surprise is that we are there.
Verse 6 says that Jesus was wearied from His journey. He was tired of traveling. This shows us His humanity… and so the disciples go into town to buy some food. Now I don’t know about you, but here’s what I think. Jesus was tired, and that shows us His humanity, but He is also fully God, and thus He had to know that this woman would be coming to the well. So it’s my personal opinion that he sent His disciples on into town to fetch some food, not so much because He was physically hungry, but so that they wouldn’t interfere with the ministry that was about to take place with this Samaritan woman. Have you ever experienced that? You’re trying to speak to someone about something important and someone else who isn’t really part of the conversation, and really doesn’t have a good grasp of what’s going on, tries to chime in and they end up making things worse? I think maybe… just maybe this is what Jesus avoided by sending the disciples in for food. But then they come back – Verse 27 – and they see what’s happening. Now let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. Here’s Jesus talking with a Samaritan… and not only a Samaritan, but also a woman.
The Pharisees had a prayer that they would pray weekly and it went like this: “Thank God that I am not a Samaritan, a Gentile, or a Woman.” And that was the mindset that many of these religious Jewish men had. And so when they see this; it’s bordering on scandalous. Not only that. If you were a Rabi, you didn’t speak to a woman – especially alone without their husband present. But what we’re seeing here is that Jesus’ desire to reach the lost trumps all cultural tradition. How many of ya’ll know that tradition can get in the way of ministry? Well anyway… the disciples had come back and verse 27 says they “marveled” at what they saw. I can see them walking up… it’s probably Peter in the lead and then; he sees what’s happening (put hands out to stop the rest / look around) “He’s talking to a woman?!?” Then verse 28 says that the woman left her water pot and went into town.