Summary: Do you have an eternal perspective like Jesus does? Or are you focused solely on temporal needs like health, prosperity, healing, personal comfort and relationships? That’s where the disciples’ perspective was in our passage. That
When you deal with people, it doesn’t take very long to realize something. People are different. And because people are different, they can see the same thing in different ways. Police know this. As a matter of fact, they expect it. One of the ways that police know whether people are lying or not is if their stories match too well. When they begin to question the suspects in a case, they expect their stories to differ significantly. If they all come in with the same story, it means that they spent time together rehearsing their stories to make sure they matched. By the way, that’s one of the ways we know that the four Gospels are true. People often ask why there are four gospels in the Bible. And then they follow that question by asking why the accounts of Jesus’ life in the four gospels are different. First of all, the reason that they focus on different things is because the Holy Spirit inspired it to be that way. But secondly, they are that way because of the different perspectives of the human authors. John was a fisherman who had a tremendous love for people. He had a completely different background and perspective than Matthew or Luke. Luke was a doctor with an eye for detail and historical accuracy. Matthew was a tax collector with an eye for all things Jewish, especially the messianic rule of the Son of David. All four Gospels are 100% accurate. There is no confusion or error in them, even when details of certain events like the resurrection are told differently by each of them. The events are simply told from different perspectives. In that way, different perspectives are a good thing. You see things from your perspective and I see things from my perspective. When we get together and discuss those different perspectives, it can give us a better picture of what’s really going on. But sometimes, our differing perspectives aren’t so good. They aren’t so good because, unlike the authors of the four Gospels, we aren’t protected from error by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Each of us makes mistakes. We each have our prejudices. We each have our biases. We each have things that we bring to the table that can get in the way of doing what we’re supposed to do as the Body of Christ. So how do we overcome that? We have to look at things differently. Not necessarily from my perspective. Not necessarily from your perspective. But we have to look at things from Jesus’ perspective. How does He see the problem? How does He look at things? And we can only know that from examining and studying and preaching and teaching His Word. In our passage this morning, we see a very dramatic difference of perspective. It is a perfect example of two people seeing the exact same thing, but seeing it completely differently. Remember where we are. Jesus had brought His disciples into the Samaritan town of Sychar. He brought them there because He had a personal appointment with the woman at the well. The appointment was meant to be a one-on-one encounter, so verse 4 tells us that when they got into town, the disciples went off to buy some food. That makes sense, right? They had been travelling by foot for a long way. They probably hadn’t eaten along the way. It was probably late in the day so they were hungry. It only makes sense to go get some food. By the way, this speaks very well of the disciples. They were probably initially shocked that Jesus would want to go through Samaria. But they trusted Him enough that, once they got there, they weren’t shy about getting food from the Samaritans. This seems to me to be one of the first times when those historical prejudices were beginning to melt with the disciples. Certainly not all the way—but it was a start. So, they were off in town getting food. Jesus was evangelizing the woman at the well. He was telling her the good news of who He is. He was bringing her to new life in Him. He showed her her sin and then He showed her her Savior. And as soon as Jesus revealed to her that He is Christ… that He is the Messiah she was looking for… guess who showed up? The disciples were back from their shopping trip and showed up right at that moment. Now, here’s what I find interesting. Look back at verse 27. The disciples had just heard Jesus reveal the fact that He is the Christ. He is the Messiah that the Jews and Samaritans had been waiting for. What an amazing announcement! But what were the disciples amazed at? What were they marveling about? They were marveling about the fact that Jesus was talking to a woman! What a difference of perspective! But at least they had enough presence of mind to keep their amazement to themselves. And then in verses 28-30, it’s almost anticlimactic in the way that they perceive what’s going on. Oh yeah—this woman gets up, leaves her water pot and tells all the men in town about Jesus. But hey—let’s get on to more important matters. What’s for supper? That’s exactly where we are when we get to verse 31. A woman had just gotten saved. But not just a woman. A tremendously sinful woman. A tremendously sinful Samaritan woman. Jesus had just saved someone that they thought He shouldn’t even be talking to. OK, no big deal—let’s eat. Now, don’t get me wrong here. It’s not my intention to paint the disciples as being heartless. It’s my intention to paint the disciples the way that Scripture paints them. Which is the same way that Scripture paints us. The point is that they had a completely different perspective than Jesus did. They were focused on completely different things. Jesus was focused on the eternal. He had an eternal perspective. The disciples were focused on their immediate needs and wants. They had a temporal perspective. What is your perspective this morning? Do you know how you can tell? Listen to your own prayers sometime. What do you ask for? For most of us, the vast majority of our petitions to the Lord are for temporal things. Things that only affect this lifetime. Health, prosperity, healing, comfort, relationships. Those requests aren’t bad. We should pray for those things. But they’re not the only thing we should pray for. As a matter of fact, they probably shouldn’t be the things we pray most for. Because those things tell us about where our perspective is. Is our perspective focused on the things around us that are only going to last a little while? Or is our perspective focused on the things that are going to last forever. When you read this passage, it can sound strange. It can sound like Jesus and the disciples are having two different conversations together. That’s because they are. Jesus is confronting the disciples’ perspective. It’s as if He’s placing His hands on their cheeks like you do with a child. He’s taking their little faces and moving their gaze from their temporal focus to an eternal focus. In verse 35, Jesus told them, “Lift up your eyes.” That’s what He’s doing here. The disciples were just like we are. They couldn’t see the eternal needs around them because they were too focused on what’s for supper. Jesus changed their perspective. And He can change your perspective this morning. All you have to do is lift up your eyes. Jesus wants you to lift up your eyes and see six things this morning. First, He wants you to see the standard.