Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Irreligious Message of Jesus

Last time we talked about Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana and then discussed the effect this miracle had on two groups of people: the religious and the thirsty.

To carry on with that theme I would like to look at another passage (John 4:4-26) where Jesus’ concern for a thirsty person overrode his concern for ritual adherence. But in order for you to understand what I am saying you need to understand a bit about who I am and where I am from.

The reality of my upbringing can be summarized this way: if life is a five-step race, by virtue of my parents, I had a four step head-start. Mom and Dad (Linda and Delmas to their friends) loved the Lord authentically, they loved each other passionately, and they loved Chris – my younger brother – and me unconditionally. Mom and Dad worked hard to model good morals and ethical behavior for us and they, as much as any two people I have ever known, really desired to live lives which conformed to the image of Christ and the standards of the Scriptures.

One of the ways Mom and Dad attempted to model the Christ-life for Chris and me was to diligently be in the “right” place, at the “right” time, with the “right” people, for the “right” purpose. What I caught from my parents and other important people God has subsequently brought into my life is that the “right” place isn’t just church and the “right” time isn’t always convenient and the “right” person isn’t always clean or sober or morally principled.

It’s hard to explain but Mom and Dad – Mom especially – had a capacity for turning the wrong place into the right place and the wrong time into the right time. They had a knack for living out the principles which Jesus models via His Samaritan missional adventure in John 4 and in so doing taught Chris and me something about God’s perspective on right and wrong.

Over the next few days let’s see what we can learn from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman. Let’s observe how Jesus

1. Turned the wrong place into the right place

2. Was right on time by arriving at the wrong time

3. Exuded the love of God by being willing to compromise His ability to participate in religious rituals for the sake of this less-than-desirable woman

4. Kept His mission the main thing in the midst of temptation and misunderstanding

5. Saw the harvest in spite of religious and racial prejudices

Ready or not, here we go down the irreligious rabbit whole.

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