Can One Person Make A Difference? Pt 2
…continued from “CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE Pt1”
Jesus sets the pattern of personal evangelism & building the Kingdom of God for us to follow. For over 2000 years, people have debated on the integrity, identity and legacy of Him, however; there is 1 thing that stands out in all the gospels of HIS life – Jesus was a friend of sinners. They liked being around Him. They were comfortable with Him & longed for His company. Unlike the legalists who despised Him, they found Him revolting, shocking, inappropriate… but by following the example of Jesus’ life, He showed us where our “pulpit” is. By spending most of His ministry time among tax collectors, sinners & the such, He did not separate Himself, but took common men and in just 3 ½ years transformed them into fearless disciples. They were living proof that Christ transforms people.
We must ask ourselves - what was Jesus’ secret? What was it that made Him so effective?The Gospel of John 4 records the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. “He must needs go to Samaria…”, to a city called Sychar, which means “falsehood & drunkenness.” It also means “purchased.” Any respectable Jew of the day would normally take great pains to avoid Samaria. Jews Never associated with Samaritans, because they thought they were unclean, contaminated people, but not Jesus! He had to go…
There was a Samaritan woman who was a known adulterer, she was His key to the city. She had been married 5 times, and now had a “situation.” Imagine the shock to the religious community of seeing a respected leader of that time strike up a conversation with a woman of such ill repute in broad daylight! I love it because He could care less about their hypocritical, self-righteousness. “That was like unto whited sepulchers, which appear beautiful on the outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness…” (Matthew 23:27).
Adding to the scandal was the fact that the woman drew water from the well at noon. Water was typically drawn in the morning, but this woman had too much shame to run into others at the well who had gossiped about her latest escapades… and there is Jesus, showing up right in the middle of- her routine, her shame, her pain, her longing for love… He shows and asks for a drink. He didn’t care about what others thought. He talked to her regardless of their opinions and expressions! Then He offers her “living water” so she won’t thirst again. Jesus identifies Himself with her thirst!
He sat on the well, tired from a long journey, hoping for something cool to drink. That simple move engages and wins her confidence. She says, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water” (v15). Jesus says, “Go call your husband and come back” (v16). Um… well… uh… “I have NO HUSBAND” (v17). “You are right, you have had 5 husbands, and the man you are shacking up with is not your husband!”
Jesus did not bring up this woman’s history to shame her. No, He was making it very clear that He knew her, what she had done and what she was presently doing. And that He still wanted to be in relationship with her! That’s some amazing unconditional love and acceptance!
She dropped her water pots and went into the town (the one she had avoided earlier), and said, “come see a man, could this be the Messiah?” What was it that made this woman turn from “shame and pain” to “proud and purposeful”? Where she runs into town and starts bragging about the fact that her past has been exposed? One encounter with the kind of intentionality, humility and authenticity Jesus demonstrated at the well transforms lives!
These are the 3 things that made Jesus effective in transforming a life that we MUST embrace:
- INTENTIONALITY: [Jesus was INTENTIONAL] - Intentional simply means = “on-purpose.” We must become “soul conscious” with “target evangelism” to reap the harvest.
Jesus’ passage through Samaria wasn’t the result of bad maps or poor planning, His conversation with this woman was not an “accident.” It was an intentional decision. Our conscious intentions determine our direction! They are our way of “aiming for what matters the most in life and making us “mindful” or to “pay attention in a particular way.”
- HUMILITY: [Jesus had a disposition of HUMBLENESS] – He was not: arrogant or prideful, showing deferential or submissive respect, or unpretentious.
When Jesus spoke to the woman, He met her on her terms. He did not talk down to her, or approach her with a holier-than-thou attitude! Out of humility He extended to her a countercultural respect that scandalized everyone, even His disciples. Jesus’ respect for the Samaritan woman created possibilities that had not been there before. An encounter with a Samaritan adulteress and a Rabbi should have ignited a firestorm… BUT IT DID NOT!
Instead, Jesus’ humility set into motion an unlikely conversation that created space for openness, honesty, and ultimately life transformation.
“I long to accomplish great & noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great & noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of it’s heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker” – Helen Keller.
Humility not only can move the world along, it can actually turn the world upside down.
- AUTHENTICITY: In a move that shocked the Samaritan woman, when Jesus told her “everything she had ever done”, He demonstrated the highest form of His respect.
By offering her a relationship with Him based on who she was, not who she should have been, He authentically modeled the kind of intentional humility that creates an atmosphere of trust and a potential for change. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. That’s how we are going to win “this city”, your family! Successful evangelism is accomplished by genuinely caring for one person at a time!
God is throwing a dinner party, and we are the host! “Go bring them in… that My house may be full…” Look who’s coming to dinner!
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