I have always believed that there is something about the nature and character of God that causes Him to love people who are humble, poor and broken. The Bible tells us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God loves humility, but He hates pride. Perhaps this has something to do with what we read in John 4-
John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
Jesus was drawn to Samaria. What was it about Samaria that made it necessary for the Savior to go there? I believe that He went there because He knew that Samaria contained many broken souls ready to be harvested. Perhaps that is why some of the greatest fields of evangelism in the world today people living the poor countries.
I. The Conflict With the Samaritans
We have already looked at the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans; therefore we do not have to say a lot again. During the days of Jesus, the average Jew would go way out of his way to avoid having to come in contact with a Samaritan. They would add a hundred miles or more to their journey, just to keep from stepping foot in Samaria. Many of the Samaritans were half Jew and half Gentile, and therefore trash in the eyes of the average Jew.
Yet while the Jews hated the Samaritans, the Savior loved them. He did not love their sin, but He loved their souls. The Bible says that God has chosen the poor of this world to be the ones rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom. I think that we’re going to be very surprised when we get to heaven and see who is there and who is not.
II. The Contrast Between the Samaritans and the Jews
John 1 tells us something very important about the ministry of Jesus.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
A. The Jews
The Bible teaches us that Jesus was a Jew, yet He was rejected by the Jews. Even unto this very day, most Jews do not accept Jesus as their Savior. Why do the Jews reject Jesus?
Much of it had to do with their concept of someone known as ‘The Messiah’, or ‘The Christ.’ ‘Messiah’ is Hebrew version of the Greek word ‘Christ.’ The Messiah and the Christ are the same person. Who or what is the Messiah or the Christ?
In preparation for this message, I went online and searched for the Jewish concept of the Messiah and here is what I found. The title ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ means – the Anointed One. The Jews believe that the Messiah will be someone anointed by God to become the king of Israel. Scripture indicates that He is the son of David, therefore it is anticipated that His kingdom will be great. He will be a great military leader who will lead them to victory in their battles. In addition, He will bring peace to Israel and will restore them back to a place of greatness and cause Jerusalem to become the center of all world government. Perhaps this explains not only why the Jews reject Jesus and will readily receive a man scripture calls the Antichrist. The Antichrist will court the nation of Israel with all of these promises and cause them to believe that he is their Messiah. Yet like with any false lover, there will come a time when Israel will realize that they have been deceived.
The Bible says that the gospel of Christ is – “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
Through faith in Jesus Christ, anyone can be saved. This gracious gift of forgiveness was given first to the Jews. But the Jews did not receive it.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
They did not receive salvation because they did not receive the Savior. In their eyes, there was no way that their Messiah would be such a common, ordinary man. In their eyes, they did not need someone to make them the children of God; they were already the children of God! Abraham was their father.
Yet what the Jews of Jesus’ day did not understand that was before the Crown, there had to be a Cross. The Crown will come one day during a time period known as the Millennial Kingdom. But before the Crown, there had to be a Cross. Before Christ can rule a nation, He first has to rule a heart.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
B. The Samaritans
In stark contrast to the Jews were the Samaritans. It’s unclear exactly what the Samaritans believed about the Messiah. They believed in a coming king, yet perhaps they wondered what their relationship would be with Him. For centuries they had been the social outcasts of society who were rejected and scorned. Would the Messiah accept them because they were part Jew, or would He reject them because they were part Gentile?
How does the Messiah feel about people such as the Samaritans? Consider these prophetic words from the book of Isaiah –
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord, to glorify Him. (CSB)
The Messiah would come to heal the broken hearted. He would come to set free those who were being held in spiritual bondage. The Samaritans were perfect candidates for salvation. Jesus said – “for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Unlike the Jews, pride was not an obstacle for the Samaritans. As a matter of fact, the gospels reveal that there was something special about the spirit of the Samaritans. Perhaps you will remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Or maybe you will remember the story of Jesus healing ten lepers and only the Samaritan leper returned to give Him thanks. We see also from the book Acts how God continued to work among the Samaritans. It was in Samaria that Philip experienced a many turning to Christ. And later we read from the book of Acts –
Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria …
Christians in Samaria became a vital part of the early church.
III. The Conversion of the Samaritans
There are many lessons we can learn from Jesus’ journey into Samaria, but in closing I would like to focus on just two.
A. Lesson #1 – Anyone Can Receive Salvation
One of the greatest lessons we can learn from Christ’s ministry in Samaria is that anyone can receive His salvation. You don’t have of a certain nationality or race. You don’t have to be ‘good enough.’ The Apostle Paul wrote – “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim 1:15) We read from the book of Romans – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10;13)
1. Sinful individuals such as the Samaritan woman
2. Sinful friends and acquaintances
John 4:28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
Note that among the first to hear was a group called – ‘the men.’ We’re not told exactly who these men were but no doubt they were a part of her past. They were not dignities and city officials. Like herself, they were a part of the rough crowd. Yet they too could be saved.
3. Sinful cities and nations
John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
The word ‘many’ refers to a large number of people. As we continue to read we see-
John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word…
A great spiritual awakening was happening in the land. Lives were being changed. Homes were being saved. The power of God was sweeping across the city.
We should note how they were being saved.
John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
They were saved the same way everyone must be said. They believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Spirit of God brought conviction to their hearts. They were convicted of their sins and they were convinced that Jesus was the Savior.
B. Lesson #2 – Anyone Can Help Bring Others to Christ
Tell me, if you were going to plan a revival, would you begin with someone like the Samaritan woman? If you wanted to start a church, would you go to the roughest part of town and talk to the most sinful people? Amazingly enough that seems to be what Jesus did in Samaria.
Perhaps it was because He knew that pride often stands in the way of many receiving Him as their Savior. On one occasion He told the religious Jews that until they realized they were blind, He couldn’t give them sight. Until a man realizes that he is lost, he can’t be saved.
“Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” Who in the world would run into town and shout this to their friends? Only someone who was excited about the possibility of being forgiven.