Are You Concerned About The Right Matter?
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” — John 4:21-24
This short dialogue between Jesus and this woman is fascinating. First, the discussion begins with a basic human need — water. Second, the conversation turns to a discussion about a different kind of water — eternal life. Third, it takes a personal turn by addressing the woman's personal and perpetual sin — she's an adulterer and fornicator. And then, fourth, they are now talking about matters of religious debate — locations and types of worship. And it's this part of the discussion that I find very interesting.
They end up arguing about who's attending the right church. But Jesus is not going to argue with her about this because this matter doesn't matter. The issue for Jesus is not the location of worship but the nature of worship — spirit, and truth. And the nature of worship can only be understood by looking beyond temporal matters of debate to what God has been revealing throughout history. Therefore Jesus is not going to argue with her about her national pride, her woke religious beliefs, what her early church fathers have declared, nor her race and gender. He does not get hung up on these things. Now, I don't think he ignores them. He sees and hears them, but he will not let any of these matters keep him from presenting the thing that really matters. He knows she wants to know and worship God. And what is so laughable about this moment is that worship is about to happen on this mountain, in this historical location. The God of all worship is standing right in front of her, and all she has to do if she wants to worship God is get down on her knees.
So here's the application. As believers, we need to do a better job of presenting the truth to those who do not know Jesus. This requires us to see past peripheral matters to get to the issue that really matters. Therefore this might mean we are going to have to look beyond the prejudices we have about others. Their race, gender, political beliefs, religious beliefs, hurts, hang-ups, perpetual sin, and misunderstandings about God to discover their real needs, issues, and questions regarding spiritual matters. The only way we can do this is by setting our prejudices and norms aside and seeing people spiritually.
I believe that is why Jesus doesn't argue with her about these things. They are not his primary concern. And he is willing to risk breaking a few cultural prejudices to get to her heart so she will see everything from a different perspective.
So today, when you interact with people that don't know Jesus, don't get hung up on all the wrong things about them. That's how they are supposed to act. We are the ones who are supposed to act differently. See past the peripheral issues in their life and look at them spiritually. See them as spiritual people on a quest to know God. And when the time is right, challenge yourself to break from your matters so they might know the one who really matters — Jesus.
ASK THIS: Who is that person you need to see differently?
DO THIS: Begin by seeing them as a spiritual person, and ask God to give you an opportunity for a meaningful spiritual conversation.
PRAY THIS: God, help me to see past the issues I have to the issues they have. Rescue them, Lord. And use my words and willingness to direct them to you.
PLAY THIS: Came To My Rescue.
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short | practical | biblical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.
I honestly think that the interaction with Jesus and the woman at the well was a perfect example of going out and making disciples as commanded by the Great Commission. The church in America has watered down making disciples by thinking that we make disciples out of those in the church who have accepted Christ as their Savior. The church was designed to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. We need to disciple to make converts , not make converts to disciple.
Amen Vince, what I constantly bring to mind is there go I but for the grace of God. Lets continue to pray for our lost family and friends, and Love God and serve the world.
“See past the peripheral issues in their life and see them spiritually.”
This speaks to me. Goes along with some of what I have been feeling. I struggle with figuring out how to love a person doing something SO over the top “wrong” with out feeling like I am sacrificing truth and morals or right living. I have deemed Mathew 22:37-40 as my KISS verse. When things seem overwhelming I have to Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Mathew 22:37-40 He answered saying Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two comandments hang all the laws and the prophets.
Just love God. Love people. And let Father, Son, and Holy spirit lead, guide, direct, and design the rest.
The way I love them is as Christ loved me when I was but a sinner. Because in the end that is it. I love them as “myself” because I WAS THEM. Their SPECIFIC sin or struggle, no. But THEM as in one lost who needs Jesus! I believe if I focus on God and following Jesus the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say in the right time to speak truth IN LOVE. That is my peace and prayer in a confusing world.
Trent – I absolutely love your statement “I love them as myself, because I was THEM.” Amen brother!
Trent thanks for sharing this and it resonates strongly with me. I have recently become involved with prison ministry and it has changed my whole way of looking at people who are “different” than me. It is beautiful to meet “thirsty” men right where the are at. I too was thirsty once and that I cannot forget.
Great words Trent! Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing!