Welcome to the first post in this series. This week, one of the passages I read was John chapter 4. In it, Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman at a well and heals an official's son. I've also taken some ideas for this post from the sermon today (what I heard of it in between Lyndon's fussing).
One tool I've used in the past to meditate on Scripture is to write:
Then we fill in the blanks. So, in this passage...
God: sees into a woman's life and heart, and loves her anyway (v.1-26)
heals someone instantly from a distance (i.e. is infinitely powerful) (v.50-53)
shows extraordinary kindness to outcasts and misfits
I: cannot hide anything from God
will not be rejected by Him once I've been redeemed, even for my worst deeds
can be forgiven and have my thirst for sin taken away (v.13-14)
will not be turned away because of a lack of faith (v.48-50)
Jesus loves the lost. More specifically, Jesus loves the lost that nobody else loves. Samaritans were despised by Jews, and a loose, immoral Samaritan woman would have been about as far on the edges of society as you could get without catching leprosy. Also, John doesn't specify what kind of official this is, but he's probably a Roman, i.e. a member of the occupying army of oppressors... a real popular guy, I'm sure. Jesus isn't afraid to engage them both in conversation, and meaningful conversation at that. He also doesn't let their social status or brokenness get in the way of His redemptive work. How glad I am that God doesn't shy away from messy, awkward, broken people (like me).
On the flip side, do I shy away from messy, awkward people and the kinds of interactions they produce? Do I turn my holier-than-thou nose up at the girl with the tongue ring? the teenagers walking in the middle of the road? the woman dressed like a streetwalker? Do I think of myself as better than them? Absolutely. At the same time, am I a little intimidated by them? Yep. Scared to death at the prospect of having to engage them in conversation? You betcha.
No wonder I'm a lousy evangelist. But, as this passage shows, not only is Jesus my example, he's also my motivation. If he went to all that trouble to pursue me, in all of my brokenness and squalor, how can I not do the same for others? How can I not at least attempt to show them some of that love?