In our previous post, we spent time speaking about the law of action and reaction. In our current atmosphere of racial, emotional and physical strife, many are trying to figure out what our reactions should be to many things that are taking place. We mentioned previously that since we are Christians, we wanted to spend time looking at Jesus and how He dealt with situations of His day before we deal with ours, so here we go:
Action 1 – Reaction 1: The Woman At The Well: As you may recall, our first case-study took place in Samaria (see John 4:1-42). A tired Jesus stopped at a well in Sychar, then an unnamed woman approached the same well to get water. She was a Samaritan, He was a Jew. The two groups were bitter enemies, so a meeting of this magnitude could have gone very badly, but it didn’t. Jesus is the first to speak and asked the woman for water. She was surprised a Jew (and a man) would talk to her, let alone ask her for a drink, but Jesus’ plan for her was greater than she imagined.
Jesus doesn’t speak down or avoid discourse with this woman. He speaks to her as a human being, a soul, and a precious child in need of salvation. In their conversion, we learned things about this woman that may give insight as to why she would come to the well at noon (the sixth hour), when the sun was blazing and why she was all alone. She was avoiding others because of her lifestyle, yet Jesus did not treat her as others did, but spoke to her kindly, gave her encouragement and answered her heart’s questions. Because of this interaction, she went to the very people she was avoiding to tell them that she had met the Messiah. Jesus showed here that He was (and still is) no respecter of race, gender or economic class, but came to give life and hope to all.
Action 2 – Reaction 2: The Good Samaritan: The parable of The Good Samaritan is filled with object lessons for us all. In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus shared this story in response to a question He was asked about knowing who your neighbor is. He explained that a man (perhaps a Jew) got attacked and left to die on his way to Jericho. A few men passed by (first a priest and then a Levite), saw the man, but they did nothing to help. In fact, they passed on the other side to avoid him. Later, a Samaritan passed that same way, saw the man, had compassion on him and helped him. The Samaritan nurses the man’s wounds, placed him on his own beast, and carried him to an inn to continue taking care of him there. He even paid the inn-keeper to take care of the man, promising to return to pay whatever would be owed afterwards. Many love this beautiful story of self-sacrifice and love, but few truly do it. It is easy to show kindness to someone of your same culture and nationality; but when the enemy of your people is in need, what do you do? Do your biases force you to cross the other side and continue going about your business? The Lord showed us here that our neighbor is the one is in need, despite whatever race, sex or culture that person is from. Are your eyes (and hearts) open to seeing the needs of others?
Action 3 – Reaction 3: The Contagious: In Matthew 8:1-4, Jesus encountered a man with leprosy. This contagious disease was highly feared among the people (COVID-19 anyone?) and some saw it as a judgement of God when one contracted it. People with leprosy would have to be quarantined or move to a leper colony to live with others who were suffering from it. It was The Dreaded Disease of ancient times.
In Matthew 8, this leper approached Jesus after hearing the power He had to heal people. It was already risky to appear in public with leprosy, but a desperate person will do desperate things to get help. He asked Jesus to heal Him and right away, Jesus stretched out His hand, touched Him and healed him. He touched him. To touch someone with leprosy was a fearful thing, but not to Jesus. Despite the contagious nature of the disease, this illness was powerless in the presence of the All-Powerful Christ. After Jesus healed the man, He encouraged him to go to the priest and bring an offering as was mentioned in the law of Moses. Throughout His interaction with the leprous man, Jesus showed him love and dignity, and never treated him partially even if he was sick. We may not have this gift of healing disease, but we can help those who are suffering and sick in many ways. Are you doing what you can to help others?
Our Example in all things has showed us how to treat our enemies, how to help those who are hurting and how to meet the needs of those who are suffering. It is easy to look at people who are broken and on the streets and cross to the other side to avoid them, but this is not what Jesus taught. A Christian is a follower of Christ. If you are claiming that title, make sure you are actually doing and following in the footsteps of the Teacher.
Coming up next, we will be doing a presentation called ‘Counteraction: The Christian’s Response to Oppression and Inequality. Join us for the discussion and get involved in change.