“You certainly spoke the truth!” – 4:18b NLT
Jesus makes a statement that leads to this woman speaking the truth about her situation. When we encounter Jesus, we are brought immediately to the point of truth. Jesus knows the truth about each of us. There is never a chance encounter with Jesus. Each one is planned to bring us face to face with the truth about ourselves. To receive salvation, each of us must admit that we have sinned and need forgiveness. Just as this woman realized that Jesus was more than a mere stranger, we must realize that Jesus is different from anyone we have ever encountered. Every meeting with Jesus requires us to make a decision. When a non-believer meets Jesus, their decision will leave them one step closer to hell or take them all the way to heaven.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
— Colossians 3:2 NLT
Before we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our thoughts were fixed on the things of this world. Our focus was on ourselves and our fleshly desires. What things can I do or indulge in that will make my life here more pleasurable? What will I do tomorrow and the next day? We gave little or no thought to the afterlife or where our souls would spend eternity. After we accepted Jesus, our focus started (or should have started) to change. We started to realize that there is more to life than possessions. We slowly began to understand that we are not the center of the universe. We felt our desires changing. The invisible became more important than the visible. Did we change ourselves? Of course not, if we could change ourselves, then Christ died in vain. God has placed Himself as the Holy Spirit inside of us and it is He that is making those changes in and for us. We are being transformed not by our own power but by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. Each of us should pray that we will have a teachable spirit and allow that process to continue until we are transformed into His image.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. — 1 John 3:23 NLT
Believe in Jesus and love one another. Simple to say, not so simple to do. How can we know that we truly believe in Jesus? Do we instantly change or do we suddenly feel different? Or is it a gradual change over the years? It is some of both, we are instantly saved the moment we believe. We may not feel any different but salvation is based on knowledge not on feelings or emotions although we may get emotional when it happens. Salvation is the foundation of Christianity, it is involved in our lifelong process of sanctification and it is the capstone of the completed temple God is building in our bodies. So, how do we know this process is taking place on a daily basis? Do we love others more or differently? Does the grief and sorrow of others affect us more than before? Is our outlook slowing changing from “what about me?” to “what can I do for Jesus and His Kingdom today?” Does it break our hearts to know that we have done or said something that hurt Jesus and His Kingdom? If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of us accomplishing what God wants in our lives. If the answers are no or I’m not sure, then perhaps it would not hurt to take another look at the foundation and see if it is solid.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 Cor. 5:14-17 NIV
Our human, finite minds cannot fully grasp the height, depth and width of the kind of love that would cause God to send His only Son to die on a cross for our sins. But, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are allowed a glimpse into the depth of that love. If we are truly convinced of that love, it should be more than enough to compel us to share His love and His story with others. He died for all of us and was raised again for our salvation. If we truly believe this, then we no longer see others through our eyes but through the eyes of Christ. Once, before we accepted Jesus as our Lord, we saw Him as the world sees Him, just a good man and teacher, but when we received the Holy Spirit, we began to see Jesus in a whole new way. Everything and everyone around us looks different because we are or should be looking at those around us just as Jesus sees them. As C S Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” Thus everything has become “new” to us. But, in reality, what has become truly new is us. We are a new creation!
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. — 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
So, let us turn from our old, wicked ways and walk in the newness of life led by the Holy Spirit!
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” 43 So the crowd was divided in their opinion about him. 44 And some wanted him arrested, but no one touched him. 45 The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. “Why didn’t you bring him in?” they demanded. 46 “We have never heard anyone talk like this!” the guards responded..—John 7:41-46 (NLT)
Although Jesus spent a lot of time in Galilee, He had fulfilled the prophecy by being born in Bethlehem, as well as being born in the lineage of King David. While the crowd continued to discuss whether or not Jesus was the Messiah, the leaders and the Pharisees sent the temple guards to arrest Jesus. They wanted to silence Him because more and more people were beginning to believe His story. But the guards came back empty-handed. When they were questioned as to why they had not arrested Jesus, their reply was that they “had never heard anyone talk like this”. The guards had been touched by the words that Jesus spoke, so much so, that they refused to follow the orders they had been given. The Temple guards, which were the ones that the leaders and Pharisees commanded, were Jewish.They realized that this man was different from any they had heard speak. They would also have been familiar with the Old Testament and would have known about the powerful prophets, such as Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and others. Still, nothing they had heard affected them like the words of Jesus. The words were so powerful, it required them to make a difficult decision.
It is still the same today, when the name of Jesus is mentioned, we have to make a decision. It is “I accept” or it is “I reject”. There is no middle ground.
11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”–Acts 4:11, 12 (NLT)
What decision have you made? Who do you say Jesus is?