Wednesday, May 13, 2020

He is NOT like us

Jesus never does anything by chance. He never haphazardly wanders around looking for something to do. He never moves without a purpose or a plan. Every action, every word of our Lord, is intentional. This type of living with a purpose is foreign to me. I am sure that, in a way, it is unfamiliar to you as well. We spend most of our days hoping to have no plan. We long for the days of vacations and not having a schedule to keep or a place to be. We devote our time and energy to trying to get to the point when everything is done, and we can unplug and get lost in a movie, show, video game, or focus on "me." Words spew out of our mouths with no intent and no concern about their impact. Jesus is not like you and me, and that is a really good thing. 
If you remember, in John 3:22, we are told that after the Passover and the conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and the disciples head out to the Judean countryside to do a little baptizing. As the crowds around Jesus being to swell, the disciples of John the Baptist are more than a little concerned. Baptizing is kind of John's thing. It is what he/they are known for, and now Jesus is here stealing the thunder and the crowds. However, the sudden momentum swing is not troubling to Johnny B. When pressed, he openly admits that this is the plan… Jesus must increase, and he must decrease (John 3:30).
As the 4th chapter of John begins, it becomes clear John's disciples are not the only ones that are witnessing the explosion of the popularity of Jesus. The murmuring started to exit the lips of the Pharisees. The Pharisees that were not happy with John (John 1:19-28, Luke 3:7) are looking to turn their attention and distaste to Jesus.  Jesus, knowing all things, including the thoughts and intentions of men, knows what will happen if He stays. The decision is made that He must leave Judea and return to Galilee. His leaving was intentional, and His route was with purpose. 
When Jews would travel between Galilee and Jerusalem, they might make it a point not to take the most direct route that would take them through Samaria. (The historian Josephus notes that a Jew traveling through Samaria was not uncommon, but it did come with some risks of escalating the tension between the groups.) The traveler would often opt for a longer route that would take them across the Jordan River and then following the Jordanian Highway to Galilee that would have little risk of social tension. John suggests that it was part of God's plan that Jesus took this route (John 4:4). This makes the meeting that will happen between Jesus and the woman at the well not only significant but intentional. Jesus was so intent on getting to Samaria and being at that well by noon that He stressed and exhausted His body to do so. 
Jesus' actions in the first six verses of John 4 are unusual, but we should not be surprised. This is the way that Jesus always acts. His works are intentional, and as we will see, so are His words. In just a few short chapters, Jesus will be doing this all over again. He will be again pouring out His sweat, but this time it will be mixed with His blood. He will be speaking the purposeful words, not to a single sinful woman at a well but to every sin-filled man, woman, and child. This is His purpose! This is not just a good thing, but this is the GOOD NEWS!

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