Monday, August 25, 2014

More than a Prophet—“I who speak to you am He” (John 4:25-26)

“The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”” (John 4:25–26, ESV, Caps added to pronouns referring to Christ)

All of the words written in Scripture pointing to the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of man from his sins speak of Jesus. All that Jesus Himself had said, and all that John the Baptist had pointed to in the coming of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world point to Jesus being the Christ. Jesus was more than a teacher. He was more than the carpenter’s son. He is the very Son of God born as a man who came into the world to seek and to save the lost. The woman at the well had heard of the coming Messiah who she knew as Christ. She knew that He would come with knowledge and that He would be able to set all things straight. She had that understanding and I imagine to some degree that assurance.

When Jesus had shared with her that the hour was coming when they would no longer need to gather to worship there in the temple of Samaria or even the temple of Jerusalem the woman had no disagreement, but rather responded that the Christ would tell them what they are to do. To her Jesus was still the prophet from God and nothing more. But the next words of Jesus would radically change the course of the conversation. Jesus responded to her that He was the Christ. The woman said that she knew the Messiah, known as the Christ, was coming, and Jesus responded to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Wow!!! The conversation was no longer an encounter with a man of God, but it had become an interaction with the very Son of God. At this point the woman was forced to make a decision. Was she going to continue as she was in her understanding of Him just being a good man who knew things from God, or was she going to respond in worship and bow to the sent One of God?

Of course, we will continue on in our reading to see what she did next. But for today, let’s consider ourselves and those we interact with. Let’s consider the things that we might have thought about Jesus before we placed our trust in Him for salvation, and how learning about Him changed us forever. Let’s consider those we know who have shared with you their understanding of Him that does not match up with Scripture. There are so many that acknowledge that He really did live, but that He was much less than we (or the Scriptures) say He is. There are many who throw Him into the good teacher, good religious leader pool with others, and claim that it doesn’t matter which one you listen to as they all were trying to do good. Jesus did not leave us that option. He, Himself, stated that He was the Messiah. He is One with the Father. He is….

The woman had to consider the claim He had just made to her, and she had to decide whether to believe it or not. She knew the prophets spoke of the coming Messiah. She knew that He knew things of her that no man could possibly know. She knew truth and she knew to some degree the miraculous. They had been laid before her, and she had to respond to it. We who have placed our trust in Jesus for our salvation and eternal life had to at some point make that decision. Everyone who has yet to trust Him for salvation will have to make that decision. And the Scriptures tell us that even those who choose not to believe Him will one day bow before Him for who He is, but at that time it will be too late because they will bow in judgment before the True and Just God.

Facing the facts is something we have to do every day in our lives. We make decisions on what we are going to do and how we are going to act based upon different presenting facts and circumstances. Choosing whether to get up on time and arrive at work when we are supposed to has its benefits and its consequences. Choosing whether to eat healthy or get an appropriate amount of sleep has its benefits and its consequences. Choosing whether to obey the laws and walk according to the statutes before us has its benefits and its consequences. And as we walk as those who are saved in Christ (looking to Him daily in worship and obedience) has its benefits and even its consequences—consequences that affect us here and even in eternity. While our salvation maybe secure, the Scriptures do say that the things we do here in the body will be evaluated for reward in eternity.

And for those who we encounter who have not placed their trust in Christ, we have the opportunity to tell them that the Christ has come and that He has come for them. We can challenge them with the truths of God’s Word, and we can invite them to respond to His love. The incredible thing about all of this is that salvation is a work of God in people as His Spirit opens eyes, softens hearts, and gives clarity in understanding. Our task is to be prayerfully willing and make the most of the opportunities. We often have no idea why we have these seemingly coincidental encounters. Looking back in the verses leading up to this we know that Jesus was compelled to take the route He took, and the verses which followed show us how He used them. At this point it is up to the woman to respond.

“Then he (the Philippian jailer) brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” (Acts 16:30–34, ESV) 

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