Jesus and the Samaritans

John 4: 7-30. I am reading John, and I have come across an incident that is not covered in the other gospel books. Twice during this incident it is brought up that Jesus should not be talking to a Samaritan woman. The woman herself says in John 4: 9 “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a women of Samaria?”

This is a significant encounter. He is talking with a woman from another culture. That is something that God wants us to do: interact with people who are different from us. Jesus was not supposed to be talking with a Samaritan. The woman goes on to say, “‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria? For Jews, have no dealings with Samaritans.’” The disciples’ reaction to this encounter is telling. John 4:27 “Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman,…”

At some point, Jesus is trying to make a point about being a good neighbor. From Wikipedia, “The parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ is a parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. It is about a traveler who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead…” A priest and a Levite come along but neither stops. “Then a Samaritan comes by. Samaritans and Jews despise each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man.” I have heard this story many times, but never had it pointed out that it was highly unusual for a Jew to have a Samaritan be “the good person” in the story. “The Good Samaritan” turns out to be the good neighbor.

Both of these excerpts are examples of how we can use Jesus Christ as a role model.

Note: Notice encounters with people from divergent “groups” get along.

Prayer – Pray that you can grow as a person and a person of God

Jerusalem, A Treasured City

Jerusalem is mentioned often in the Bible. Wikipedia gives a good overview: “Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East…It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” The Abrahamic religions are the religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites, and the worship of the same one God of that of Abraham. Each of these religions is a monotheistic religion, which means that the people worship one god.

For centuries people have been fighting over Jerusalem, even to the point of its destruction- twice. God accepts good people from each one of these religions into his Heavenly home. Unfortunately, these religious groups have been at war often; they have been at war despite each of them worshipping the one God. I have a very simplistic way of looking at the fighting between the three groups. Christianity was seen as a threat to Judaism. Some Jewish people killed some of the early Christians. Some Jewish people have killed some Muslim people. Some Christians killed some Jews and some Muslims. Some Muslims have killed some Jewish people and some Christian people. God wants this to stop!

Quite a bit of the fighting has involved the sacred city of Jerusalem and surrounding countries. Yet, it is a sacred place. “Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE.” A very sacred Jewish temple was destroyed in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a pilgrimage location during Passover, Shavuot, and Sukhot. (myjewishlearning.com)

Jerusalem is also considered to be a holy city in Christianity. Jesus was brought to Jerusalem when he was a child to attend religious events and festivals. According to the gospels, “Jesus preached and healed in Jerusalem….” (Wikipedia). The Last Supper, Jesus’ trial, the crucifixion, and resurrection took place in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is considered a sacred site in Islamic tradition, along with Mecca and Medina. Islamic tradition holds that the previous prophets were associated with the city….” One Muslim pilgrimage site is the Ali-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Wikipedia (Note, prophets previous to Muhammad)

Interfaith site: uri.org “Islam: Basic Beliefs“

whyislam? “What is Islam?”

Prayer – It would be nice is people could work out some of their differences during our battle with the Corona Virus. A prayer for resolving differences and looking beyond those difference would be good.

The Discovery at Christ’s Tomb

One blog, by Kelly Minter on the gospel coalition.org writes an article called “Follow the Women at the Tomb”. It is well written and flows nicely. She really understands what happened at the tomb of Christ on the Sunday following the meal on Thursday night. Remember, at that place and at that a time in history, a partial day counted as a full day. Though there was not much time in the day on Friday, that counted as one day. Then we have Saturday. The third day, which is when Christ was supposed to rise, would therefore, be Sunday.

There are four gospels and each one is different. I’m pulling from all four, but deciding (with help) which sections to pull from which gospel.

Sunday is when the women showed up to anoint Christ’s body; this was the custom at the time. Matthew 28: 1 “Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag’dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher.” The women are told by an angel to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen from the dead. Also, they are to go and see him in Galilee. I noticed that the women departed with fear and great joy.

In Mark 16:1, three women brought spices to anoint Jesus. They were concerned that they needed someone to roll away the stone that was in front of the tomb. The stone was already rolled back. Inside there was a young man in a white robe. (Mark 16:4-5) An angel would like me to say that the young man is an angel. That certainly would be appropriate. The angel in the Bible tells the women that Jesus of Nazareth has risen. They are to tell the disciples that Jesus is in Galilee. This time the women are “trembling and astonishment had come upon them…they were afraid”. The way this is worded tells me that the women believe what the angel told them. Otherwise, why would they be astonished?

In Luke the stone was also rolled back. There are different versions regarding who sees Jesus first. I am going to use John’s version. Mary is outside the tomb and she has been weeping. She turns and sees Jesus standing there, but she does not know it is him. (John 20:14); John 20:15 “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Mary thinks that Jesus is the gardener and may have carried the body of Jesus away. Christ says Mary’s name and Mary calls Jesus teacher in Hebrew: Rab-bo’ni! Mary must move forward to “hold” (hug) Jesus as Jesus asks her not to. John 20:17. “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples.

In John, Jesus sees the disciples that same night (Sunday night). He says peace be with you and then breathes on them. John 20:22 “Receive the Holy Spirit”. A disciple named Thomas was not with them. Jesus comes eight days later. Thomas had said that he would not believe until he sees Christ’s wounds. Jesus shows him but then says: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. (John 20:29) As John says there are “…also many other things which Jesus did…” John 21:25. Jesus shows himself to the disciples off and on for forty days.

Since the women are doing the anointing (or planning to), I think it is appropriate that I pick a prayer for caregivers – paid or not. Not having guests in to see your “charge” or not being allowed to take them out except for very necessary appointments must be a trial. So, if you want an idea for a prayer today – how about caregivers?