Posts Tagged John 4: 39

Here Comes the Judge – Not!

John 12: 47

I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

In his unforgettable characterization, Flip Wilson said, “Here comes the judge!” Jesus might say, “Here comes the Savior.”

I was reading the story of the Samaritan woman when today’s verse came to my mind. The account of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman is found in John 4, verses 1 – 42. Many people came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah because of this woman. She was an evangelist for Christ even though she had three strikes against her. First, she was a Samaritan, a race despised and disdained by the Jews. Second, she was a woman. As such she was at best a second class citizen; at worst, a non-entity. Then there is strike three. She was apparently living with a man who was not her husband. Strike three, you’re out!

But wait . . . Jesus evangelized a city through this misfit. How can that be? She was the disfavored of the disfavored. Why did Jesus show her acceptance? Why didn’t he try to correct her of everything she was doing wrong? Why did he even condescend to speak with her? One thing is clear to me, as I read this tale; one of us has the paradigm wrong, either Jesus or me.

Many of us, while good intentioned, operate under a wrong mindset. We mistakenly believe that we need to judge and correct in order to save. That is not, however, the model Jesus set for us. In his book, judgment is correlated with damnation. Love is connected to salvation. Let me ask you this question? Which model do you think is most effective? John 4: 39 reads, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” Jesus ended up staying in that Samaritan town for three days at the insistence of the residents all because one unlovely sinner spread the gospel. Because Jesus showed her kindness and acceptance, especially in the light of her living arrangement, she evangelized a town.

Love is the greatest force on earth. God is love (1 John 4: 8) and love is God. Mountains can be moved by applying this, the greatest power on earth. It was love that sent Jesus to earth and it was that same love that caused him to choose the cross. HE DIDN’T ENDURE THE CROSS TO JUDGE US BUT RATHER TO SAVE US. He went to the cross so that we could be free of the judgment that was due us. He removed the judgment from our shoulders, indeed from our lives, and took it on himself. He is called the savior. That must have meaning. In his own words, he describes himself as our savior, not our judge. He has the right to judge us because the Father gave all judgment to him (John 5: 22). He chose not to exercise that authority but rather to spend his life and death in removing judgment from us. That is one powerful testimony. Tell that to a sinner. Tell them that no one is judging them. Tell them God loves them and sent His son to save them rather than judge them. Tell them Jesus wants them to spend eternity with him in heaven. That is the good news of the Gospel.