John 4:39–54 comment (0)
October 3, 2013
By Jay T. Robertson
Related Scripture: John 4:39–54
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
THE POWER TO SAVE
Tell Others You Believe (39–42)
In the first section of John 4, Jesus crosses geographical, racial, gender and religious barriers to engage in conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. As a result of their conversation, the woman leaves her water jar and runs back to town and says: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (4:29). She explains how Jesus knows everything about her life and still offers her eternal life. The people of Sychar immediately go to see Jesus for themselves.
Many Samaritans believe that Jesus is the Messiah because of the woman’s testimony. Upon hearing Jesus for themselves, many more people believe Jesus to be the Messiah and “the Savior of the world.” Jesus is the only Savior there is. Jesus is God’s Plan A to save sinners in the world. God does not have a Plan B. Jesus is the only Savior for all the peoples of the world. Jesus’ large-scale harvest among the Samaritans marks the first indication of the universal scope of His saving mission. The early church engaged in a Samaritan mission as well (Acts 8:4–25). The pattern of Jesus’ mission according to John — from Judea (Nicodemus, John 3:1–15) to Samaria (4:1–42) to the Gentiles (4:46–52) — anticipates the post-Pentecost mission of the early church (Acts 1:8).
Jesus’ harvest of Samaritan believers occurs because the woman at the well believes that Jesus is the Messiah and she goes and tells the people in her town. Whom have you introduced to Jesus lately? Every Christian is commanded to make disciples by telling unsaved people about Jesus. If our churches are going to reach new people and be obedient to the Great Commission, we must get back to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, said nine out of 10 unchurched people would come to church if invited. That’s incredibly encouraging. Rainer also shares that only one out of five churchgoers invites anyone to church in the course of a year. May the Holy Spirit motivate you to tell others about Jesus.
Challenge Others to Believe (43–48)
After spending two days in Sychar, Jesus heads to Cana in Galilee. A Gentile centurion in Capernaum hears that Jesus is back in Galilee, and because his son is very sick, he goes to Jesus on behalf of his son. He asks Jesus to come down and heal his son. Jesus says, “Unless you [all] see signs and wonders you will not believe.” Jesus’ statement is not only to challenge the royal official but also the Galilean people (“you” is plural). In John’s Gospel, too much interest in the raw miracles themselves is spiritually dangerous.
Some people may become fixated on signs and wonders and fail to see that they point to Jesus. Hence those people fail to believe in Him. This does not mean, however, that John views “signs” in and of themselves negatively. To the contrary, Jesus’ miracles are one of the primary means God uses to bring people to faith in Him. They often lead people to follow Jesus or place their faith in Him as the Messiah.
Jesus’ words also are intended to challenge the Gentile centurion to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. He obviously knows enough about Jesus to travel from Capernaum to Cana to request Jesus’ help. Now Jesus challenges him to place his faith in Him.
Guide Others to Believe (49–54)
Jesus says, “Go; your son will live.” This statement indicates not just that Jesus knows a miracle is going to happen but that Jesus Himself is going to heal the centurion’s son. The centurion believes the word Jesus speaks to him and returns home to Capernaum. The next day some of his servants meet him and joyfully inform him that his son is recovering. Upon hearing this great news, he shares with his family and others about Jesus and they too believe in Jesus. With whom will you share the good news of Jesus?