While talking to the Good News Club children about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well, I told them about the hatred Jews and Samaritans had for each other. Even Jesus’ disciples had expressed prejudice against them. But the disciples also witnessed Jesus’ compassion toward Samaritans, which may be why Philip could go into Samaria and share the good news about Jesus.
Instead of calling down fire from heaven to destroy them, Philip called the Samaritans to repentance. The strict boundary between Israel and Samaria was crossed, and many Samaritans gave their hearts to Jesus because of it.
How? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Philip. Without God’s prompting, I doubt Philip would ever have crossed that line.
I don’t have to tell you our nation is divided, much like the descendants of Abraham were divided during the time Philip was preaching. Both Samaritans and Jews could trace their lineage back to their Founding Father, Abraham. All American citizens – black, white, Democrat, Republican, natural born, legal immigrant, gay, straight, believers, and non believers – can trace our lineage back to our Founding Fathers as well.
But that doesn’t prevent us from hating each other. Our recent election emphasizes the great divide. The boundaries between opposing views is strict and dare not be crossed. So what do you do?
Christian, we cross that line with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We rub shoulders with them, show compassion for them, love our “enemies” and pray for those who don’t like us. We go across that line and make disciples. How? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each of us.
Can you or I continue to hate with Jesus living inside of us? My prayer is that the Church, you and I who love our Savior, will be the ones who reach across the aisle and love like Jesus loved, talk about sin and Jesus’ work on the cross to pay for sin, share Jesus with the way we live and by the things we say.
Philip did that. Many Samaritans were saved. And then…
Peter and John crossed the boundary lines, too, and joined Philip in Samaria to continue the work Philip had begun.
Yeah. One man obeyed. He crossed the boundary alone. Then others followed. Maybe you need to be that one man today who will cross a boundary line or two with the Truth about Jesus. And maybe, when others follow your lead, we will find ourselves united by our common faith in Jesus. I don’t see the boundaries that have divided our nation eliminated any other way.
Crossing boundaries may be hard, it may be scary. But I’m pretty sure it’s what God is asking His children to do.