In yesterday's blog I shared how I would lovingly obey Christ by believing in his power and promises. Well, just after I posted, I attended College Wesleyan Church where Dr. Joanne Lyon was preaching on, you guessed it, believing in Jesus' promise to do "greater work" through us than we might anticipate from John 14. God seems to be trying to get my attention. Perhaps my cynicism and skepticism is limiting the greater work he wants to do in and through me to redeem and restore the world. God, I'm listening now:-)
In today's reading I was struck by something Jesus didn't say. Jesus and the Jewish leaders are, as usual, caught in a disagreement. They accuse him of having a demon and being a Samaritan in verse 48. Jesus responds stating "I do not have a demon" in verse 49 but he never denies the claim that he is a Samaritan, even though we readers know he is a full-blooded Jew. Why does Jesus not defend his Jewishness and deny the claim that he is a half-breed Samaritan? I believe it is because deep down inside he identifies with people different from him, even Samaritan women as we discovered back in John 4. In other words, he did not see the need to distinguish himself from Samaritans, although they were hated fiercely by his Jewish counter-parts.
Sometimes I can tend toward distinguishing myself from instead of identifying myself with others who are different. It seems to me that if I am going to love Christ I must love what he loves- people, all shapes, sizes, styles of people. Lord, give me a large-hearted love toward the Samaritans all around me so that I see them not as half-breeds who are different but as those who share with me a common human struggle and a common Creator. I will lovingly obey you by lovingly identifying with all of the people you created. Give me grace to do this Jesus-style.