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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 20, 2020

No respecter of persons

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

God loves all people, even those who are difficult to love. We see this in Jesus' example as God in the flesh.

With some people who are mentioned in the gospels we would have had little if anything to do in the culture of that time. But the gospels tell us about them. What does this tell us? Jesus took people whom you and I would have walked past on the street without worrying, people with whom we would never have been in the same room, people on the fringes of society, and he put them at the center of the stories we call the Gospels. Jesus met them in various ways — the sick, the poor, the despised, women, children and sinners of all kinds. But in all of them Jesus saw a child of God with the potential to have eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

The Samaritan woman at the well is an impressive example for us: "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink. For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans" (John 4:7-9).

It wasn't only the Jews who avoided contact with the Samaritans. Everyone did so, as the Jews, the gentiles, and the Romans despised the Samaritans. So what did Jesus do? He gave them a prominent place in the gospels. First we have the parable of the Good Samaritan, making the word Samaritan synonymous with compassion and mercy. For two thousand years the good deed of the Good Samaritan towards a stranger has been an example of love of neighbor (Luke 10:25-37).

Then in the story with the Samaritan woman, Jesus interacted with a Samaritan woman who had been divorced several times. Jesus was really close to the boundary of the social culture the time by having a conversation with this woman. Even her own people looked down on her! The stigma attached to this woman was monumental. Did Jesus simply greet her politely? No. Did he have a superficial conversation with her? No. This is the longest recorded conversation between Jesus and any other person!

Jesus' attitude towards people was radically different from the cultural view of his time. Why? Because he saw in every man, woman and child a child of God. Through His behavior the divine principle was on display that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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