Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
"Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."
All the disciples saw when they were in town buying food were shopkeepers and carpenters, etc. Samaritans. Half-breeds. The Samaritan people were simple a means to an end. Bread for themselves and Jesus.
Samaritans have a rich history. Samaria was the capital, the residence, and the burial place of the kings of Israel (all of whom were wicked) - 2 Kings 17:25-26. They are a mixed-people group made up of exiles from other countries, syncretistic in their beliefs, religious (worshiped foreign gods), and obviously sexually immoral. Jews avoided them at all costs.
Jesus, however, saw His Father working among this unreached people group. He saw a spiritual harvest field where the disciples saw only a place to purchase bread. Jesus knew that the key to reaching the city with the gospel was a woman well known by the men of the city and avoided by the women. The news of this woman's encounter with Jesus Christ turned the town upside-down.
You too may be sitting in the middle of a harvest field and not realize it. A rich harvest awaits those with eyes to see. The woman or man most overlooked may be the key to reaching an entire community.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- Describe the effect the woman's testimony had in in the town.
- What does this tell you about sharing your testimony?
- How does Jesus' message differ from that of John the Baptist?
- What is so surprising about Jesus' response to John's imprisonment?
Luke 4:14-15; John 4:43-46ad
- Describe Jesus' ministry in Galilee.
- What does Jesus normally do on the Sabbath?
- Read Isaiah 61:1-2. How does Jesus fulfill this prophecy?
- Which two Old Testament stories does Jesus refer to describe the receptivity to His ministry?
- What is it about these two stories that make the people furious?
Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37
- How does Jesus' teaching differ from that of the teachers of the law?
- Who was in the synagogue listening to Jesus teach? What does this tell you about demon possessed people?
- What does the demon possessed man understand about Jesus' identity that others did not understand?
- How does Jesus deal with the man? What does this tell you about Jesus? Demons?
Mark 1:29-39; Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-44
- What does Jesus do that reveals His regard for women?
- How do demon possessed people respond to the presence of Jesus?
- What happens after Jesus spends time in prayer? What does this tell you about Jesus? Prayer?
Mark 1:40-44; Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16
- Describe the leper's demeanor/posture. How does Jesus respond to the leper?
- Read Leviticus 13:45-46. Describe the life of a leper.
- How does this incident fulfill the portion of Isaiah which Jesus read in the synagogue?
- Why does Jesus send the cleansed leper to the priests? (Read Leviticus 14 if you have time to see what the cleansed leper has to do)
- Why does Jesus ask the healed leper not to broadcast the news of his healing?
- How does Jesus respond to the demands of the ministry?
Turning truth into prayer
Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 61:1-3 in His day. He seeks to continue fulfilling this prophecy through our lives. Does He have access to your life through which he can touch hurting people? Offer yourself to the Lord to be available to His reaching out through you to touch others.