A Healthy Dose of Conviction
Read John 4:16-26 (ESV)
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Do you think it is important for us to be confronted with the reality of our sin? Why or why not?
We know that Jesus is loving. Perfectly loving, in fact. Last time, we read about how Jesus shocked the culture by engaging with this woman at the well. She was a social pariah—an outcast. She was a woman, Jesus was a man. She was a Samaritan—someone a good Jew was taught to disdain and avoid. She was a woman of ill repute and He was a righteous rabbi. He wasn’t supposed to talk to her.
But He did. He noticed her, He initiated a conversation with her, He wasn’t afraid to drink from her water jar, etc. In a culture in which most people either ignored her or bullied her, Jesus broke several cultural rules just by talking to her.
But Jesus did more than just acknowledge her and reach out to her. Jesus also confronted her with the reality of her sin. Jesus already knew her backstory, of course, but by asking her to go get her husband, He forced her to openly admit her sin. Then, by telling her the unspoken details of the rest of her personal story, He really got her attention. She recognized that His foreknowledge had to be miraculous and identified Him as a prophet.
But it seems she tried to change the subject away from her personal life and onto a debate between Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans worshiped in that area on Mt. Gerizim. The Jews believed the proper place to worship was in Jerusalem. But Jesus didn’t let her move their conversation into the weeds. He told her that soon the people who sincerely worship God won’t need to worship at Mt. Gerizim or in Jerusalem. When Jesus died and was raised again, true worshipers would worship Him in their hearts because they would have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Then, she demonstrated that she understood that God had promised to send a Messiah and Jesus confirmed that He was that promised Messiah. He was what she needed.
But before we accept that we need a Messiah, we have to confront the sin in our lives. We all have sinned and we’ve all needed to feel convicted so that we understood our need for Christ. That’s what Jesus did. He made her uncomfortable with her sinful lifestyle but then presented Himself as the solution to her sin problem! It is the most loving thing Jesus could have done. He didn’t write her off as too sinful to be saved but He didn’t ignore her sin either. It’s not loving to ignore a problem when you have the solution, especially when we are talking about matters with eternal consequences!
In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Before we know we need to see a doctor, we have to know that we are sick and we have to be uncomfortable with our sickness. The same goes for sin. We have to know it’s there and admit that it’s a problem or we won’t understand why we need a Savior. Love doesn’t leave people trapped and condemned in sin. We all need a healthy dose of conviction so that we’ll seek the Savior.
Lord, thank You for loving me enough to convict me of my sin so that I’d turn to You. You are the Christ, the Messiah! You are the only solution to my sin problem. Give me the courage and the grace to love others, especially the unseen and the outcasts, the way You do. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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