Saturday, March 28, 2015

If Jesus never felt the need to convert people, why do you?

The Middle East, unlike what many think, is extremely diverse - it is a patchwork of very ancient and varied cultures, religions, languages, tribes, ethnicity and rather fluid and young nation-states... this is what it is today, and that is also what it was in Jesus' day.

He doesn't need another religion.
He just needs to see Jesus.

Photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff
It therefore may come as a great surprise to many, that Jesus never felt the need to convert people to His own religious community (Judaism), nor did He come to start a new religion as some think (so-called Christianity). One day, He came across a Samaritan woman at a well at midday (John 4). Jesus asked her for some water.

She replied by pointing out how she was a Samaritan woman and He was a Jew. This was a double whammer for the community Jesus belonged to; a man talking to a woman - (i.e. she is unimportant), a Jew talking to a Samaritan (i.e. repulsive!). Get it?

He replied, by telling her that she should be asking for something greater from Him. In doing so, He wanted to destroy the wall of history and cultural stupidity that was keeping this precious woman from receiving His grace.

She replied that Jesus had nothing to draw water with and doubted that He was actually greater than the patriarch Jacob who dug the well.

But Jesus wanted her to see past what was merely visible, to see the unseen, and for her to realize that history's greatest event was standing right in front of her. "I have water to drink that one may drink and and never thirst again." He replied.

Still incredulous, the woman says "Wow, give me this water."

But Jesus was unfazed by her sarcasm. He reveals to her that He knows she has married five times but she still can not sit down and receive from Him. Instead, seeing that He has some prophetic powers, she chooses to launch a religious discussion how about the Samaritans pray here and the Jews there.

Jesus sets the record straight "Salvation is from the Jews." (Yeah, He is that salvation and He is definitely from the tribe of Judah. Yes, "Jew" really means "of Judah" the fourth son of Israel). But He tries to breakdown this dividing wall of religion further since where you worship isn't really the question. The question is how you worship... "The Father seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth" Jesus tells her.

At this point, she's still unsure and points out that when the Messiah comes He'll explain everything. Hello? "Yes, I am He."

Finally, she got it... Jesus is patient, am I not thankful for that?

This is the conversation that every civil and human rights movement needs to know, for any and every community or segment of society.

Jesus broke down every barrier to world peace and human dignity. He broke gender inequality, that mindset that strips women of their respect and power by saying their are inferior in one way or another. He broke down ethnic divisions by refusing to abide by the cultural norms prevailing in that day. He met with the 'unmeetable', touched the 'untouchable' and loved the 'unloveable', treating them with as much care and concern as any one else around Him.

And finally, He broke down the wall of religion. That age-old device of Satan that brings walls between the pious and God. Jesus paid neither attention nor respect to religion; He couldn't care less if they were offended because He healed on the Sabbath, talked to a Samaritan, overturned the tables of merchandise in the Temple or honored a woman, it was entirely their problem. He was bringing freedom from religion... freedom from the mindset that man is separated from God. If man is separated from God, then one man can be separate (or above) another too! But Jesus... well, He is God, He is Man, He is the bridge, the One who came to make the two, one - the body of Christ.

So now we come to the questions, why do believers in Jesus try to convert people to religion? Weren't we redeemed from religion? Why do we seek others to join ours? Away with religion altogether! I prefer faith, worship and a truly relationship with the Almighty. This is the Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ. Religion just gets in the way of that.

You are completely set free from the principles of the world, the chains of religion and the negative aspects of any culture. So walk in freedom, shine the light!

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of Yahowa is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Nations shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. 

Isaiah 60:1-3

David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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