Sunday, February 21, 2010

She Wasn’t Expecting to See Jesus

She Wasn’t Expecting to See Jesus
(Three Unexpected Encounters With Christ)

Often there is something in our lives or in ourselves that puts us in a position where we are not expecting to encounter Christ. But thankfully God loves us more than we can ever understand and will find the appropriate way to reveal Himself to us. Today we are going to study the experiences of three different women with Jesus.

1. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26)
A woman not expecting to see Jesus because of Society.
2. The Adulterous woman caught in the ACT (John 8:1-11)
A woman not expecting to see Jesus because of Sin.
3. Mary Magdalene after the crucifixion (John 20:11-18)
A woman not expecting to see Jesus because of Sorrow.

The Samaritan Woman

· Why did the Jews hate the Samaritans?
· When the northern kingdom fell to Assyria, many of the Jews were taken away and foreigners were brought in to settle and maintain the land. These foreigners and the Jews left remaining began to intermarry and became known as Samaritans (after the capital city of the northern kingdom – Samaria). The Jews hated the Samaritans because they felt they had betrayed the Jewish nation by marrying non-Jews.

John 4:13-15
13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

· As the Samaritan woman talked with Jesus, she had no idea who He was. But then Christ told her very personal things about her life.
· So, despite the societal separation between the Samaritans and the Jews, the Samaritan woman came to know Jesus as the Messiah because He revealed Himself to her in a very personal way.

The Adulterous Woman

· What was the penalty for adultery under The Law?
· Leviticus 20:10
10And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

· What was Christ’s response to the situation?

· John 8:5-7
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

· What led Christ to say this?

· Deuteronomy 17:6-7
6At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
7The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

Beyond requiring more than one witness to put someone to death, The Law required the witnesses to throw the first stones.

Christ was not only convicting each person there of their own sin, He was teaching them not to be judgmental (we answer to God for our actions, not man).

So, despite the obvious sin of the Adulterous woman, Christ forgave her and revealed Himself to her by showing great mercy.

The Sorrowful Woman

· How did Christ first touch the life of Mary Magdalene?

Luke 8:1-2
1And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

· Do you think she believed that Jesus was the Messiah?

· Mary loved Jesus greatly. She was one of the faithful followers at the crucifixion.

John 19:25
25Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

As a Jew, Mary was taught that the Messiah would not die. Also, many Jews did not believe in bodily resurrection. So when Mary went to the tomb of Jesus, she was expecting Him to be dead. When she found the tomb empty, she thought His body had been stolen.

John 20:1-2
1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

But despite her doubt and misinformation, in great love and with grace, Christ revealed Himself to Mary as the risen Lord.

John 20:14-18
14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Under three very different circumstances, we have seen Christ reveal Himself to people that were not expecting to encounter Him. He knew exactly what they needed to believe in Him. And that is exactly what He gave them!

How has Christ revealed Himself to you?


Dear Lord, may my heart always be receptive to You. Thank You for Your love, grace and mercy. Thank You for touching my heart and changing my life. Amen.
Four Soils

What is a parable?

· An earthly story with a moral or heavenly meaning. A story meant to simplify or explain a difficult concept.

Why did Christ speak in parables?

Isaiah 55:8-9 (to help us understand)
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Matthew 13:10-13 (because some will not come to faith regardless of what they see or hear)
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

A couple of points about studying parables:
· It is always important to understand the intended audience of the parable.
· It is ‘dangerous’ to extrapolate beyond the intended meaning of the parable.

The parable of the four soils:

Matthew 13:1-9
1The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Any thoughts on what Christ is talking about hear?

Christ tells us the meaning of this parable.

Luke 8:11-16
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
16No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

Hearing the Word of God can impact people in four different ways:
1. Wayside People – Those that hear, but reject the Word of God and are not saved.
2. Rock Hearted People – Those that hear the Word of God and have an emotional response, yet don’t accept the truth in there hearts. They fall away when temptation comes.
3. Thorny People – Those that hear the Word of God and are then overcome by the things of this world (worry, money, pursuit of happiness). They don’t accept God and make other things (idols) more important than Him.
4. Saved People – Those that hear the Word of God, accept it in their hearts, are saved and serve God according to His will.

Additional Points of Discussion

You can know/recognize/believe that Christ is the Son of God and not be saved. Just as you may know a certain medicine can cure your sickness, but if you don’t take it, it won’t heal you.

James 2:19
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Matthew 8:28-29
28And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
29And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

So what is this verse about the candle saying?

If the light of Christ is shining through you, you can’t hide it (and shouldn’t want to).

Matthew 5:14-16
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Father, may Your precious Word land on good soil in our hearts. If save, may we grow closer to You each time we hear Your Word. If unsaved, may the truth of Your Word bring us to a saving knowledge of the sacrifice of Christ, Your Son, for our sins. Amen.