It’s Monday! So, we’re back on a Gospel reading. If you’re wondering why we started in John, it’s because I really like John. It’s also because Mathew, Mark, and Luke are usually the first ones read since they come first, but I wanted to mix it up in our reading. There’s a value in making sure we’re not a in a rut as we read.
Before we get to the text, it’s worth a stop to think about why the banks are closed today and the mail’s not running. Not too long ago, we as a nation needed a reminder to live up to our ideals, that All men are created equal. That reminder was driven by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the community he was able to rally on point, and unfortunately it took too many churches a long time to catch up. Remember this truth: God made all of humanity in His image—so let’s take a step back from our “I’m awesome, and if the more like me you are, the more awesome you might be…” approach and see people and their heritage, all the way around, as gifts from God.
Now, on to the text: John 3 moves on to deal with John the Baptist and his willingness to fade into the background. Both John and Jesus are out baptizing, but the first “church competition” starts up and John’s losing.
The important point is this: John doesn’t care. His disciples are stressed about this, but he’s good with the reality: it’s about Jesus. It’s about the Kingdom of God and the need of people for a savior. Something not in the text, but that I can picture, is some of Jesus’ disciples roaming around and pointing out “we’ve got more followers than John!”
Competition is antithetical to the Kingdom of God, though. It’s not about whether this church grows or that church grows. It’s about whether or not Jesus is glorified. Imagine a knight returning to his king, pointing out that he was the best knight—the king will then point out that he’s still a knight. The king never changes. It’s always his kingdom….
John 4 moves to Samaria. We like to make ourselves feel good here, but realize this: we’re the ones that would cut off Jesus from interacting with the lost world. In this story, we’re often more like the disciples than even the woman at the well. She knew she needed Jesus. They thought it beneath Him to talk to some people…anytime we make others “some people,” we are pushing back against what Jesus has said.
Which brings us back to the introduction: The Gospel is for all people. And when we divide our world into “some people” and “our people,” we run a great risk of missing the true point.