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Compassion and Grace
Sunday 25th August


1. Compassion changes our vision 

 

Compassion changes how we see people there are three examples to look at.  

 

  1. The ethnic outcast
  2. The moral outcast
  3. The intellectual outcast.

 

When a Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water, Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (This happened while Jesus’ followers were in town buying some food.) The woman said, “I am surprised that you ask me for a drink, since you are a Jewish man and I am a Samaritan woman.” (Jewish people are not friends with Samaritans. ) Jesus said, “If you only knew the free gift of God and who it is that is asking you for water, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said, “Sir, where will you get this living water? The well is very deep, and you have nothing to get water with. Are you greater than Jacob, our father, who gave us this well and drank from it himself along with his sons and flocks?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so I will never be thirsty again and will not have to come back here to get more water.” Jesus told her, “Go get your husband and come back here.” The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right to say you have no husband. 18 Really you have had five husbands, and the man you live with now is not your husband. You told the truth.” The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” Jesus said, “Believe me, woman. The time is coming when neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain will you actually worship the Father. 22 You Samaritans worship something you don’t understand. We understand what we worship, because salvation comes from the Jews. 23 The time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and that time is here already. You see, the Father too is actively seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said, “I know that the Messiah is coming.” (Messiah is the One called Christ.) “When the Messiah comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus said, “I am he—I, the one talking to you.” Just then his followers came back from town and were surprised to see him talking with a woman. But none of them asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to town. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Do you think he might be the Christ?” So the people left the town and went to see Jesus. Meanwhile, his followers were begging him, “Teacher, eat something.” But Jesus answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” So the followers asked themselves, “Did somebody already bring him food?” Jesus said, “My food is to do what the One who sent me wants me to do and to finish his work. 35 You have a saying, ‘Four more months till harvest.’ But I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields ready for harvest now. 36 Already, the one who harvests is being paid and is gathering crops for eternal life. So the one who plants and the one who harvests celebrate at the same time. 37 Here the saying is true, ‘One person plants, and another harvests.’ 38 I sent you to harvest a crop that you did not work on. Others did the work, and you get to finish up their work.” Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because of what the woman said: “He told me everything I ever did.” When the Samaritans came to Jesus, they begged him to stay with them, so he stayed there two more days. And many more believed because of the things he said. They said to the woman, “First we believed in Jesus because of what you said, but now we believe because we heard him ourselves. We know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

John 4:7-42

 

We do what we do because of compassion and grace 

 

As faithful stewards of the grace of God Whatever gifts you have been given use them to serve others

1 Peter 4.10

 

2. Being a steward of grace 

 

Doing things for others while being unappreciated can be the hardest thing for us as humans.   Showing our gratitude to those who do things we can't or won't.

 

The scriptures note that he had to go through Samaria, somewhere where most would have avoided

 

Jesus rescued her from herself, not from the wars within religion but from the war and rejection within herself. She ran back to her village and said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (4: 29). 

 

The fascinating unstated line is, “And he didn’t reject me”

 

Jesus was reaching out to help someone doing what he thought was right.

 

He knew he was doing what he was meant to do. At the heart of everything we find the love for people.

 

Jesus was often quoted as having compassion 

 

He fed them he healed them he longed to gather them together, His ministry was defined by compassion.

 

3. Welcoming the outcasts

 

Second example of Christ in scripture is the woman at Simon’s house 

 

Jesus is at the home of a respected Pharisee named Simon when an uninvited and unwelcome woman of dubious reputation forces her way into the room and over to the table where the guests are reclining to eat, falling at Jesus’ feet. She begins to weep so profusely that her tears fall on his feet and begin to soak them. She unties her long hair and uses it to dry her tears from his feet and then, before the silenced guests, she opens a small alabaster jar and pours the costly ointment, the aroma of which fills the room, over Jesus’ feet.

 

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred [dollars], and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said… Then Jesus said to [the woman], “Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7: 41–50

 

Third example is in Luke 18. It is the story of the little children who came to Jesus to sit on his lap and play with him. The disciples were askance at their impudence and with their familiarity with him and rebuked them, sending them away. The idea was, “Don’t you realise Jesus is too important to be spending his time with children? He’s a famous man. And he’s too busy to take time to play. Don’t waste his time.” 

 

They were clearing his calendar for the more important people he had to meet, and the more important conversations he had to have. But Jesus surprised them. If there is one thing about children, it is their complete dependence on someone else. They simply cannot take care of themselves. Their entire existence is based on someone outside themselves. 

 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”

Luke 18: 16–17

 

Look back for a moment: 

 

The Samaritan woman, an ethnic outcast; 

The woman with the alabaster ointment, the moral outcast;

The children with their childlike trust, the intellectual outcasts. 

 

God meets us in the most unexpected places, just as we lose him in the least expected places. 

 

These are startling reminders that we are talking about a person and a relationship, not a place and an idea. 

 

To know such dependence upon him, you can call on him anywhere. 

 

Why Jesus? He is the Lord who makes reality beautiful and helps us to find him, even in the darkest corners of the world; not because of what we know or who we are or what we have accomplished, but because of who he is. 

 

4. An example to follow

 

13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that is what I am. 14 If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. 15 I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.

John 13:13-15 

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