Family feuds can be long and painful. Some people are relieved that they won’t be traveling for the annual family gathering during Thanksgiving.
The Jews and the Samaritans were family. They were at one point, at least. Over the generations, things continued to get worse, until they became enemies.
Peculiarly, the Samaritans still retained some semblance of God worship. Even that created some tension, as both Jew and Samaritan viewed “their” understanding of God as right, and the other as wrong.
That Jesus came to the Samaritans recognizes that they still had a place in God’s family. Jesus’ earthly ministry focused on the Jews, but the Samaritans were there in the margins.
There was no question that the Samaritans viewed Jesus in a positive light. In this passage, though, we see that there is still some aspect of us versus them.
The Samaritans were upset that Jesus would “abandon” them for Jerusalem. This was a problem of misunderstanding and jealousy. They had some view of Jesus as theirs, despite him being a Jew.
Jealousy such as this isn’t all that uncommon. The problem is that we frame famous people with our own beliefs. We will often look at them and interpret everything they did or said through the lenses of our beliefs.
Christians have done the same thing. We take our beliefs (communism, capitalism, race, nationality, culture) and shape Jesus. We’ve seen that a lot this chaotic year.
Yet, if we read the scriptures and the views of other Christian people (especially from other cultures or theologies), it tends to shake our lenses a bit. Sometimes more than we like.
We like our Jesus just like we like our politicians and celebrities: safe for us, but not for them. The Samaritans were much the same.
However, at least with Jesus, if he is safe for everyone, then we can be sure that that’s a false view of Him.
1) What false views of Jesus have you held?
2) What are the dangers of false views of Jesus?
3) What are the best ways to determine if we have false views of Jesus?
Jesus, help us to truly know you so that we are not lead astray from you, your salvation, or your message of hope and love to the world. Amen.