Racism in the time of Jesus…
Racism is not new. It is a very aged idea that its sole function is to divide and separate. At its core is the idea that one should never intersect the other. Racism has one core valley running through its veins, disdain. Another core valley is the notion of hierarchy, and the push to maintain the hierarchy.
Racism is old, and has existed as long as man has existed.
Racism is wicked. God knows it. Jesus knew that racism bedeviled His followers. And so Jesus saw the need to change this form of doctrine in the midst of those who professed Him as Lord. John 4:4 is truly mind blowing. To break the dogma of racism, John 4:4 says Jesus needed to go through Samaria. Why? At that time there was such a divide between the people of Samaria and the Israelites. The Jews held them is disdain simply because they were different. The Jews refused to pass through Samaria, refused to talk with them, refused to have any commonality with them. Even those who held on to Jesus and followed Him – even they held the people from Samaria with reproach. And so you see that Jesus needed to go to Samaria. Jesus needed to go to the well. Jesus needed to meet the woman at the well. Jesus needed to speak with her. He needed to dine with her if need be. Jesus came and broke the dogma.
Now someone might say that even Jesus supported the divide according to Mark 7:27-29. This was when the Syrophoenician Woman came to Jesus for healing for her daughter. Jesus reminded her that she was a Greek, born in Syria. She was not a child; she was not a Jew. In that passage He metaphorically labeled her a dog. And then as she pursued Hiim, He saw her faith and spoke healing over her child. And yet this same Jesus did say in Luke 5:32 that He did not come for the righteous, but the sinners. Romans 3:23 reminds us that all have sinned. And so if all have sinned, then He has come for all of us regardless of who we are. And if God loved the world, and Jesus is like His Father, then He loves us all, regardless of who we are and where we are now. Paul elucidated regarding this in Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. We are all one in Jesus. Racisim refutes the oneness. It divides, because that is how and where it is able to win. It always loses in togetherness.
And so Jesus had to go to Samaria! He had to fulfill the call on His life. He is a gift to all! He is the Savior for all.
There are many places today that even we who profess Him as Lord do not go. I ask myself, ‘Why?’ The other day I pondered on what others see in me, such that they will be moved – to follow Jesus Christ. I wondered what a Muslim would see in me. I wondered what an Atheist would see in me. I wondered what a Buddhist would see in me. And then I reflected on what Jesus did. He went to where the woman was and began talking to her. He engaged her. He came to her level. He showed her love and respect. And when the woman reminded Him of the norms that existed, saying, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus replied in the only way He could have replied, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Jesus is a gift of love.
I believe what Jesus was truly saying was this: “If you knew the gift of God; if you knew Me; then you will know that I am not like them!’ He drew a line in the sand. He said ‘I am not like them. I came here to give you water. I will give ANYONE water, regardless of what they look like, where they are from, what they sound like, and what they have done in the past. My Father loved the whole world, that He gave Me. That is who I am. I am here for the whole entire world. I am here for ALL regardless of who you are.’
That must be who I am. I am His, and so I must also be God’s gift to earth. I cannot afford to be like the disciples that followed Jesus, who tried to hinder Him from associating with the woman at the well because she was a Samaritan, and because she was a woman. They tried to follow the norm and ideals. Shame on the norm! Shame on a norm that divides. God is always doing a new thing. He is always doing an excellent thing. And not only did Jesus speak with the woman, He got the opportunity to speak to an entire Samarian town, and they all believed Him. They all turned to Him – the Savior of the world.
Jesus is the opposite of racism. Racism divides, Jesus brings us together. I love Jesus. May I be like Him. Amen.
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Linda faith is the Editor in Chief of Jewels Magazine. She has authored eight books. She is a prolific writer and powerful speaker, inspiring many women to be all God has called them to be. She is the founder of Joy Women’s conference which reaches out to empower, inspire and motivate women in their faith walk. She was a software developer before she started writing.