1 Peter 2:11-12
Foreigners Come to Faith: Narrative based on John 4:1-42
“I renounce my sins and surrender all to the Kingdom of God,” Thomas cried out as Peter plunged him into the Jordan. So many were baptized that day in Judea that the Pharisees started to compare Jesus’ ministry to John the Baptist.
“We’re not in any competition,” Jesus would tell the Pharisees. “There is only one goal for every man- to enter the Kingdom of God. Are you ready to come, turn to God, confess your sins, and be forgiven?”
“How dare you claim you can forgive my sins!” The Pharisees retorted.
“I think it’s time to go back to Galilee,” Jesus suggested to the disciples. “Thomas, will you come with us?”
“Yes, Lord, I’d be honored.“
“That settles it,” Jesus declared, “we’re going home through Samaria.”
“Wait a minute, Jesus, don’t you think we should cross over to the other side of the Jordan. We’re going to end up in Samaria preaching to the dogs,” Peter said as he tugged on Jesus’ cloak.
“Now Peter, are we going to follow your plan or mine?” Jesus smiled, as he dismissed Peter’s concerns.
As they approached the town, Jesus asked, “Why don’t you all go into town together and get some food while I wait here at Jacob’s well.”
The men went into town, looking for a market. “Judas, how much do we have for lunch?” Peter asked.
“Since when are you in charge of us,” Judas smirked back, “I’m in charge of the money, so I’ll be doing the shopping. Besides, all you ever buy is that fish. I want to get us some lamb!
Let’s see if these dogs know how to bargain with Galileans.”
It took quite a long time to gather the supplies. By the time they returned to Jesus, it was already getting late in the day. As they approached Jacob’s well, they saw Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman from the town. She seemed to be in quite a delighted rush to get back to town, exclaiming, “He knows it all–everything I ever did, but he didn’t condemn me. He must be the one! He must be the Messiah!”
“Rabbi, I can see you’ve been working. You must be hungry – look at all the supplies we brought back for lunch!” Judas beamed as he started to show Jesus.
“Let’s talk about food,” Jesus began. “My food is to finish my Father’s work! He has been preparing these people for my arrival. The prophets laid the foundation, we have the easy part. Look up–here comes our harvest!”
Hundreds of Samaritans from the village came to the well. The disciples were amazed and a bit embarrassed because they had judged the villagers and refused to share the good news with them as they gathered the supplies. This was in stark contrast with the woman, who shared her story so freely that she convinced the whole town that the Messiah was here.
After two days with Jesus, the Samaritans responded, “We knew something was up when our sister proclaimed the good news to us but now we have seen for ourselves that this man really is the Savior of the world.” Nearly the whole town had come to believe in Jesus and accept the Kingdom of God.
1 Peter 2:11-12. The Faith of an Alien
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to ab- stain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
A Foreigner’s Faith. The disciples had trouble accepting Samaritans as brothers and sisters. They treated them as foreigners, but the Kingdom of God broke down those prejudices and barriers. However, the Kingdom of God introduced a new challenge. If our country is no longer Israel, Rome, Samaria, or the United States, then we have become foreigners and exiles in our own countries. We cannot blend in to be just like our fellow countrymen or succumb to the sinful desires that wage war on our souls. Recognizing the Kingdom of God, we are called to higher standard. Our faith makes us foreigners in our own country.
Our Higher Calling. Our fellow countrymen on earth are for the most part not Christians. These “pagans” have no reason to live for a higher standard. In fact, when we accept Jesus’ standard, we reject the very practices that we once participated in. This attitude threatens non-Christians because it judges their lifestyle as “sinful.” Their natural reaction will be to accuse us of doing something wrong. Peter challenged the Christians to live such an exemplary life that even these accusations will fall short because of the quality of our lives. Peter described a faith so foreign to people that they would ask us what in the world we believe in and start to wonder what is missing in their own faith. Peter’s challenge is not to take on a judgmental attitude or to imitate the racism that characterizes this world. Rather, he urges us to “no longer see people from a worldly point of view” (2 Corinthians 5:16) but rather to imitate Jesus.
What Deeds? I’ve often measured my good deeds by my relationship with God (prayer, Bible study) or my witness to others (sharing my faith). I’ve had to reconsider this interpretation after reading what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Peter has a similar interpretation of good deeds—they are something that people will see and glorify God. What type of deeds make even the world consider glorifying God? I believe Jesus and Peter are both talking about the way we treat other people. This may be our kindness and humility but more likely reflects our compassion and service to those in need. Unfortunately for most Christians, if the world is impressed primarily by our impact on our communities through serving those in need, we may not be inspiring many people to praise God by our current lifestyle. A “foreigner faith” somehow must include deeds that inspire others to praise God!
Personal Application ____________________________
- What insights did I gather from today’s devotional?
- What decisions should I make?
- How can I put into action what I’ve learned?
- Share with another person what insight, decision or action you have taken.