Jesus the Barrier Breaker

Message outline on John 4 – April 3, 2005

Introduction

How well do we know Jesus?  Do you think Jesus would want to know “the woman at the well”? What would a perfect sinless Jesus say to this troubled, hurting woman with a past? He did talk to her.  And she was not put off.

Jesus Christ is just the kind of God who makes “rumored” people feel at ease.

Two purposes today –

            Get to know Jesus better

            Learn to break down barriers between people, not raise them

Barrier One – Busyness (John 4:1-8)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of busyness by revealing his own weakness.

            Instead of insulating himself from her when he needed rest, he asked her for a drink.  He didn’t come across as the Son of God.  He came across as the weary traveler (which he was.) In our busyness, we often try to look like we have it all together.  The first step oftentimes to break the barrier between ourselves and others is to admit our weakness and ask for help.

Barrier Two – Race (John 4:9-10)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of race by building curiosity.

Jesus spoke words that got her interest, that got her to think of him as more than just a caricature.  Jesus often used startling (unintelligible) statements to get attention.  “You must be born again.”  Barrier is down.  Curiosity is up.

Barrier Three – Experience (John 4:11-14)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of experience by making spiritual promises

The woman could not imagine the truth of what Jesus said because she was limited by her own experience.  Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit.  She only experienced water.  Jesus was talking about ultimate satisfaction.  She had only experienced transient joy.  So Jesus made great spiritual promises to get her to think of (what was to her) the impossible.

Barrier Four – Spiritual Unawareness (John 4:15-18)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of spiritual unawareness by revealing and accepting the emptiness of life

She still could not imagine a spiritual side of her life that was needy.  So Jesus put the spotlight on the emptiness in her life.  How tactful he was!  He complimented her on her honesty!  He saw the goodness in her depravity.

Every person is a wonder!  Created in the image of God, built and destined for eternity, every person has tremendous capacity for survival.  It is amazing how people can face tragedy after tragedy and keep going!  Jesus honored that!  She was honest.  She didn’t quit.

Some people stress the depravity of man to the extent that they don’t see any good in people!  How tragic that is.  When a person is spiritually dead, that does not mean he can’t do anything, it means he is separated from God.  Spiritually dead people do a lot.  Many of them do a lot of good!  This isn’t the ultimate good that God requires for holiness and heaven – Romans 1-2 – “there is none good but God” Matthew 19:17.  This is the good as we commonly understand it – Matthew 7:11, Matthew 22:10.

Jesus broke the barrier of spiritual unawareness by revealing the woman’s pain and unmet longings, while emphasizing her honesty in facing her own emptiness.  We can do the same as we marvel at people’s perseverance under suffering.  We can compliment someone on how they hold on through the terrors of alcoholism.  Break the barriers, and yet reveal the emptiness of life.

Barrier Five – Religion (John 4:19-24)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of religion by talking of genuine worship

The woman turned the discussion to the argument over religions.  Jesus jumped the barrier by focusing on true worship – which any people in any religion would understand.  It is the promise of genuine acceptance by God and freedom to offer ourselves to him.

Barrier Six – Only Future Hope (John 4:25-26)

            Jesus broke down the barrier of an “only future” hope by being present now.

She tried to put off the notion of genuine worship by putting it off to a future time.  “Nice thoughts, but they’re not relevant now.”  Sure, she thought, all things can be right, but for that to happen God will have to come into the world and change things.  Messiah will come and make EVERYTHING right.

Jesus broke that barrier by claiming to be the promised one, and being here NOW.  Salvation is now!

Conclusion

JESUS KNOWS – JESUS ACCEPTS

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