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Can This Be the Christ?

The Samaritan woman, leaving her waterpot by the well, rushed to her village, urging the people, “Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did. Can this be the Christ?” (Jn. 4:25).

The invitation of this woman, with perhaps Jesus’ supernatural revelation of the woman’s past life, coupled also with the question, “Can this be the Christ?” aroused the interest of the villagers and Jesus did not disappoint them. The Holy Spirit’s comment of these was, “And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman” (Jn. 4:29). Then, after Jesus spent two days teaching these people they exclaimed to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of thy speaking, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this indeed is the Savior come into the world” (Jn. 4:42). In this latter statement we understand these believers’ faith in Jesus didn’t rest solely on the woman’s testimony. They had come to believe for they heard from Jesus’ own mouth and His words convinced them He was the Christ for which they looked. They could now respond to the woman’s question, “Can this be the Christ?” with a resounding “Yes!” Still, their faith rested on the fact that the woman had invited them and they had accepted her invitation to hear Jesus.

There is no record of any miracles done here excluding Jesus’ revelation of the woman’s past history. That revelation convinced the woman Jesus was a prophet and because she believed He was such, when He responded to her words, “I know that Messiah cometh and when he is come, he will declare unto us all things” (Jn. 4:25) by saying, “I that speak unto thee am he” doubtlessly she believed He was (Jn. 4:26). Jesus could have worked miracles among these Samaritans for He wrought miracles at the request of other Gentiles; i.e. the Canaanite  woman (Matt. 15:21-28) and the centurion (Matt. 8:5-13). Later Philip the evangelist worked many miracles there causing great amazement among them (Acts 8:13). However, these who heard Jesus at the woman’s invitation were convicted by what He taught in the absence of miracles (Jn. 4:42). Jesus caused others to believe by His words. Rulers sent officers to arrest Jesus but the crowd around Jesus caused the officers to wait and listen to Him. They returned to the rulers without Him. The rulers asked, “Why did you not bring him?” They replied, “Never a man so spake” (Jn. 7:46). Jesus’ words were marvelous then and they are marvelous now. Miracles confirmed His deity and strengthened the faith of those who witnessed such, but Paul’s simple words, “So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17) is the formula for men to believe. The Hebrew writer recorded, “The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of both joints and marrow and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Paul worked no miracle before either Felix or Agrippa yet when Paul preached of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified (Acts 24:25). When Paul spoke to Agrippa of the nature of conversion, citing his own conversion and commission from Christ, he asked Agrippa, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” Agrippa responded, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27-28). The faith of the Samaritans came about because a woman of their own number asked them to hear Jesus. Paul wrote that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe (Rom. 1:16), and in the nearly 2,000 years since he wrote these words, it still has the same power.

Danny Brown, longtime proclaimer of the gospel and editor of The Preceptor magazine for many years “died in the faith” but he wasn’t “born in the faith.” His background was Baptist and he was grown and married to his wife Elizabeth before he heard the gospel. In Elizabeth’s words, one Saturday their next-door neighbor invited them to “go to church” with her the following morning. They discussed her invitation and accepted it. Elizabeth’s comment was, “We went the next morning and never stopped.” Think of all the lives touched by Danny and Elizabeth. There were many souls saved through the gospel Danny preached for so many years. There were many brethren whose faith was strengthened through Danny’s efforts in publishing his journal. This was all because some unknown Christian cared enough about two souls without Christ to invite them to come hear the gospel.

Do we have the same care as that unknown sister did to ask lost souls we know to come and go with us? The Samaritans responded to the woman’s request “Come, hear a man who told me all things that ever I did. Can this be the Christ?” There are still sincere souls who will come with us if we will ask them.

Jim McDonald

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