The Gospel of John: We believe!

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42)

In John 4:27-42, the Apostle John provides five proofs supporting his overall theme (John 20:30-31) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The first one is found in vs. 27. It is the proof that Jesus was in immediate control of His immediate circumstances. He did not allow circumstances to control Him.

The second is found in vs. 28-30. It is the impact Jesus had upon the Woman at the Well. Remember, the woman came to the well to draw physical water. Upon encountering Jesus, she received living water. Jesus made the astonishing claim that He is not only the source of spiritual life, but also that He is God. She left her water jar and went to share what had happened to her. She had to tell somebody. Everybody!

The third proof of Jesus’ identity as God is found in vs. 31-34 and His intimacy with God the Father. He compared His relationship to the Father to food or nourishment. Paralleling the metaphor of salvation being like “living water,” Jesus told His disciples that much like physical food sustains the body, so the spiritual food of doing the will of the Father and accomplishing the work He had sent Jesus to accomplish was His food.

The fourth proof of Jesus’ identity as God is found in vs. 35-38. He possessed insight into men’s souls. He knew those who were the elect and ready for salvation. He also knew that the method and means to reach these people with Gospel would be through the preaching and teaching of His disciples. The Holy Spirit would use such means as the way to accomplish the eternal goal of God: the salvation of sinners.

The fifth and final proof of Jesus’ identity as God is found in vs. 39-42. Jesus made an efficient impact upon the Samaritans. These people were born again and received the living water of the gospel. He changed their thinking and their lives through the gospel. Jesus does the same work today.

The Samaritans asked Jesus to remain with them at Sychar and He remained two days. What began as a necessary journey through Samaria now became an opportunity to remain in Samaria. The result was that many people believed in Jesus. Jesus left the unbelief of the Judeans and came upon the harvest of the Samaritans before He would journey and minister to the Galileans (John 4:1-3).

The Samaritans did not regard Jesus as simply as prophet (vs. 19, 29, 39), but rather as the Savior of the world. I John 4:14 says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

One pastor writes, “This phrase (Savior of the world) occurs also in 1 John 4:14. The verse constitutes the climax to the story of the woman of Samaria. The Samaritans themselves became another in a series of witnesses in John’s Gospel that demonstrated the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. This episode represents the first instance of cross-cultural evangelism (Acts 1:8).”

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, From Jesus the Samaritans learned that He is the “Savior of the world” (John 4:42). This title had a rich background in the first-century culture. The ancient Greeks referred to their gods as saviors, and the Romans applied the title to the emperors. Such claims—and others like them—are declared false when Jesus is proclaimed as Savior of the world. In proclaiming Jesus as Savior of the world, we are claiming that He is the only possible avenue of salvation for sinners and that He is the fulfillment of the promise of the God of Israel—the one true creator God—to save both Jews and Gentiles (Isaiah 45:22). To recognize Jesus as the Savior of the world is not to promote universalism—the teaching that all people will be saved regardless of whether they have faith in Christ—for John’s gospel recognizes that some, in fact, will be condemned, not saved (John 3:18). Instead, to recognize Jesus as the Savior of the world is to recognize that if anyone in the world is saved, it is only in and through Him.”

The Samaritans confessed that they believed in Jesus. They trusted in, committed to, began to depend upon and worshiped the Son of God. It was not upon the testimony of the woman in which they relied but rather upon the living Word of God.

John Calvin explains, “We believe.” This expresses more fully the nature of their faith, that it has been drawn from the word of God itself, so that they can boast of having the Son of God as their Teacher; as, indeed, it is on His authority alone that we can safely rely. True, indeed, He is not now visibly present, so as to speak to us mouth to mouth; but by whomsoever we happen to hear Him, our faith cannot rest on any other than on Himself. And from no other source proceeds that knowledge which is likewise mentioned; for the speech which comes from the mouth of a mortal man may indeed fill and satisfy the ears, but will never confirm the soul in calm confidence of salvation, so that he who has heard may be entitled to boast that he knows.”

Are you trusting in, committed to, depending upon and consequentially worship Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord alone? Remember, salvation from the penalty, power, and eventual presence of sin is by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Repent of your sins and receive His righteousness today.

Soli deo Gloria!

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