CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Bringing a Lasting Peace 5/2/2022

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by Precarious Yates

When we sit before the Lord and allow Him to pour into our hearts a revelation of His goodness, kindness and faithfulness toward us, His love and joy over us, and gentleness and patience with us, we can then communicate His heart to others.

Jesus said, in John 14:12, that we would do the same works He did and even greater works than these because He was going to the Father. Jesus knew that we would need the fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit: that we would need to be one with Him, as He prayed in John 17:22-23, in order to be effective for His name on the earth. “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

In John 4, Jesus goes through Samaria and has a poignant discussion with a woman beside a well at midday. During the conversation, Jesus reveals some of the woman’s history. She replies, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.” (Verse 19).

Jesus spoke in prophetic ministry that day in a way that completely transformed that woman’s life. The impact did not stop there. She ran off to tell everyone about Jesus because of the prophetic word He gave her and the gentle way He, a Jewish man, treated her, a Samaritan woman. Gentleness. Kindness. Love. Patience.

At another time, before Jesus went to the cross, Jesus and His disciples crossed through Samaria. Because Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, the Samaritans, in Luke 9:53, refused them any kind of hospitality. How did James and John react? They were sure they had power like Elijah who could call down fire on those who refused God. Luke 9:54

And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them (as Elijah did)?”

Let me explain some of the history of Samaria. Tensions between Israelites and Samaritans began way back during the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death. They were caught smack dab in the middle of that division. Then relations soured further during and after the Assyrian invasion, since so many of the Assyrian military forced relations with Jewish women in Samaria, to put it mildly. These people of mixed heritage were barred from taking part in the reconstruction in Judah that occurred during Nehemiah and Ezra. So this conflict between Jews and Samaritans was already a millenium old when Jesus sat to have a conversation with the woman at the well. When His disciples later wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village, Jesus wanted to shift their paradigms. He rebuked them and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man came not to destroy people’s lives but to save them.”

(You have to look in the margin notes of your Bible to find this verse in most translations, but I know some reputable scholars who deem it as original. It certainly echoes what Jesus has said in other places!)

After Jesus rises from the grave, He gives specific instructions to His disciples to preach the gospel in Samaria:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In Acts 8, Philip begins this witness. Then, one of the people who had previously asked Jesus if he should call down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan town shows up in Samaria! Listen to this:

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. (Acts 8:14)

John! John who had threatened to call down fire from heaven on them! What had changed in John? The Holy Spirit now lived inside him and the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, these flowed from him! The next verse tells us:

“The two (Peter and John) went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit” ~ Acts 8:15

After they ministered in this town in Samaria, they proclaimed the gospel all the way back to Jerusalem. The prophetic ministry that Jesus began in John 4 was brought to fruition in Acts 8 by His apostles proclaimed Jesus (remember that Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy!). Acts 8 shows the reconciliation that Jesus sought to bring between Jews and Samaritans. Remember also how peace is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The reconciliation between Samaritans and Jewish Christians is a lasting peace!

May God’s blessing be upon you as you bring His peace wherever you go!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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