All In

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Judges 14:1-19; Acts 6:15-7:16; John 4:27-42

I am thankful to be part of a church and a denomination that doesn’t spend much time fretting over “who’s going to hell.”  These are not things that Presbyterians worry about, leaving these things for God to sort out.  It is not my place to judge or worry about such things.

In many ways, John’s gospel today deals who is in and who is out.

Remember the story of Jesus and the Woman at Samaria?  The disciples discover Jesus has been speaking to a WOMAN, and they are HORRIFIED.  They urge him to eat something, and he speaks esoterically about having food they do not know about.  He talks about gathering fruit for eternal life, the sower and reaper rejoicing together, and those who have labored entering into their labor.  It is a strange response to say the least.   Then the Samaritans show up and declare to the woman that they no longer believe because of what she said, but because they have heard for themselves.

Jesus understands his work to include the harvest of all people.  “Sowers” and “reapers” usually work months apart, with one planting grain, the other reaping the benefits of its growth.  Here it appears here that the harvest has already come.

But this still doesn’t answer things.  Is Jesus the living water and the Bread of Life to the point that we don’t need a crucifixion?  Paul exalts the self-sacrifice at the cross.  John seems to be exalting the Christ as a living, breathing entity.

These miracles in John do more than stir controversy about “who’s in and who’s out” or breaking rules on the Sabbath.  They focus on the person and power of Jesus.  They illuminate a savior who is utterly unconcerned with the way things “used to be” or even the way things “should be.”  He is concerned only with showing God’s glory in the world, and helping people to see a harvest that goes beyond the walls, beyond the rules, and beyond their imagination.

Could it be he is alluding to a day where all are drawn to the love of God?  Where no one is left out?  Where all are wrapped so tightly in the love of God that no one can escape?  Some might say, “Say it ain’t so!”  Others of us say, “Yes!  Exactly!  This is the Good News we have been talking about!”  I’m not a universalist.  But maybe God is.  That’s just not for me to fool with.

-Matt

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