Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prophet without Honour (Jn. 4:43-45)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 21 February 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 4:43-45

Many people made the wrong mistakes like the Samaritan woman. She lived the wrong way until Jesus came to save her. Likewise we all need the transforming power of Christ. If we rely on our wisdom, follow our desires and have our own selfish plans, in the end we will waste our entire life and accomplish nothing. We need to call upon the Lord to enter into our lives.

Jesus would have delayed His trip to Galilee a few days because of His trip to Samaria. It seemed like a waste a time but the purpose Christ came to earth is to lead the lost sheep back. It is a necessity that Christ went to Samaria, not because Christ needed it, but because the Samaritan woman needed Him. Without God, we will be moving around in circles, without goal and direction in life. Since Jesus entered into her life, this decadent woman became a blessing to the town.

In John 4:44 spoke about Jesus as the prophet without honour in his own hometown.

We need to respect ourselves before we can expect others to respect us. When others respect us, we also find it easier to respect ourselves. This is a moving force in the society. But there is one element we do not discover because of our sin, that is, we often judge others unjustly. We all want to be honoured by others but we do not want to honour others.

When you try to defend your own existence, indirectly you despise others you should not. Many religions teach how to treat yourself and others. Confucius teaches that what you do not want, we should do not do it to others. Jesus says to do to others what we want others to do to us. If we are not the one to make the first move, we are not worthy to enjoy the honour that come from others. This becomes the golden rule of the Bible which surpasses the rule of all other books.

The difference between Confucius and the saying of Jesus is that Confucius is passive while Jesus is active. The words of Jesus Christ is more profound. You should treat others the way you want others to treat you. This is the way to treat others and it is often difficult. Jesus Himself has pointed out something, the prophet has no honour in his own country. Jesus came as a human and lived among us and tasted human relationships. The people who are close to us might not know us that well and often do not respect us as much as others do.

The world was created by Him but the world knew Him not. Isaiah declared that the sheep and cattle knew its master, but God’s people did not know Him. God said His people did not honour Him. The greatest disrespect came in the way we treated Jesus when He came.

Christ said a prophet is without honour in his own country. If the foreign prophets are treated as prophets, should not the local prophets be treated as prophets too? Why are they not honoured as prophets? Elijah and Moses who appeared in the transfiguration are the two greatest representative figures of the Old Testament. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the prophets. But they both came from humble places.

Jesus went to Galilee, His own town where He was not honoured initially (Jn. 4:43-44). Jesus was raised in Galilee. Because no prophet came from Nazareth before, people assumed it would never happen. It was a horrifying self-constrained to think that the future must be like the past. We apply the unchangeability that belongs to God alone to everything else. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is no shadow of change with God. So when we say people cannot change we think they are the same yesterday today and forever. This is a faulty thinking.

One fault is being constrained by past concept, which is tradition. The second one is to draw conclusion without checking the facts. The Jews said there is no prophet from Galilee and they considered Jesus a Galilean. Actually Jesus was not a Galilean. He was from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of David. He is not related to Galilee but they were not willing to find out the truth. From their false knowledge they simply refused Him. He was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth.

When people dishonour Jesus, He did not retaliate but responded by winning the people in His own country. Some of the people from His town saw the things He did in Jerusalem, respected Him quietly and then brought that back to their own country. When He finally returned to Galilee, they welcome Him because they had seen all He did in Jerusalem. (John 4:45).

What did Jesus do in Jerusalem? He cleansed the temple and chased away all the money changers. As the Lord of the temple He cleansed His own temple. This is done with full confidence. So He won the honour of others.

Do not feel inferior when people disrespect you. Strive hard until you win their honour one day. Do not be a hero within your own room. Find and win a pasture so that your countrymen might honour you when they see what you have achieved. When the whole world respects you, the people in your home country cannot but honour you. Jesus had the most influence in the entire world but He had never left Judea.

We must work hard, strive, do our best, be able to take sufferings and fight to the end. Do not be a Christian who just to reaps the harvest and make use of the promises of God as if He is your servant. In every prayer we should seek God’s glory. Our Lord deserves to be honoured. We need to fight for our own dignity that people who look down on us will also honour us, that eventually the Lord’s name might be honoured because of us.

2 Comments:

At 8:22 PM, Blogger desmond said...

surely our Lord as Son of Man sets a perfect example for us to love others as our self. So all the more we must anchor our belief and trust in His Word; for wisdom and power are His. Lets be courageous to live in His truth and weary not, so that we may be thoroughly trained and be ready to do good work as the Lord commands. Give thanks for His Glory. Amen.

 
At 8:23 PM, Blogger desmond said...

surely our Lord as Son of Man sets a perfect example for us to love others as our self. So all the more we must anchor our belief and trust in His Word; for wisdom and power are His. Lets be courageous to live in His truth and weary not, so that we may be thoroughly trained and be ready to do good work as the Lord commands. Give thanks for His Glory. Amen.

 

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