By Graham Dull
There are those in our society who are honoured -- yet deserve no honour. Then there are those that are dishonoured -- they deserve a helping hand.
Here are some examples.
The Pharisee and the Publican
Jesus told the following story.
The Pharisee prayed, "I thank you that I am not as other men are." "I do this good deed and that good work..." "I am not, for example, like this publican standing just nearby who is rightly despised for his sins."
This Pharisee did not receive honour from God. He honours himself, but God did not honour him.
Luke 18: 9-14
9 And he spoke this parable unto those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up to the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
The woman at the well
There was a woman fetching water from the well in the heat of the day. She was despised for her sins. She came to the well at that time of day because it would be unlikely that others would be there. She could no longer endure the taunts, and the cold looks of her accusers. She could no longer endure being ignored and treated as if she wasn't there. She could no longer endure the whispers behind the cupped hands of the other women. She was a sinner.
Jesus helped this woman. She was unable to help herself, and she recognized this. It was God working through his own precious plan of redemption who helped her, and blessed her in an exceedingly abundant way.
Jesus said, "I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10: 10
4 Jesus was travelling through Samaria.
5 He came to the city of Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat down at the well: and it was about noon.
7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said unto her, Give me a drink.
8 (His disciples had gone into the city to buy food.)
9 The woman said to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, asks me for a drink, for I am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is speaking to you and asked, Give me a drink of water; you would have asked me, and I would give you living water.
11 The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: how then can you give me living water?
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself, along with his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered her, Whoever drinks of the water of this well shall become thirsty again:
14 But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst again. But the water that I shall give you will be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
16 Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come back.
17 The woman answered, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have rightly answered, I have no husband:
18 For you've had five husbands; and your present partner is not really your husband: you have spoken truly.
19 The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
20 The woman continued, Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; but you say, that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when all true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman said unto him, I know that the Messiah will come, which is called Christ: when he comes, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus said to her, It is I who am speaking to you, I am he.
27 Then his disciples returned, and they marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet not one of them said, What are you seeking? or, Why do you talk with her?
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went away into the city, and said to the men,
29 Come, see a man, who told me everything I ever did: is not this the Christ?
30 Then they went out of the city, and came to him.
31 In the meantime his disciples entreated him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said to them, I have food to eat that you know not of.
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, Has someone brought him food to eat?
34 Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Don't say, There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white and ready for harvest.
36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto eternal life: so he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.
37 And herein is a true saying, One sows, and another reaps.
38 I sent you to reap where you have bestowed no labour: other men have laboured, and you have reaped of their labours.
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him because the woman testified, He told me everything that I ever did.
40 So when the Samaritans had come to him, they besought him that he would tarry with them, and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed on him because of Jesus' own words;
42 And they said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of your word: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Jesus has come to bring deliverance to the poor, to the broken-hearted, and to those held captive. He has come to bring deliverance to the blind, and to those beaten and bruised. It is largely to those who have been let down by this world, those who have been walked over in this world, that Jesus comes. He comes to those in need of him. He will lift up each one, and he will deliver them.
16 Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17 And there was handed to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are beaten and bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
(Jesus read from the Book of Isaiah -- 61:1, 2)
20 He closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And all eyes of those in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he said to them, Today, through me, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.
Can we love as Jesus did?
And here is an additional question -- Do we really care for others?
We note again that there are those in our society who are honoured -- yet deserve no honour. Then there are those that are dishonoured -- they deserve a helping hand.
It is fitting for each of us, whether we're numbered among the honoured or dishonoured in this world, to humble ourselves before God so that we may partake of his great abundance. God will readily bless. Let us gladly come to him.
Let us heed Jesus' words. "There are many who are now first -- who shall be last; and many who are now last -- who shall be first." (Mark 10:31)