Perspective 1- Kelsey and Laura Rath (Mother/Daughter Duo)

Have you ever faced temptation?

Jesus did here on earth. After having fasted for 40 days in the desert, the devil tempted Jesus to change stones into bread. Even though He was hungry, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus relied on His Father and resisted temptation. Do you turn to God when you’re tempted, or do you rely on your own strength to resist, and sometimes give in?

God understands temptation. He knows what we go through when we’re trying to resist and do what’s right in His eyes. He knows because He experienced it here on earth.

Perspective 2-Pastor Ron

The overall theme of the chapter this week is the fact that Jesus is no ordinary man.  He is a man, but certainly not like any other man, because He is, in fact, God also.   The pages are filled with Jesus performing incredible miracles and great acts of compassion.

One particular incident recorded in this chapter was the topic of a short discussion I had this week with Rev. Dr. Bob Newton. Rev. Newton is a District president in our Synod and I was with him at a meeting the early part of this week. He brought a new angle to this story that I had not thought of before. I had forgotten it was in this chapter until I read it in the airport waiting for my flight to return home. The incident? The women at the well.

Much has been made of the fact that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, particularly because she was a Samaritan, and Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Much has been made out of the fact that she lived in shame, thus she was at the well in the heat of the day. The shame has been associated with the fact that she has had 5 husbands and we conclude that she is some kind of woman of ill repute. Yet, women of ill repute don’t get married! So what is her shame and why has she had 5 husbands. The clue comes in the fact that there is no mention of her having children.

The culture of day was such that if a woman was barren, she was not considered to have any value. It was commonplace for a man to divorce a woman who could give him no children. Could it be that 5 men had divorced her because she could not have children? Could her shame be that she has no children therefore is not welcome at the well with the other women? Maybe the reason she is not married now is she has found a man who will at least offer her a roof over her head, but he will not give her his name.

The story takes on a whole new look. Perhaps for the first time, or at least the first time in a long time, a man is talking respectfully to her. Jesus offers no words of rebuke to this woman, instead he offers the living water of the Gospel. She tells the town not that this Jesus called her out and condemned her, but instead says, “Come see a man who told me everything that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

Indeed He is the Messiah. The Messiah who knows everything you ever did. Who has not come to condemn the world, but to save it.

Perspective 3-Barb Miles

As I read the Bible references to this chapter I realized just how many times Jesus came into so many different situations where a crowd had gathered.  So many had questions about who he was and why was he was there.  Jesus did not limit his ministry to those who were well dressed, he ministered to all; children, women, people with deformities, and on and on.  There was no criteria for who he would witness to or heal.  Beyond His powers of healing, He also dined with tax collectors and sinners who were not popular people.  Jesus said when questioned about his dinner companions “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”

Another point brought to my attention was how many times Jesus went away to pray in solitude.  I have been reminded in my reading and studying to set quiet time in prayer.  It looks like I have just been reminded of that very priority.  Jesus felt regenerated and ready to again go on for the day.  What a role model!

One other contrast I found in the Bible references for this chapter was that Jesus started selecting his disciples from men who he observed fishing.  I wondered if the qualities of a fisherman that would be patient, quiet people, and able to look for new “spots”  for supplies of fish would be similar to the qualities of those who “fish for people to share God’s word?”   When we are looking for sharing our faith, we must be patient, quiet and good observers, and always be open to fish in new spots for witnessing.

Perspective 4-Dan Petrak