When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,…
The ministry of Christ may be divided into two sections, the Galilean and the Judaean. Taking Capernaum as a centre and describing a circle of ten miles, and taking the Temple as a centre and describing another circle of equal radius — between these two points the life of Christ oscillated. Separating the two provinces was a strip of country inhabited by a mongrel semi-alien race — the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews there was a long.standing feud. How will Christ treat it? Will He pass round it? Will He widen the chasm? Or will He loin the two in one? Let us see.
I. WHEN CHRIST SPEAKS OF THE SAMARITANS IT IS IN WORDS OF FAVOUR AND COMMENDATION.
1. In the Samaritan "Stranger" of Luke 17:11-20, He finds the truest worship of Jehovah offered, not on Moriah, nor yet on Gerizim, but by the wayside.
2. In the parable of the Good Samaritan a comparison is drawn between the Samaritan and the Jew, to the eternal honour of the one, and the eternal shame of the other. The former is placed beside the very elite of Judaism, the priest and Levite, and the Master uses their selfish inhumanity as a foil to throw out more clearly and brightly the noble generosity of this "stranger."
3. Christ is Himself called a Samaritan (John 8:48), doubtless because of His strong Samaritan leanings, and He does not protest.
II. CHRIST SEEKS TO REMOVE THE PREJUDICES OF HIS DISCIPLES BY PERSONAL CONTACT WITH THE DESPISED RACE.
1. The exception (Matthew 10:5) is due to their narrow views and prejudices.
2. Christ takes them with Him into Samaria (chap. John 4.) and sends them to "have dealings" with the Samaritans; and tarries with them there two days (ver. 40), and thus the old prejudices are removed by friendly hospitalities.
III. CHRIST OFFERED TO THE SAMARITANS THE PRIVILEGES OF HIS KINGDOM.
1. He deigns to ask a favour of the Samaritan woman and speaks one of the sublimest discourses of His ministry.
2. She and her fellow-citizens proclaim Christ the Messiah.
3. As a result of this the chasm is filled up (Acts 1:8; Acts 8:5-8). Henceforth the Samaritan is no more the "stranger," but "a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God."
(H. Burton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,