Remember when you were first saved, you had to tell everyone? How long did that last? How can we revive that enthusiasm? Let’s learn from Christ’s example with the Samaritans.
Some estrangement between the residents of middle and southern Palestine was evident in the period of the judges, but the feelings…intensified with the formation of the northern kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam I…. In 732 BC the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser III conquered the NE portion of Israel and followed its established policy of deporting local residents and replacing them with foreign captives (2 Kings 15:29)…. Sargon II in 721 BC deported many inhabitants of the region of Samaria and imported other peoples (2 Kings 17:24). Intermarriage gradually took place. Because lions played havoc among the new residents, one of the deported priests was returned to Bethel in order to “teach them the law of God of the land…” (2 Kings 17:25-28). He was only partially successful…while they “feared the Lord,” they also “served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:29-33).
Descendants of this mixed population desired to help Zerubbabel build the temple because they claimed to worship the same God, but when their offer was rejected, they opposed and delayed the construction (Ezra 4:2-5)…Nehemiah…opposed by…Sanballat, Geshem, and Tobiah (Nehemiah 2:10, 19; 4:1; 6:1; etc.).
Nehemiah opposed these mixed peoples’ religion.
In his attempt to cleanse the people “from everything foreign” (Nehemiah 13:30) he demanded the dissolution of all mixed marriages…. Subsequently, the term “Samaritans” came to refer specifically to this religious group, not to the inhabitants of the city or province of Samaria in general. Only the Torah or the Pentateuch was accepted as Scripture, and in the growing conflict with the Jews, the Samaritans rejected the rest of the Jewish OT as being authoritative. It is difficult to determine whether this limitation was premeditated by the banished priest or whether it was accidental; i.e., possibly the only MS he could obtain at his expulsion was a copy of the Torah. In any case, the mutual esteem of the law accounts for the features common to the Samaritans and the Jews; belief in one God, veneration of Moses, and concern for the sabbath, the major feasts, and circumcision.
THE IRRECONCILABLE HERESY
At that time holy places were as sacred as obeying and/or respecting our parents still is today. Jesus did speak of a coming change, which “even now existed,” as he taught the Samaritans (John 4:19-24). But
The irreconcilable heresy of the Samaritans was…Mount Gerizim, not Mount Zion in Jerusalem, was the true place to worship God. According to Deuteronomy, Moses made a number of references to “the place which the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there” (e.g., 12:11), but the place was not specifically designated. He instructed the people, however, that on entering the land they should “set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal” (Deuteronomy 11:29; 27:12-13). The context implied that Mount Gerizim, the place of blessing, was the site for the altar and, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch, Moses commanded that an altar be built on Mount Gerizim (Deuteronomy 27:4-8). The Jews rejected that claim, however, because their copies of the Torah had Mount Ebal instead. Yet the intent of the passage, in either case, authorized worship near Shechem (q.v.), that ancient religious center which lay in the pass between Mount Ebal to the N[orth] and Mount Gerizim to the S[outh]….
According to their own account, the Samaritans originated with those faithful Israelites…who refused to follow Eli when he moved the ark S[outh] from Shechem to the apostate sanctuary at Shiloh.
THE INTOLERABLE LIMIT
The Jewish pilgrimage to/from Jerusalem normally took Galileans through the Jordan Valley, making their journey about 40 km longer (i.e. starting from Nazareth). Jesus didn’t always travel the way the others did. And although the Samaritans received Jesus with open arms (John 4:39-42), they rejected him when they knew he was going to Jerusalem for another feast (Luke 9:51-53).
DISCIPLES VERSUS “CHRISTIANS”
The name “Christian” was given to those who were “Christ-like Ones” in Acts 11:26. But many people call themselves Christians who truly aren’t (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; 13:25-27). Whereas to be a disciple means we’re teachable and willing to change. Some of the Samaritans who rejected Christ in Luke 9:51-53 may have repented and became true disciples later (cp. Acts 8:1, 5-25). We need to remember that when we sow the seed, sometimes it doesn’t grow right away.
HOW TO KEEP FROM DISCOURAGEMENT WHEN WITNESSING
Not long ago I heard a missionary say, “A need will not keep you on the mission field. People will rebuke and repel you” …I asked…why she had stayed all these years. Without hesitation she said, …God’s command. If it wasn’t for God’s command I wouldn’t be there…. Some may think that…sounds cold and hard…. She had not lost her ideals, only her idealism.
This book goes on to build a foundation from scripture which will make your witness and growth unshakeable. I highly recommend it since I can’t do it justice in my “Reader’s Digest” blogs.
The above is scanned from Wikipedia on Samaritans