Full text of author and bishop TD Jakes’ sermon tiled “It’s Not What It Looks Like.”
Best quote from this message:
“Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but I will remember the name of the Lord.”
TD Jakes – Bishop of The Potter’s House
Greetings friends in the name of Jesus Christ our King I’m so excited to have this opportunity to share the word of the Lord with you. I’ve got an exciting word for you: IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. You’ll understand it better in a moment.
I believe the word is going to bless your life. Get ready, get ready, get ready, here it comes: It’s not what it looks like.
The fourth chapter of St. John, the 25th verse, is at the end of a narrative where the Gospel of St. John points to a unique story about Jesus coming to the Samaritan woman down at the well, and the conversation has ensued between them and we will begin at the ending or near the conclusion of the conversation, between the woman at the well and Jesus.
Verse number 25: The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah is coming which is called Christ. When he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said what seekest thou or white talkest thou with her?
The woman then left her waterpot and went her way into the city and saith to the men: come see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
Then they went out of the city and came unto Him.
Now the normal direction of reading such a text would lead us to this evangelistic endeavor of this woman who goes down into the city of Samaria to say come see a man which told me all things that I’ve ever done.
But I going to avoid that, and instead go to verse 27, and upon this came his disciples. Upon what? Upon the conversation between him and the woman.
And upon this came his disciples and marveled that he talked with the woman, yet no man said what sleekest thou or why talkest thou with her? That’s where I’m going to focus my thoughts this morning.
The 27th verse… and my subject is: IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
Look at your neighbor and say: It’s not what it looks like.
It is odd that John takes us in the fourth chapter to a rest stop if you will, where Jesus sets down to rest at the well and sends his disciples after meat… and sends them out to get meat so that they might return to the well.
And when they returned to the well, the oddity of the situation is the Lord who sent them to get meat and bread, when they returned with the meat and bread says I’m not hungry.
Now you must understand that they traveled by foot and it took a while to go on such an errand. It took quite a while ago on an errand, and you would think that if you sent your disciples twelve to go get lunch and all of them walked off and left you by yourself, twelve men going to get lunch for one man, he should have been pretty hungry.
And then when they come back with the lunch, there he is sitting by the well talking to this woman. And though they had too much respect for him to question him, the Gospel of St. John reads their mind, says, “Wait a minute, I thought you were hungry. Now you say you have meat that we know not of. And I thought you were tired, and we come back and you’re engrossed in this conversation with this woman.”
And he says, “It is not what it looks like.”
You must realize my brothers and sisters, for Jesus to say that he must need go through Samaria, that was startling alone. If we could excuse the fact that he has become engrossed with this conversation with this woman of a questionable past, we still have the glaring reality that what is this Jewish teacher doing in Samaria.
Any self-respecting Jewish theologian would have never come into Samaria in the first place. There was a war between the Samaritans and the Jews as it related to the fact that the Jews rightly resisted the fellowship with the Samaritans, because the Samaritans had a form of godliness denying the power thereof and they would not allow them to pass themselves off as if they were the same thing when they were not at all the same thing.
There was a war between them. The Samaritans were considered unclean. They had no dealings with them. They had no plan for them. They had no future for them because they knew things about the Samaritans that would have exempted them from being eligible to have a legitimate relationship with God.
Now it’s one thing when people are saying things about you that are not true. But it’s another thing when they have legitimate reasons to alienate you and attack you on the basis of past mistakes. It is not that Jesus is not aware of what is being said about the Samaritans; he is pointedly and poignantly aware of the Samaritans about their idolatrous ways, about their mistakes, about their failures. And yet he says I must need go to Samaria.
Why would you be bothered with Samaria anyway? They are heathens; their past is ruined; their mistakes are bad; they didn’t help us in the rebuilding of the temple. In fact, they were thorns in our flesh. They are a mixed multitude and amalgamation of a lot of different ideas, these people are confused.
And what church people have a tendency to do… when they think that you are confused and they don’t agree with you, they either attack you or alienate you.
But I’m so glad that Jesus is not like church people. He said I must need go through Samaria. In other words, “I’m going out of my way to go after a group of people that everybody else has rejected, because just because you have not included them does not mean that I don’t have a strategy for their lives.
And not only are they important enough that I have added them to my agenda, included them on my itinerary, but I am willing to sit by the well all day to find one person who can help me break down the wall and get into Samaria, one person.”
Now, I would have thought Jesus being the son of God, Jesus being of the tribe of Judah, Jesus being the seed of Abraham, Jesus being the root of Jesse, that if he was going to infiltrate the Samaritans and break into their world, he might have talked to their magistrates, their kings, their leadership, their authority.
I would have thought that he would have made an appointment, at least with one of their priests, in their ruined temple and battled their Scripture against Scripture to bring them into a reformation of truth. I would have thought that Jesus would have written a blog site and said, “They’re in error, and they’re in heresy,” and attacked their integrity.
I would have thought that Jesus would have put them on blast in some sort of way, dealing with their leadership to break into the city, but, no, Jesus doesn’t pick the aristocracy of Samaria. He doesn’t pick the religious scribes of Samaria, but he sits by the well not even waiting on a man. He waits on a woman, a woman of Sychar, to come down to the well.
The Bible doesn’t even give us the name of this woman. She is a nameless woman, and yet Jesus sits down at the well and waits to meet her. He sends his boys on an errand because sometimes even the people who are with you do not understand your vision, and they will alienate you from the very people that God sent you to serve and to save, because there is nothing and there is no group of people that act any more important than the people that are with the man of God, often act more important than the man of God himself.