Today we celebrate the life of someone who had a dream…a dream that a nation divided by hatred and racism would be brought together to live in in one accord. Over 50 years ago, our nation experienced a time of heavy racism. Although, thanks to men like Martin Luther King Jr. we have come pretty far since then, we continue to fight the seemingly never-ending battle of equality.
Let’s face it…human differences can divide us. But as most of us strive for unity, we are left pondering the question why? In a world with so much diversity, so much creativity, so much flare, we can’t help but think: does this equality issue go deeper than merely skin color, gender and socio-economy?
As a fellow brother in the faith, Martin Luther King Jr. also envisioned the day when everything would be made new on the Earth—perfect—as it was originally intended to be, before sin and corruption entered the world and derailed it all. “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land,” he said, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
Racial and gender inequality is something that has been around since our dear Jesus walked this Earth. Dr. King made it his mission to take a stand against the affects of sin in society, and what leaves such a deep impression is King’s desire to do so peaceably. I believe King saw the deeper issue. I believe he understood that the issue at hand was one of the heart—a heart condition that was brought upon because of the disease of sin.
In John chapter 4, we see an example of Jesus’ response to the same issues MLK experienced in the 60’s. Back when Jesus walked the Earth, the racial tension that was experienced was 100 fold. Samaria was a place inhabited by what Jews considered outcasts. No Jewish person would dare come near a Samaritan, let alone their country, Samaria.
Mo man except Jesus.
Out of all the places Jesus chose to rest, it was in Samaria, by a well where he knew a Samaritan woman would be coming by to get water. Now if the Jew-Samaritan tension wasn’t high enough, let’s add the fact that the Samaritan was a woman. During this time, and even still in so many places right now around the world, women were second-class citizens who had no legal or civil rights. For a man to speak to a woman, let alone a Samaritan woman, was a completely unacceptable and out of the norm violation. But wait, it doesn’t stop there. This woman, as Jesus prophesied, had had five husbands, and was at that time living with a man that was not her husband. This woman’s situation could not have gotten any worse: a Samaritan woman—second class, shunned by society—rejected by 5 different men—broken and desperate for acceptance.
Her response when Jesus spoke to her was to question his actions, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”
And just like most of Jesus’ responses, he overlooked the external situation and went straight for the real issue—the heart. Jesus paid no mind to the woman’s race, gender or even personal failures. He cared about her heart—the heart that was broken because of sin.
Jesus, Creator of the Universe loves diversity and makes himself known through creativity. Diversity is beautiful—it’s what makes our heights vary and our skin tones colorful. Every person walking this Earth is distinct, and it’s this distinction that makes the world beautiful.
Just like every other beautiful thing in this world, sin can destroy it. But not only did Jesus come to heal the broken and accept the outcast, he came to save and rescue from this wretched disease of sin.
Jesus came as God in the flesh to turn sin on its head. He came to destroy and conquer it by never allowing it to destroy or conquer Him. He lived a perfect life and died an undeserved death. What He did for that Samaritan woman, we wants to do to each of us—make right what sin has made wrong.
He wants to mend your hearts. Our broken, calloused, rejected, empty hearts—despite our ethnicity, race or gender.
Let us embrace the beauty in diversity as we celebrate a man who made it his mission to worship and stand for God’s beautiful design of creativity.
* This post was inspired by Rick Blackwood's message that was taught at Christ Fellowship Miami. Click here to watch the full video.