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“When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)” (John 4:1~8)
I received salvation in 1962. Till then, I thought I had lived my spiri-tual life well. But at that time, I had failed in everything, had no hope, and my spiritual life was a complete mess. I broke the law, committed many sins, did many evil things . . . , I speak about my life before salvation to explain salvation, but my life then was so bad that even thinking of it makes me feel dark and fru-strated. At that time, if I were asked who the most miserable person in this world was, I would answer that it was me. If I were asked who the most deceitful and dirty man was, I would answer that it was me. This was the amount of pain I was in. When I look back and think about this, I feel that it was Jesus who had compassion on me.
When I look closely in the Scrip-tures at the people who receive the grace of God, it is not that they are blessed because they did well, did something compliment-worthy, were loyal, or gave much offering. I could strongly feel in my heart that they received grace because God had compassion on them.
Recently, I spoke about the man who fell among thieves in Luke chapter 10 during the Sunday ser-vice of my church. I saw how similar I was to that man who fell among thieves, and I felt that I resembled him so much. The story of the man who fell among thieves begins, “A certain man went down from Jeru-salem to Jericho, and fell among thieves.” Jericho is a city of pleasure. It is the world as it is. I went to Jeri-cho a few years ago and there were many coconut trees and date palms, and the city was very luxuriant and exuberant. Everyone, you know very well that Rahab was the harlot of Jericho, right? Jericho from long ago was an elaborate city of pleas-ure, of lust and riotousness.
A man went down from Jerusa-lem to Jericho. This means leaving God to follow the pleasures of the world, flowing after his ambitions. He met thieves on his way, and the thieves stripped him and left him half dead. This man who fell among thieves had no hope. But a priest happened to pass that way and saw him, but passed him by. A Levite also just passed him by and now he could only remain and die. But the great thing about the Scriptures is, at the end it says, But a certain Sa-maritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.
People follow their own thoughts and think that they have to be good; be loyal, in order to re-ceive salvation. There are many peo-ple who think that they receive sal-vation as an award for keeping the Ten Commandments, giving offer-ing, and praying well. But the rea-son we gain salvation is because we have no methods and no ways. It means that we are saved because God has compassion, sympathy, and mercy for us. It says that the Samari-tan saw the man who fell among thieves and had compassion on him. It means that the Samaritan had a burning heart to show mercy to the man.
In the story of the prodigal son, when the son returns to the father who had been waiting for him, it says, “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion.” The father’s heart of compassion had him run to the son, had him fall on the son’s neck, and had him kiss his son. That heart continued to work in the father and he says, “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand. Put shoes on his feet.” This is how the story goes.
This is also true with the woman taken in adultery in John chapter 8. She committed adultery and is be-ing dragged to be stoned to death. When other people consider her as just some woman they would think, “Hey, that woman! I knew she’d do this. She was always too flirty. Hey, now she’s gonna die.” But in the eyes of God who made man and who