In the midst of division, prejudice, and violence God sent his beloved son to show love to all people. (John 3:16) As Jesus ministered to those in his path, his counter-cultural words and actions surprised everyone.
Could you imagine being the woman at the well? (John 4) When the Jewish culture forbid talking to a woman that was not your relative yet Jesus spoke to her anyway. She was not even Jewish! As his disciples returned to the well, they could not believe they found Jesus speaking with this woman. A woman with a sinful relational past was given the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah.
What about putting yourself in the shoes of Zacchaeus, the tax collector? (Luke 19) Zacchaeus, by his own admission, was a sinner who stole money from others. In the midst of a large crowd, Jesus saw the small man in a tree and honored him by spending time in his home. Onlookers were astonished that Jesus would dine with a sinner.
Both of these examples go against the culture of the time and instead speak of a Savior who longs to draw all people to himself. Jesus saw the brokenness of Zacchaeus and the woman at the well. He knew their sinfulness, yet while they were still sinners, he acknowledged and valued them.
It is easy today to see the affects of sin and brokenness in our own families, community, and nation. Despite the brokenness and division of his time, Paul strongly urged early Christians to seek unity with others. His words still remind us that Jesus himself is our peace who destroys the dividing walls of hostility. (Eph. 2:14) Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we become one, unified in Christ. (Gal. 3:28)
Today, Jesus’ love for people still reaches right through the barriers of this world and restores the brokenness inside the hearts of those who turn toward him. His Spirit of unity starts by bringing peace to our own troubled hearts and minds. Just like Zacchaeus and the woman at the well, we can walk away a difference maker for this world and not a division maker. A whole town came to encounter Jesus because of the woman at the well, and Zacchaeus restored to people he cheated more than what he took.
My challenge to you today is to see how Christ is guiding you to be a difference maker, to be an agent of unity. Who in your life needs to be acknowledged, valued, and loved? Let a simple act of kindness or words of encouragement be your gift of love and unity to those who desperately need it.