Unfortunately, we had a technical glitch this week during the gathering – the video recorded, but there was no audio. So we are just posting the notes from the talk, rather than a video with no sound. That would be kind of an amusing thing to do. But mostly annoying.
The Jesus Sessions: The Others
Jesus was scandalous in his acceptance of outsiders.
A tax collector, Zealots (Jewish Nationalists), fishermen. Men without a Rabbi. In jewish life at the time, studying and learning under a Rabbi was reserved for the best students. The fact these men were called out of other vocations suggests they had not been chosen for the path of religious education like Paul the Apostle, who studied at the feet of Gamliel and was a high ranking Pharisee.
The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the poor, the blind, the lepers, the lame. The tax collectors and sinners. All are outcasts, on the fringes of their society.
These are not the people you start a movement with. These are not the ones you choose to change the world. We think the same way – we need to reach the right people, a certain demographic. We need the influential, the powerful, the rich, or at least the beautiful. STORY: Once a youth ministry expert pointed out a certain tall, good looking, athletic student from a wealthy family to me. He said “Look at that kid – you could build a ministry around him.”
I Corinthians 1 (MSG) 26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?
That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
Jesus’ attitude toward outsiders:
- – He will leave the 99 and look for the one
- – The parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son
- – The sick need a doctor
Jesus’ actions toward outsiders
- – A friend of tax collectors and sinners
- “The whores all seem to love him, and the drunks propose a toast” – Rich Mullins.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
- In contrast to the “rich young ruler,” who was asked to give away everything, Jesus seems pleased with Zaccheus’ pledge to give away half of his wealth.
- So we can’t make a theology out of the amount – Jesus seems to care only about the heart. “Salvation has come to this house”.
Jesus and the woman caught in adultery
- This happened in the middle of the temple
- The law says we should stone her.
- Writes in the sand
- This is a brilliant tactic.
- No, I don’t think Jesus was writing down their sins. I don’t think he was writing anything (otherwise the writer might have mentioned it). I think he was doodling. Which is awesome.
- “I don’t condemn you”
I imagine Jesus doing the same thing to the “God hates you” protesters.
- “Hey Jesus – the Bible says these people are in sin and deserve death.
- “Are you perfect?” “No”
- “Then you deserve death also.”
Talking to “a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
This does not mean we are accepting of every action or lifestyle. It just means that we don’t have to do the condemning.
This is the age of grace – open amnesty.
I grew up being taught that non-Christians are to be avoided at all costs. They are also to be told they are wrong at ever opportunity. I teach my kids that we follow Jesus, who teaches us how to live like God intended. But not everyone follows Jesus. We have to be kind and gracious toward those who think differently. It does NOT change who we are.
One More Thing
To be a parent is “to live with your heart outside your body.” If we think of others like God does, we have to think of them as our own family – members of our family we love but are estranged from. God thought of us as his lost children. This is why Jesus is so close to the outsider, so firm and strict with the insiders.