Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rubbing Shoulders with Irreligious People

It’s funny how often we overlook the fact that Jesus spent a majority of His time (during His ministry) with people who were outside the existing religious establishment.  In fact, most of His contact with religious people involved teachings that challenged them to change their attitudes about much lost people matter to God.

Time has a way of softening the facts, and it’s easy for us today to believe that the type of sinners Jesus interacted with were more sanitized and safe than the people we encounter today.

For example, it’s easy to forget that the tax collectors He associated with and ate dinner with were men who really did extort money from people, who exploited the poor, and ruined many of them.  It’s easy to forget that the prostitutes He had compassion on, (and whom He let physically touch Him in public), were woman who really did engage in immoral sexual activity for money just like they do today.  Yet, Jesus risked His Rabbinical reputation to do it.

No, the people He associated with in His day were not more sanitized than the ones we encounter today.

Jesus intentionally rubbed shoulders with irreligious people, (many times, the kind of people who were on the lowest rung of the spiritual ladder), and the reason He did it was because they mattered to God, and because they mattered to God, they mattered to Him.

I know it's more comfortable to pal around with your brothers and sisters in the Lord because they speak the same language as we do, read the same Bible, listen to the same music, and laugh at the same jokes.  It's clean.  It's safe.  And it's easy to do.  But we have to move beyond our comfort zones and follow the example of our Lord.  It's risky to do this because your reputation is at stake, and people might even call you the same name they called Him:  the friend of sinners. 

Wear such a lable as a badge of honor. 

He did.

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