It’s good to be back after break.
We’re continuing to work through the teachings of Jesus and his ministry as we read about in the gospels. We’ve determined that the main “theme” of Jesus’ teaching is the Kingdom of God and that the most important facet of God’s Kingdom is loving relationships with God and Neighbor. But we will understand Jesus mission even better by considering who Jesus spent his time with. Who was his message for? What kind of people seemed to gravitate towards Jesus as he taught and ministered?
Matthew 21:31 – Tax Collectors (traitors) and Prostitutes
Mark 2:15-17 – The Sick (in both soul and body)
Luke 7:33-35 – Gluttons and Drunkards
Luke 15:2 – Sinners
Jesus did not surround himself with the most religious and righteous. He came to the outcasts of society. Not because he approved of things like selling your body, drinking too much, or cheating people out of money, but Jesus knew that in order to help and save these people he needed to befriend them.
Jesus also befriended people across traditional boundaries of ethnicity and gender. In first century Judaism, most Jews did not like to associate with those outside their ethnic group– especially Samaritans who had part Jewish ancestry but also part Assyrian ancestry. It was also the norm that adult men would not speak to adult women in public if you were not already relatives or knew each other. With this in mind, this story from John 4:1-42 is amazing for the way Jesus befriended a stranger.
There are all kinds of clues in this story that indicate this woman was an outcast even among her community of Samaritans. Yet Jesus not only speaks to her, he teaches and shares the hope of God with her!
The Kingdom of God is a place of welcome for all kinds of people. Its not reserved just for the best, the smartest, the most holy, the most beautiful, and the most popular. In fact, Jesus seems to give special attention to society’s most disregarded people: the sick, the sinner, and the lonely. How should we live and love in God’s kingdom? By seeking out the poor and powerless and befriending them in the name of Jesus.
If Jesus enrolled at a middle school in 21st century Minnesota, he would sit at the lunch table with the burn outs, the loners, the drug addicts, and the special ed classes. Because he believes none of us are better or worse, we’re all sick with sin and needing the help of Jesus. We’ve talked at length that the Bible teaches us that the world suffers a problem (sin) and that God has a solution for that problem (a covenant for a holy people). The solution doesn’t come to the problem, unless God reaches out to sinners.
Journaling Questions this Week:
Read Matthew 21:28-32
- Who are the people in your life that you’d prefer not to be around? Who are the people that are marginalized in your community?
- When have you felt lonely and unloved by your community?
- What kind of people do you think Jesus would seek out if he came to 21st century Minnesota?