Sunday, October 28, 2012
Welcome to Day 301 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Job 19:1, “Then Job replied: 2 ‘How long will you torment me and crush me with words? 3 Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. 4 If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone.”
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, 24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock for ever!”
Mark 1 starts with John the Baptist and his ministry, baptizes Jesus, then is imprisoned. Then Jesus goes into the wilderness for 40 days. No genealogy or birth record. Just boom! The start of Jesus’ public ministry and the calling of Peter and Andrew, then Levi (Matthew).
27 “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.'”
Mark 2:14, “As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
I like how Mark writes… cuts to the chase. Less detail, giving highlights and the gist of what Jesus taught.
Seems I can never pass up the opportunity to comment on Jesus calling Levi (Matthew) and how Matthew left immediately with Jesus and invited him to dinner, along with his friends who were also tax collectors (and sinners.) It’s worth noting that Jesus invited his disciples to this dinner. (Not mentioned by name, but at this time he had only called Peter, Andrew and Matthew. Perhaps a few others not mentioned were there.)
This story stirs something in me every time I read it. I think because it just flies in the face of our more protective Christianity, separating ourselves from “the world” so as to avoid being drawn into sin, or being numbered with the sinners and thereby damaging our reputation.
The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law couldn’t fathom eating with those people.
Jesus eventually got a reputation of being, as it is called in the King James, a “winebibber.” Luke 7:33, “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard [winebibber], a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
Not that I want that reputation, but how are we going to be salt and light if we don’t spend time with people who need what we have? Jesus said, “It’s not the well that need a doctor, it’s the sick.” The tax collectors and sinners.
The Pharisees were too busy criticizing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath…
Throughout the New Testament, there are several accounts of Pharisees and teachers of the Law who were interested in Jesus and noted his teaching and miracles… Nicodemus, is one great example in John 3. Gamaliel in Acts 5.
How will they hear if we don’t tell them?
How will they believe in a God who loves them if WE don’t demonstrate that love to them?
How will they ever become part of the Body of Christ (the church) if we don’t accept them right where they are and help them over the hump of believing?
I know, I know… I sound like a broken record, but it’s our job to reach out to the lost, on their terms. Jesus accepted Matthew’s invitation to dinner at his house, with all his friends.
But Jesus was secure in who he was.
I’m wondering if Jesus gave his disciples a little pep talk beforehand? “Hey, guys, be careful around these tax collectors and their friends. They could easily cause you to stumble!”
Oh, wait… he warned them about the Pharisees, Sadducees and the teachers of the Law and what THEY taught, (“Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…”)
Not about the tax collectors and sinners…
Lord, open doors for me in situations like this… to make a difference in the lives of people who don’t know you or go to church…