Posted by: donnatallman | January 11, 2013

Loving the Unloved

Considering Jesus Challenge

Mark 2:15-17

Day 11, January 11, 2013, Friday
 

Jesus eats with tax collectorsAnd it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17

Jesus didn’t care much for the religious of his day. In fact, he served up some of his most scathing remarks to the religious leaders. He called them white-washed tombs, hypocrites, blind guides, fools, and vipers among other things.

Despite the presence of many religious leaders during Jesus’ ministry, he often ate and drank with tax collectors and “sinners.” In fact, this passage from Mark, chapter 2, says there were “many” tax collectors and sinners having dinner with him on this occasion. Jesus not only ate with the tax collectors and sinners; he loved the pariahs of his day.

So I was wondering this morning…

How comfortable am I around those who don’t share my views on spirituality and/or Jesus?

How comfortable are they around me?

The thing I love about Jesus in this passage is that he did far more than just eat and drink with these people; he actually defended them. After the Jewish leaders complained to the disciples about the company Jesus was keeping, Jesus intervened and drew a line of distinction between him and the religious Jews. Jesus told the legalistic righteous Jews he hadn’t come to call them anyway; he came to earth to call sinners to salvation. By disregarding his own reputation, Jesus elevated the least respected of society who desperately knew they needed a savior far above those who demanded preference because they were so busy trying to look spiritual.

Jesus knew his purpose for coming to earth and it certainly was not to get tangled up in an ego-centric wad of religious legalism, so he avoided it. He side-stepped insincere religion by condemning it openly and by operating in contradiction to it. He loved the unloved in his culture! Jesus was not interested in being approved by religious leaders because he only hung out with the righteous. He cared more about maintaining authentic relationships, meeting real needs, and engaging with pure hearts – regardless of where those people were from or what their past had been.

Jesus is the very same today; he loves the outcast. But I wonder what kind of message I’m sending when I recoil from relationships with the pariahs of our own society…

I wonder how they feel when I avoid them…

When I judge them…

When I condemn them…

I wonder how Jesus feels…

Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow January 12, 2013:

Luke 10:38-42 – the story of Mary and Martha

© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.

Contact: sogreatajourney@yahoo.com

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Responses

  1. One of the things that I have always admired about Becca is that she has always stood up for the underdog, and been friends with those who are undesirable or different at school. Her heart is for those who don’t fit in and seem less loveable.

    • yes, the underdogs need love to…especially the underdogs. I like that about Becca too!

  2. Mark 2:15-17 challenges me. Most of the ‘outcasts’ that I have avoided, judged, and condemned are friends and family who want to be religious
    but not Christ-like. But do they see me as Christ-like?

    • Arg! Nice turn-around, Doree – that’s a challenging mirror to look into…


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