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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Jesus Would Look in Your Refrigerator
Love Tears Down Every Wall
If Jesus met you, like some Texans I know, he would walk into your house, give you a big hug, look in your refrigerator and ask if you had anything good to eat. Then he would stay for dinner and talk to you as long as you wanted. We, on the other hand, carefully observe the social rules of etiquette.
If Jesus saw a group of people, he might gravitate to the homeless or the prostitute or the sick person instead of the celebrities or presidents or the rich. We, in contrast would probably avoid the former and run for the camera if we saw a celebrity. We tend to sort the worthy into categories and label others as someone who might be worthy, but someone to avoid most of the time. The problem with labels, categories and rules is that they create distance and division. Sometimes the division even becomes a reason for hate or war.
The disciples of Jesus tried to educate Him on the people, customs and classifications that He should avoid.The trouble with that is they thought he was like them, overly concerned about customs and social norms. The truth is, he said rules were made for people, not people for the rules.
Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.~Antoine de Saint-Exupery," The Little Prince" 1943
When you have the openness, innocence and simple faith of a child, you become vulnerable and so many, like the pilot in The Little Prince, steel themselves against it. It takes trust and faith to drop your guard and be like that, but the best that life has to offer is only available that way.
When little children were brought to Jesus, his disciples tried to keep them away as if He was too busy for such distractions. Jesus surprised them by saying: "Don't send them away for of such is the kingdom of God" and He took them and blessed them.
Another time He took a little child and said to His disciples and those around Him that if you want to be a part of my kingdom, in fact, whoever wants to be the greatest in the kingdom must become as a little child. He also said that whoever receives a child in His name receives Him. Jesus identified himself with children.
Women and Ethnic Groups
By the time Jesus began his ministry, the religious establishment had taken the rules God had given them and added to them their own traditions which they used to shun certain ethnic groups and women. At a well in enemy territory, Jesus picked a woman, a woman with a loose reputation, to take a
message of hope to people that the religious elite would
never have given the time of day.
One day, Jesus was sitting at a famous well in the country of Samaria when a woman came to get water. His disciples had gone to the town to get food or they certainly would have tried to stop what took place next. Jesus spoke to her (a very great taboo since the Jews and Samaritans were sworn enemies) and asked her for water. She pointed out the ethnic barriers and asked how he could be talking to her. He replied, "If you knew who it was that was asking, you would ask of him and he would give you living water."
She was a feisty, independent woman and so they went back and forth for a while and Jesus, being Jesus, revealed things, touched her heart and she was a changed woman. She went into the city and brought many of the Samaritans to hear him, saying--"Come see a man who told me everything I've ever done!" He befriended and changed a woman of a taboo culture and together they brought a message of hope and peace and broke down walls of separation that were centuries old.
People are often judged by their occupation. Consider the many jokes about lawyers and politicians.
I was really too honest of a man to be a politician and live ~ Socrates
How do you tell if a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.
In the first century, IRS agents or tax collectors as they were called then, were the lowest of the low. The Jews were conquered by the Romans and were forced to pay tribute. It was bad enough that the Romans taxed them, but some of their own people actually agreed to work for them and helped gather the taxes from their own people.
Jesus was on tour, feeding crowds by miraculously turning a child's lunch into a banquet for thousands, healing everyone who was brought to him and dazzling everyone with his wisdom and wonderful words. The crowd was following him through the streets when he stopped, looked up in a tree and addressed the man who was perched there---
Zaccheus was a tax collector who, despite getting rich by ripping off his fellow Jews, was not happy. His life was missing something. Success did not satisfy the hunger in his heart and when he heard Jesus was coming through, he decided he would see for himself. Being extremely short, he climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see above the crowd. Jesus was riding a temporary wave of fame and popularity and could have been a guest in any mansion of the city. Instead, he called for Zaccheus to come down and get his house ready for him and his entourage.
After Zaccheus fed and entertained them, he made an astonishing pronouncement. He said he would pay back four times what he had overcharged people in his tax collecting.
Labeled People: Sinners and Prostitutes
My favorite example of Jesus ignoring labels occurred when he was a guest of the rich pharisee, Simon (Not Simon Peter). While he and Jesus were relaxing in his house, a woman known to Simon as a prostitute, came in and brought some very expensive perfume and water and began to wash Jesus' feet. Simon watched this and thought to himself if Jesus was a prophet he would know what kind of woman she was and he wouldn't let her wash his feet. Jesus, being Jesus, replied to Simon's thoughts.
I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it,
Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two
debtors: one owed five hundred denarii and the other fifty. “When they
were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore
will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose
the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”
And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. “You gave Me no kiss, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” -Luke 7:36-50
I couldn't improve on that.
It is fascinating to me that the One who
inhabits eternity all at once--unlike we who must experience it one second at a
time--the One who is the Alpha and Omega--beginning and end of all--chose to
experience time with us and become Immanuel (God with us) and describe to us
who He is by saying He is the God of the present--I Am. He could be anywhere in
eternity but He chooses to identify with us where we are--in the present, with
us in the only day we ever have--today...and today, if He visits you, let Him look in your refrigerator.