Before I get into this month’s column, please allow me to thank Mr. Tom Duggan, Editor of The Valley Patriot who with patience and understanding, afforded me all the time I needed to decide exactly what direction to take my writing.
It was during this hiatus that I realized that I no longer had a desire to write about politics or politicians. My focus and priorities changed so that now I have a desire to share with people the Goodness of God and His Abundance of Grace which came by Jesus Christ!
If ever there was a time for Christians to be kind and loving, it is now. For some of us, the temptation is to isolate ourselves off from others who don’t look, act or think as we do. But the example set by Jesus himself, teaches us something totally different!
In Luke 19, we see the story of Zaccheus who was chief among the publicans, a Jewish tax collector for Rome. Zaccheus being a Jew collecting taxes for Rome made him a traitor and an outcast among his people.
But as Jesus was passing by, He said to Zaccheus who was sitting up in a tree due to the fact that he was short in stature and like many others, wanted to see Jesus for himself. Jesus looking up at Zaccheus said, “make hast, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” Here we see kindness extended to Zaccheus which sent some in the crowd into a frenzy asking, how can this man Jesus hang out at the house of this sinner?
In Matthew 9:9-11, we see a similar situation took place when Jesus called Matthew another tax collector to come and follow him who later became one of the 12 apostles. The question was asked again of Jesus’ disciples, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?”
Reading on in Luke 15:1-2, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. (2) And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” While the so-called religious leaders went about complaining about who Jesus was hanging out with, it was these sinners who got to hear his words of comfort and see firsthand his miracles.
In Matthew 21:31, Jesus tells the religious leaders, “…Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” It was this kind of talk and behavior, showing loving kindness to everyone, excluding no one that gained Jesus the reputation of being a friend of sinners.
Have you ever asked yourself, what is God’s Will? I have, and I found the answer in the life of Jesus Christ. He was God’s will in action. We read in Matthew 4:23-24, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sicknesses and all manner of diseases among the people. (24) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” Jesus didn’t disqualify anyone, he didn’t concern himself with what label people were given by others. He simply healed them all!
Luke 6:19, speaks to a whole multitude which sought to touch Jesus and he healed them all. Ask yourselves, what a diversity of people do you think would be found in a multitude? The answer is obvious, All kinds. It just didn’t matter to Jesus because he healed them all! He continues to heal today as well because He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
I now realize that Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, he came to make dead people alive! This takes place by the Grace of God, which is the undeserved, unearned and unmerited favor of God.
In John 13:34-35, we read, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (35) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.”
In John 15: 12-14, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (14) Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” This kind of all-inclusive, non-disqualifying love originated with Jesus’ Father. John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever [and whosever means everybody], believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn [to judge] the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
We are exhorted in Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” And again in Colossians 3:12-14, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (13) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (14) And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness.”
The Gospels show us Jesus, who is love personified; he stretched out his arms on the Cross for everyone, disqualifying no one. He lovingly exhorts us to love one another as he loved! By this kind of love, a love that qualifies all by His Grace and disqualifies no one by His Mercy, others will know that we are His Disciples! My friends, this is a worthy challenge for all of us to live by.
Love to all!