'Friend, do what you came to do.' Matthew 26:50 NCV
Whip out the placards. Strike up the marching bands. Get some rubber tyres burning. Today, we’re looking at Matthew 18, where Jesus says that if people don’t repent, then they should be treated ‘like a pagan or a tax collector’. That’s Matthew 18:15–17. Read that, then get crafting those hateful signs and flags. Back? Good. Before we start the pagan purge, it’s worth looking up what Jesus meant by treating someone ‘like a pagan or a tax collector’. Ok, they were the lowest life-form as far as the Jews were concerned. But funnily enough, whenever we see Jesus interacting with any sinners, pagans or tax collectors, it doesn’t look anything like today’s public protests.
Jesus shows each sinner He meets a soft heart and honest care. When He came across someone who He disagreed with, ‘Jesus, looking at him, loved him.’ (Mark 10:21 ESV) When He met an outcast tax collector, He told him: ‘I must stay at your house today.’ (Luke 19:5 NIV) When Judas, His betrayer, sold Him out, He called him ‘friend’ (Matthew 26:50). He wasn’t pretending they weren’t sinners. But He loved them to the point of spending so much time with them that others thought He was just as drunk and sinful as them. He didn’t care that others saw Him as naïve or mistaken—everything He did was to show sinners a way to a restored connection with the Father. What would Jesus have you do and say regarding the unrepentant, ‘least–worthy’ person you know? Make a mini placard that bears His message of love to them.
SoulFood: Gal 1-3, Matt 13:24-35, Ps 101, Prov 13:20-23
word4U2day (an adaptation of The Word for Today authored by Bob & Debby Gass) is published under licence by UCB Australia. 2015 UCB International Ltd