When… Jesus was Challenged for Being Graceful
“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the Scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This Fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Luke 15:1-2
This was often the center of the controversy swirling around Jesus. He was too inclusive. He was outreaching when He should have been more reserved. He stepped over the boundaries of restriction created by “religious values” that actually made God smaller than God actually is.
Note: These people were COMING TO Jesus. The Holy Spirit was already active in their lives creating at the very least a curiosity to know more. God was drawing them in with God’s irresistible Spirit. As Jesus received these “sinners and tax collectors” He was being faithful to the Mission of God for which He came.
Note: These people were coming to LISTEN TO Jesus. How great is it that they weren’t running away from Jesus with their fingers in their ears?
So what will we do when people come to worship who seem to our eyes to be “flawed and unacceptable” by our religious and societal norms? What will we do? Are our doors opened or closed? Will we imitate Jesus? How will we fulfill our calling and commissioning? Will we find new locks to protect the Church or will we throw open the doors that the Body of Christ includes those for whom Jesus died? Will we open our arms as wide as Jesus did?
What will we do when we’re challenged for being so graceful? What stories will we remember? Which parables of Jesus will guide us?
Read Luke 15.