Thursday, April 15, 2021

Love Like Jesus

 Thursday, April 14, 2021

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:15 - 17

Love Like Jesus

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my sweet little granddaughter. I think she hung the moon. When other family members (that she is not so familiar with) are trying very hard to make her like them, I tell them “You have to get down on the floor, in her world and she will warm up to you eventually.” Jesus did that with people when He was ministering to them. Jesus set so many great examples for us. But perhaps the greatest example He gave us was how He loved people – all people – but especially those people that no one else really wanted to love.

All through His ministry there is story after story about how Jesus cared for people and how He placed Himself in the position to be in the lives of the people who needed Him the most. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the lepper, the crippled man at Bethesda, and in Mark Chapter 2, Jesus is sharing a meal with tax collectors and sinners.

In the passage above, Jesus was at the house of Levi, a tax collector. Tax collectors were not well thought of at that time. They were looked upon as cheaters and dishonest people. They were also thought to be in alignment with the Romans. The Pharisees despised tax collectors and would definitely not have socialized with them. The Pharisees were very legalistic, and religious, in a bad way. Appearances and works were more important to them than the condition of anyone’s heart. They were highly respected by most and were strict rule followers. They would never risk their reputation to be seen with tax collectors and sinners.

He was constantly giving us an example of true discipleship. He spent time with the people who needed Him the most. He shared meals with them, teaching them and pouring into them. And He was judged constantly for it by the self-righteous and the Pharisees. He didn’t care about His reputation or what people thought about Him, because He cared about healing broken hearts and lives. He cared about redeeming those who thought they would never amount to anything. And He cared about revealing sin and bringing hearts to repentance and salvation. He didn’t preach at people He met people where they were.

Today we live in an Instagram world where every marriage, parenthood experience, family, home, friendship, etc. seems perfect and beautiful. If it isn’t pretty, we don’t want it out there for people to see. The thing about love and caring for others that we try to leave out or cover up is that it is not clean, tidy, or comfortable at times. This kind of love and caring for others – the kind Jesus modeled for us – may not grow our social media following, but it will grow us personally and spiritually. Although God does give us the gift of great friendships and families, we are here to do His work. Like Jesus said, He was there for the sinners. It should be our focus to spread His love, and the gospel to those in our lives who need it the most. 

Jesus was sharing a meal, something we love to do with our friends. Maybe we should all think about sharing a meal with someone we don't know as well. Our lives are only blessed and miraculously full when we take time to love like Jesus and pour into others.


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