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    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Acting Radical like a Radical God

    Going through some really cool things in my reading right now. I'm reading a book called ReJesus a Wild Messiah for a Missional Church as well as reading through the Gospel of Luke.
    What I'm finding are deeper truths to the Jesus I thought I knew. I'm re-realizing that to KNOW Jesus will take a lifetime. There is so much to Jesus, so much to what he did and said that I'm blown away.
    Looking at the Biblical stories of Jesus again, in correlation with a book that calls us to Relook at Jesus and examine the radical, yet loving Messiah He is.
    I was reading through Luke 5:27-32 and was nearly knocked out by this story.
    Here's the story:
    After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
    And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company
    of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

    This is a story of a guy (Levi aka Matthew) who is so stoked about his new found friend (who is God BTW) that he throws a HUGE party so his friends who were off the tracks like he was can come to get to know Jesus. In short, it's a new convert excited about his faith so much that he wants all his friends who were messed up like him to get to know Jesus and have Him change there lives as well.

    However, the Pharisees have a problem with this. First of all, Jesus is hanging with the "bad people", the people who do bad things. The Pharisees attitude is like this: "You're "supposed" to be a Rabbi Jesus...didn't you get the memo? You're (as a Rabbi) supposed to hang out with good guys, kind of like ourselves. Those bad guys aren't worth it, they're scum who don't like God like we do, so if you want to be a real Rabbi, leave those guys and stop being such a bad guy"

    Put another way "The turnout is clearly not the moral upper crust of society. Nevertheless, Jesus reclines with them in meal fellowship. In doing so, he is carrying out his ministry to the spiritually needy. At the same time, Jesus offends the separatism of the Pharisees, who would have never shared a meal with such rabble" (Bock, Luke 1:1-9:50 pg. 495).

    The religious elite were not happy with what was transpiring. Jesus response is telling. he says: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

    When you go to commentators, you find out that Jesus was being a bit crude and using a bit of hard sarcasm. You see the Pharisees thought themselves the most holy, pious and righteous men of all, so to them, these band of people at the party were a bad of losers who were doomed. They took one look at these guys and automatically felt a surge of self-righteous pride. They saw this group and said to themselves: "thank God I'm better than them, otherwise I would just DIE if I were them!" Jesus called their hearts out when he said : "I have not come to call the righteous". You could almost see him doing the air quotes when he said "righteous", because clearly they weren't righteous as they had presumed.

    Why this hit me, is because when looking at this short portion of Scripture, I have to ask myself several questions: Am I still that excited about Jesus that I want the whole universe to know about him? Do I associate with "rabble"? Do I feel self-righteous when I see a non-Christian living in a sinful way? Do I try to bring people to Jesus?

    Those are questions, I am still dealing with. Another challenge came from Darrel Bock in his commentary on Luke. He writes: "Disciples should seek the lost and relate to them in a way that allows the offer of God's grace to be extended to them. If Jesus sought to save the lost (Luke 19:10), how much more should his followers?" (Bock, Luke 1:1-9:50 pg. 497)

    We, the Disciples of Christ should ReJesus our hearts, ReJesus our focus and allow the Holy Spirit to re-energize our desire for those who do not know the Truth.

    God has been using many things to push me out of my box and desire His Spirit to make me that which I was created to be...altogether His. When we hand all of ourselves over to the will of Jesus, we will be what we were always meant to be.

    "If Jesus sought to save the lost (Luke 19:10), how much more should his followers?"

    May we continue to see this truth over and over again, and continue to allow the Holy Spirit reign in our lives to fill our hearts with over-abundant fervor for Him and to make Him KNOWN!