As promised yesterday let’s pursue our thinking around the insight that Jesus changed everything in regard to the unclean. Jesus touches the unclean and makes them clean. The woman with the issue of blood leans towards Jesus, touches the hem of his cloak and is healed; the man with leprosy falls on his knees before Jesus who stretches out his hand and the man is made clean. The widow of Nain mourns the loss of her son; Jesus raises him to new life. It’s a big deal. For all, their fellowship with God is restored and they are welcomed back into their communities.
The man possessed by Legion – an apparent army of demons – is restored to his sanity; the blind have eyes opened – no darkness is too great for Jesus. Light must prevail; Jesus overcomes; He is the victor. The call is for us to act more like people who have the Son of God on their side than those who live in the shadow of death! Fear is driven out by perfect love.
Time and again Jesus turns up in places where he’s not supposed to be: he is after all a rabbi, a good man, a ‘clean’ man and he should be keeping like-minded company. Instead, he is to be found amongst tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. One of the accusations against him from the religious leaders is: ‘why do you eat amongst tax collectors and sinners’? Now, just to update the language a bit: if you work for the Inland Revenue then peace be with you: you’re no worse a sinner than I am! Tax collectors in the day were the equivalent of an informer working for an occupied power – like for example Nazi Germany in the Channel Islands during the 2nd World War. And sinners were largely defined as prostitutes.
The point is that Jesus perceived them to be the ones most in need of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. It’s the tax collector rather than the Pharisee in the famous parable who recognises his need for God. So, Jesus made himself available to them, hung with out them to win them for all eternity. Our calling is to do the same. We can have confidence that in the darkest places the light will shine strongest; He has overcome the world and in His name we can too.
So, who do you hang out with? Where do you visit? If it’s only always people like yourself then you are not acting in the Jesus way. Of course we have to be wise about who we invite into our home; and we can’t act naively – but there is a call upon us to be with the people and in the places that in the natural make us uncomfortable and are the last places on earth we would want to be.
What is the name of those places and people for you?