As I mentioned yesterday, I recently went through the gospel accounts writing down specific things Jesus did during this time on earth. Several things surprised me as I then looked back over the list I had compiled. One was how pronounced Jesus’ emphasis was on the least of these—including the poor, the disabled, the uneducated, cultural or ethnic minorities, women, social outcasts. He was constantly hanging out with these people. He talked about them and to them. He highlighted them, bringing them to the center of public attention.
How many stories can you think of involving these people groups? The good Samaritan, the Samaritan woman at the well, the blind beggar, Lazarus at the gate, the woman caught in adultery, the healing of the Roman Centurion’s son, the widow giving two coins, the lepers, the lame man trying to enter the healing waters, the gentile woman begging for crumbs from the table, the calling of tax collectors and fishermen as disciples. The list goes on and on and on.
Who do we hang out with? What are the contemporary parallels for us?
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:43-47)