Monday, July 11, 2011

Outsiders Welcome!

You don't have to be on this planet for very long before you discover its cruel condition.  Whether you've experienced being outside "the group" temporarily or have made a lifetime of it, we've all been there.  Human nature dictates that we subdivide and cling to those that are similar to us.  Economics, social status, interests, sense of humor, geographical region, and even education level can promote an us-verses-them mentality with small pockets of like-minded individuals.

Some might be able to move in and out of groups rather effortlessly while others seem trapped by their labels unable to break free.  In the times of Christ this was definitely an issue.  Pharisee's were the elite with impeccable Biblical knowledge & education.  Then you had common folk, perhaps fishermen like James & John.  You had the vile tax collectors and prostitutes.  Even lower on the social scale and perhaps at its bottom were the diseased ridden lepers and the lame beggars.

Jesus was often accused of hanging out with the wrong crowd.  He didn't abide by the unwritten rules about which group a person belonged in.  He didn't respect social status or the boundary lines.  In Matthew 9 such an instance occurred as the Pharisee's asked the disciples why He was eating a meal with tax collectors and known sinners? 

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Irony would have it that even the Pharisee's were sick and in need of a doctor but that was lost on them.  Amazing Grace tells the Christian story.  "We were lost but now are found, blind but now we see."  Christ made a way for us to break the ties that bind us to sin and death.  There is no longer any need that you should be on the outside...looking in!