‘“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’ Matthew 9:13 NKJV
Author Nicole Unice says the suspicions people have about Christians include, ‘They judge me. They are better than I am. They won’t approve of me. I won’t fit in with their religion. They are all serious and no fun. Jesus hung around enough parties for the Pharisees to accuse Him of being a drunkard. He befriended forbidden women. He interacted with people so He could introduce them to His Father. He broke through stereotypes and communicated God as He is – approachable, merciful and graceful. The people who were most upset… were the ones who preferred … the rules of the religion … The concept of a free and joyful life with Jesus may seem basic to you. But is that what your neighbours think? It feels as comfortable as track pants to hang out with people who believe and feel as we do.
Fellowship among believers is a wonderful gift. But if we are truly to follow Jesus’ example, we need to look for opportunities to engage those around us.’ Jesus goes a step further: ‘He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick … 'I desire mercy … For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance”’ (Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV).
How can you share the gospel if all your friends are Christians? Some of us have become so isolated and disconnected that we have no meaningful interaction whatsoever with nonbelievers. And the more time passes, the more insulated and comfortable we become, until eventually, we lose touch with the very people Jesus came to save. Paul says, ‘To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.’ (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV). It’s called thinking outside ‘the religious box’.
SoulFood: 2 Cor 1-4 Mark 14:43-52 Ps 39 Pro 21:9-13
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023