February 27, 2016
Saturday of the Second Week of Lent.
The good news for the Day
Associating with Jesus were all kinds of financial crooks and notorious people, come to listen to Him—but the primary religious party (Pharisees) and sophisticated people (scribes) started criticizing: “This man is welcoming notorious people; he even eats with them. So Jesus addressed them with a story: “A certain man had two boys…” (Like 15, 1-41)
One of the great differences between Jesus was his challenge to the culture of His civil & religious authorities; he associated with sinners,
Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, elders, and chief priests—all spoke of rules of various kinds, rules to be obeyed. People who broke them were sinners to be avoided. It is not important whether rules are financial, sexual, or religious—all three are mentioned. Political conformity required excluding such people from “society.” They were the “bad” ones.
Jesus associated with such “bad people.” That association was something people noticed and remembered decades later. “Those” people—judged by society, culture and authorities—were precisely “them,” not “us.”
Everyone, though, in Jesus’s eyes is worthy and invited into his “realm of what is right”—a real or potential family member. Conformity and unthinking obedience are not how you get there. Service, humility and faith get you included in God’s realm. You are a fellow sinner and fellow saint. Mutual faith in each other, meeting mutual needs by mutual service, and awareness of equality—these mark your citizenship in this domain.
You and I tend to forget fundamentals. It’s so easy to judge others, to separate ourselves from people not like us—disdainful of disagreeable, selfish people. Jesus associates with such people; there is no real “them” nor “us.” The Good, Great News is we are ALL family of God.