Do you want to know how Christ would respond to today’s society? Simply substitute a few words in the gospel. For prostitutes (a lifestyle that was shunned) say homosexual. For tax collector (the corrupt arm of the Roman government) say corrupt politician. For Samaritan (the race of people that were shunned) say Mexicans or Muslims. For lepers (the diseased and unclean) say special needs or mentally ill. For Pharisees (the legalistic religious leaders) say legalistic churches. On whom would Jesus show compassion? Who would he call hypocrites and white washed tombs?
Truth test 1
How did Jesus respond to the prostitute (Homosexual)?
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” ………………. “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” …………………… Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. ……………….He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 NKJV)
He had compassion. He did not condone her actions, but He forgave her. The message is clear. When dealing with sinners, remember that you are one as well.
Truth test 2
How did Jesus respond to the tax collector (corrupt politician) ?
Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich………………… (Jesus said ) “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. ………. Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NKJV)
Jesus ate with him. Notice that by simply showing him kindness Zacchaeus repented of his sins. He didn’t insult him or belittle him. He loved him. Tax collectors were hated in there day. Jesus ate with them and even made one his disciple.
After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” (Luke 5:27 NKJV)
Truth test 3
How did Jesus respond to the Samaritan (Mexicans and Muslems)?
Did he shun them? Did he make jokes about them or belittle them? Lets take a look.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:7-10 NKJV)
His grace and mercy are extended to all. Race, creed, and color never separated them from his love.
Some might say “If you are replacing the word Samaritans with Muslims, then surely you understand that they are our enemy.”
What does the Bible say about enemies?
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (Matthew 5:44 NKJV)
Truth test 4
How did Jesus respond to the lepers (special needs, mentally ill)?
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:1-3 NKJV)
What is so amazing about this passage is he touched him. Many miracles were done in many ways. Some were done from a long distance. Others required that they simply stretch out there hand. Lepers were required to yell UNCLEAN when around others. Simply touching a leper could cause the disease to spread. Imagine a life where you could not be touched. What would you long for? What would you dream? He healed his body, and by touching him took away his shame. How do we treat the mentally ill? I’ll tell you what they report. They hear ” just get over it” or worse “your faking it to get attention.” People with special needs fair no better. A place is rarely found for them in a church. Families are asked not to come to church because “We can’t handle your child” or “Your child’s noises are disturbing our service.” Pastors are fired because a family member is mentally ill and spouses are forced to stay home with a special needs child because the church refuses to minister to them. In contrast, Jesus was willing to become a leper himself to show mercy to them.
Truth test 5
How did Jesus respond to the Pharisees? (Legalistic churches)
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matthew 23:1-4 NKJV)
Jesus’s main issue with the Pharisees was their legalism. They were full of thou shalt not, but lacked mercy. They put the law on men’s shoulders but forgot forgiveness. Here is what he said of them..
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, “ But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:1, 13-15, 23-36 NKJV)
But you say, “This is too hard. The church is not like the Pharisees.” No it’s not, but the spirit of the Pharisees is creeping in among us like wolves in sheep’s clothing. We pile on rules and regulation on people and forget the law of grace. We sing “Just as I am” unless of course your gay. We scream at politicians when we should be praying for them. We make jokes about Mexicans and Muslims instead of reaching out to them. And we find no place in our churches for those different than us. Church…. Reconnect with God. Deal with the world the way He dealt with it, with love, peace, and grace.