When I was younger, all the Christian men wore khaki pants, weird checkered shirts and ties; it was weird for me then and it still is. Today we cut our hair weird, have tattoos and mingle with the lost. I once had a vision of Jesus. He looked like a hippie or at-least that was my impression. My point is, I don’t think Jesus looks like church folk. In actual fact, if He was walking the planet today He would have been ridiculously different, I promise you! He does not look like the everyday churchgoer. He is vibrant, alive and full of hope. He sits with the sinner and saint and is equally comfortable with both. He loves the beggar, and the millionaire and He sits with Kings and the homeless all the same. His identity does not shift, move or change by the crowd He mixes with. That is why He is my King. Don’t get me wrong, He has a mass amount of Power! He is God! In my heavenly visitations, I could not even look up, flat on my face because of His glory. He is the King, no doubt!
Essentially, Christians are made to stand out. I am not advocating a new dress code. The only thing that is true is that Christians should be the salt; salt infiltrates everything and anything. But too much saltiness ruins even the best of meat! We have to infiltrate the ranks of the lost and we have to fill them with the healing salt of Jesus. Jesus is invited to a wedding. It is not really the coolest of situations as He crashes it with His homies. The people are partying, having a feast, they literally ran out of wine, which means that they have partied hard! Je- sus’ mom is concerned about this. This is the same Mary some religions claim to be holier than thou. Jesus is not happy with His mom’s arrangement – as most sons at His age would be, if your mom still tells you what to do. However, Jesus does not leave the people thirsty. He acts and He tells the people to get the purification bowls, to fill them with water and take them to the master of the ceremony. Crazy, scandalous, ridiculous! Yet His mom says, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!” (John 2:5). The water turns to wine, and not just any wine; the best wine. It confuses the master of the ceremony and makes the guests happy! Now the questions – why make wine? Why interfere with normal stuff if it has nothing to do with you? Why do you want to rescue the party vibe if you are holier than thou, and cannot be reached like most pastors these days? Why? The answer is simple – people mattered to Jesus. Not the perfect, not the holy, people! People mattered, full stop! The groom most likely said “Jesus my friend, thank you for rescuing my backside, that was close! The people almost got sober”!
I love Jesus because He is attracted to me, reachable and approachable. He makes me feel welcome. He makes me feel at home. He does not fill my heart with condemnation; He takes my empty jars of dismay and fills them with life. He is truly the Messiah.
In another account, Jesus sits at a well, tired from His journey. A Samaritan woman comes to fill her jar. Jesus goes into a discourse with her which she finds weird as Jews did not associate with the Samaritans – they saw them as a lesser breed, not worthy of eternal life – classified amongst the dogs. Yet Jesus speaks to this lady in such a way that He reaches her heart in a moment. Just then His disciples arrive on the scene and she leaves her water jar and goes into the town to tell the people she thinks she has met the Messiah! This story is interesting to me. Why would Jesus send the disciples into Samaria? 12 Jewish boys, with a whole lot of judgement and opinion, with racial issues and pre-conceived ideas – sent to buy food He would never eat. He said to them when they offered Him food, “My food is to do the will of the Father”! (John 4:34). That must have freaked them out. First, they go in- to a place they have never been, to get food that Jesus would never eat and on top if it all, they see a crowd coming their way and Jesus is even more mysterious with His words “Look up, the fields are white for harvest!” (John 4:35). What is this truth all about? I would say Jesus was trying to tell His disciples to let go of their prejudices and to broaden their hearts for a crowd of people that they thought they would never reach out to. Or is it possible that the reason why the lady left her water jar and ran into town was because she loved Jesus, but she did not like the look on the faces of His followers approaching. Can it be that Jesus was telling His disciples that He came to save the so called “dogs” of society? I think so. I would suggest to you that Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that He came for all people across all boundaries! He was the Savior, not the condemner!
Jesus still turns water into wine and He still rescues the parties of the world, but we, His followers have not been so welcoming! Most houses have a carpet that says “Welcome”. Have we forgotten the welcome in our hearts towards all kinds of people? We have two options: we can see people as objects or as people. The way we see them is the way we will relate to them. If we see people as objects we will use them for our own good, but if we see people as highly worthy precious commodities in the eyes of God, our conduct towards them will change dramatically!
So, what is made to stand out? Our love. Our love needs to stand higher than all other things. Higher than the power, higher than the miracles, higher than the mysterious things of the Spirit. HIGHER!!! These three things will remain, faith – hope – love, but the greatest of these are love (1 Cor. 13:13). We won’t need faith in heaven for all things will be known. We won’t need hope for all hopes would be fulfilled. But we will experience eternal love, for God is love. We will love and experience love, we will remain in it forever! Every person that I have met that has crossed over into glory has described a love that drew them so strongly they never wanted to come back! Every single one…. including myself! He is love, and if He is love so should His children be. Love wins all hearts and breaks the strongest of chains. Love wins every time, every day, every round! How is your love do- ing?
Like the disciples we all have grappled with our own prejudices, but it’s time to let them go and allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate our hearts and change us forever more! If God loves the world, so should we! If God came for the world, so should we live in the world even though we are not of the world (John 17:16)! If God is about people, so should we!!! A servant is not greater than the Master (John 15:20). We have to get the attitude of loving people. There is no other way for the Christian. This is the only way in which we can walk. Love God. Love People.
The nation of Israel was so fixated upon how they thought the Messiah should look like that when He appeared they completely missed Him. They thought He would most likely look like them, talk like them and act like them. But when Jesus came in the form of a friend to sinners, calling Himself God and breaking the man-made rules of the Sabbath, they quickly changed their minds and gave birth to murderous thoughts. Today still, the same pharisaical spirit is rampant in many. We are not satisfied with just Jesus. We want to add to Him. His finished work is not sufficient and we want to add to it. We literally create rules for ourselves and if we don’t keep them we feel broken and condemned. God knew this about us. That is why He sent Jesus as the only condition. Man does not have, in himself, the ability to save himself. The quicker we understand this, the quicker we will accept His love and become givers of love. We will step out of our high mindedness that we have the answer and we know the way. Without “THE WAY” we all will be lost, we all will fall away, THANK GOD for JESUS!
Before I end this chapter, it is imperative to ask yourself if you are attractive to the world. Does love emanate from your being? I am not saying become like the world, I am asking if you love the world and is the world attracted to you? If not, much needs to change. The world was attracted to Jesus, many rejected Him but more followed Him as He gave them hope and love instead of condemnation, peace instead of fear. He was a sweet fragrance amongst the broken and defeated.
I have often wondered why churches need to advertise so much and why they need to pretend that they have something that other churches don’t have. Why have we become so event orientated, when Jesus is people minded? 20 years ago, church was about worship and praise, the Word of God and people. Today it’s about events, lights, smoke machines, audio visual, social media, live streaming and so forth. It’s all good and we must shift with the times, but the authenticity of who Jesus is can never change, and must never change. He is the power that the world needs. The power of love.