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The Cart Before the Horse

Mark 2:16,17 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (NRSV)

In all honesty, we would like Jesus to be a nice, comfortable, relatable Saviour who would encourage us to be who we want to be, to live the life that we want to live. Problem is, the Jesus of the Bible at least, isn’t that guy at all!

I wonder sometimes whether we Christians don’t get things the wrong way around – you know, putting the cart before the horse.

We “do church” the way we’ve always done church. Why? Well, because we’ve always done it that way. And the way we “do church” kind of shapes the way that we reach out to people –  something the “experts” call our mission. And then the way that we do “mission”, in all likelihood, shapes the way we see Jesus … from our nice, tidy little pews all neat in a row.

Do you think I’m being unreasonable, or does Jesus appear quite different to us from the comfort of a padded pew, than He perhaps would were we, say … ministering to drug addicts?

Coming from a comfortable, middle-class background myself, to be honest, the first time I read about Jesus – I was shocked. He wasn’t who I expected Him to be. I’d expected Him to be a lot like me, but what I discovered was someone who turned the world upside down, who healed lepers, who hung out with prostitutes, who tore into the hypocrisy of the religious establishment.

Mark 2:16,17 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (NRSV)

What would church look like if we all followed that Jesus?

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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