Updated: Feb 22, 2022
Jesus welcomes all . . . and so should we.
When you look at the life of Jesus, He didn't just stick with "His kinda peeps."
Though He walked this earth as the perfect and holy Son of God, from the moment He arrived, He was in the presence of sinful people ~ His parents (Joseph and Mary), and those who came to see Him upon the announcement of His birth (Luke 2).
I cannot imagine how Jesus must have felt, being absolutely holy, living among depraved sinners. And yet, He ate with, talked with, and journeyed with sinful people . . . and He truly loved and cared about them. Jesus welcomed them all into His presence, to get to know Him and hear the invitation to be part of His kingdom.
Many "unlikeable" people were invited ~ the religiously pious (Mark 10:17-22), the sexually immoral (Luke 7:36-48), the extortioners (Luke 19:1-10), the diseased (Matthew 8:1-3), those from different cultures (John 4:7-42), those from different faith backgrounds (Matthew 15:21-28), and even those with little to no faith at all (Mark 9:17-27).
Those most despised by the religious leaders of the day, Jesus welcomed.
In her book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Rosaria Butterfield shares, "The truly hospitable aren’t embarrassed to keep friendships with people who are different.”
(This book is a gritty gospel life recommended read. You can support your favorite AmazonSmile charity by purchasing it here.)
time to respond . . .
Pause here and ask God to help you examine these gritty truths in light of the gospel and how to apply it to your life. Feel free to grab a journal and write out your answers to the prompts below.
think about the gritty (aka messy)
Who do I have a hard time welcoming as Jesus did?
Is there a certain group of people, or a particular person that I have refused to interact with?
[Ask God to bring to mind anyone whom you may be overlooking.]
think about the gospel
How does the "good news" of Jesus (aka the gospel) impact my thoughts and desires about welcoming people who are unlike me?
think about your life
Who am I going to move towards this week that I have previously been unwelcoming to?
How does God want me to do that?
Again, Rosaria Butterfield exhorts Christians, “Let God use your home, apartment, dorm room, front yard, community gymnasium, or garden for the purpose of making strangers into neighbors and neighbors into family. Because that is the point—building the church and living like a family, the family of God.”
close in prayer
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you "see" those with whom you don't normally interact and to welcome them with the love of Christ. If you couldn't think of anything to write down in your journal, ask God to help you have an open heart and welcome those whom He also welcomes.