Jesus Does Not Discriminate
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
Imagine sitting with those whom others considered dregs of society, outcasts, even lowlifes, eating with them and having a conversation about God with them. Others see this and wonder why you are even speaking to these people. They are despicable people…alcoholics…prostitutes…tax collectors, etc. Some may even think you are or were one of them. But you…your heart is filled with compassion for them. You see their pain, their torment, their lifestyle. You want them to know the God of all creation who can set them straight, heal them, forgive them and love them because they need love. What other people don’t realize or see is behind the surface where it all began for them. Something brought them to this lifestyle but you want them to know their value in God’s kingdom and how they don’t have to live this way any longer but can live in peace, love and joy knowing they have a heavenly Father who loves them and will care for them always. Everyone…meet Jesus.
Jesus does not discriminate when He calls us to Him. When we look at someone, we evaluate them from the first we meet them. We listen to their words, watch their body language, and observe their actions. We look at their clothes, their hair, and listen about their lifestyle. If they meet our criteria, then we let them in a little closer…if not then we keep them at an arms length. Sometimes we even do this with friends. Jesus does not do this. He gets close right from the beginning, offering His friendship, His love and His help, but it’s up to you whether you want a relationship with Him or not. If you say “no”, He is patient and will wait and continue loving you just the same but won’t force Himself upon you because He wants a genuine love and relationship with you, not a surface one where He has to jump through hoops to gain a relationship with you. The door is always opened to you but in the meantime He will befriend many because He loves all. Are there stipulations to a relationship with Him? Sure…honesty, love, trust, loyalty, communication, your time, etc. Something we all look for in a relationship. Are there boundaries? Of course…we all have boundaries to keep us safe and Jesus knows what you need to do to be safe therefore you have to be willing to listen to what He tells you to do. Many times it goes against what the world will tell you to do and that can be a hard thing to do. I will tell you this…if you listen and follow what He says to do, you will live in joy and peace though chaos may surround you. That addiction you are dealing with? He will break it and set you free. That broken heart you have because others have hurt you? His love will cover it all and bring healing to that hurting heart. Well, there is another stipulation…He has to lead. You can’t be the one in control because you can’t see what He sees. Sometimes the road is foggy and it’s hard to see ahead but you will never have to worry about that with Jesus as He can see beyond that fog. All you have to do is listen and obey. Fear and doubt will sometimes jump in the middle of the road and set you into a panic, but don’t worry…just call on the name of Jesus to remove them from your path and He will.
So, why would someone gravitate towards sinners and tax collectors?
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)
Those who he calls righteous already know Him. But sinners do not. Truth be told we are all sinners in some way, shape or form and we must repent of our sins but there are those who don’t know Christ and what He can do for them and those are the ones He desperately is trying to reach. He wants them to know how valuable they are in the kingdom of God and wants to invite them to live with Him for eternity. He wants to offer His salvation to all, not just a few, but we have to be willing to accept it. He wants to free them from their situation and bring healing to them.
Ok…so what’s up with the tax collectors? Weren’t they doing their job? Why are they considered sinners (haven’t we all asked that, although we do complain at tax time each year)? Back in biblical times, the tax collector was considered a traitor of sorts by the Jews because Israel was occupied by Rome and the tax money collected went to Rome. Tax collectors overcharged and brought false charges of smuggling in hopes to extort money. They worked for the government in charge, which was Rome and they were considered thieves as well. They were considered traitors because they worked for the enemy…Rome. So in our day, it would be the same as another country occupying the U.S. and an American working for them, forcing the American people to turn over more money or product to give to the enemy occupying our land. This can be considered as an oppression. Jesus reached out to the tax collectors and sinners and offered to them what others did not…mercy, compassion and love. This is what drew the sinners and tax collectors to Him. How often have we been drawn to those who have a peaceful loving way about them. They were kind and considerate to us and showed us nothing but love.
That is how Jesus works, He does not discriminate and does not play favorites. He treats everyone the same and expects the same from everyone. It’s not until after we come to Him that He works in us, repairing the broken heart, fixing our character flaws and helping us to be more like Him so we can offer the same to others…mercy, compassion, love and forgiveness. Jesus does not walk away if we make mistakes as others do. He isn’t your friend one day, and your enemy the next. If you hurt Him, He forgives you and continues loving you. He will give you your space and not pressure you, but He will hold to the boundaries of the relationship. He is the best battle buddy you could have, always covering your back, but always being truthful with you on what you need to do to change and continue on. A friend will always tell the truth even if it hurts because they love you. The same goes with Jesus. It’s up to us to listen. He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because He doesn’t need rest. If you wake up in fear or discouragement during the night, call Him and He will be there. If you feel as though you are going to fall into temptation, call Him to help you through it and keep you accountable. His Word is a living Word so when you read it, it fills you up with His nourishment to make you strong against temptation.
Who else could offer such relationship to you? If sinners and tax collectors gathered to such a man, surely there must be something He had to offer that they needed. Unfortunately, humans are humans and they make mistakes, they hurt each other, and they can fail us, but Jesus doesn’t hurt us, make mistakes or fail us. He can show you how to get past all of these things when it happens without bitterness, anger and pain. Who wouldn’t want to have a relationship with someone who shows so much love and mercy?
Do you really realize just how valuable you really are to God and the kingdom of Heaven? I don’t think you do. Jesus died for you so you could be saved and have a life with Him for eternity. Who else would do that for you? Who else would love you so much that they would give up their life for you? Jesus. You don’t need to cut/harm yourself to punish yourself. You don’t need to berate yourself over all the wrong things you’ve done. You don’t need to feel not good enough and rejected because your spouse left you for someone else or feel worthless because you can’t beat your addiction. You don’t need to give yourself to every man or woman that comes along just to feel loved. You don’t need to look down on yourself and be fearful because you are being bullied in school.
Are you tired and weary? Have you had enough of the hurt and pain in your life? Do you realize you need a change but are not sure how to go about it? Are you at the point where you are ready to just give up? Know that Jesus came to bring life, not death. He came to bring you hope, not despair. He came to bring you salvation, not damnation. He came to heal you, not make you ill. He came to break your chains and set you free, not tie you up and keep you bound. However, there is one who does want to see you bound with heavy chains, in pain and torment and sitting in despair and hopelessness. There is one who wants to see you continuing down the same destructive road you are on because he knows it will lead to death. That one is Satan, the devil. Jesus describes him:
“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.”
The father of lies will tell you everything negative about yourself. He will whisper words of discouragement, fear, intimidation and rejection so you can’t move forward in healing. He will “help” you to see just how worthless you are and how no one loves you, showing you in so many ways. He will never encourage you to move forward but always “help” you to remain where you are or go backwards. He will use others to offer you that next drink or drug, that next painful word or action, or that next false love. With friends like that, who needs enemies? That’s the point…he is no friend but an enemy and he wants to see you destroy and that’s why Christ came, to undo what the enemy has done. Christ has conquered death so you can live! He wants you to live! He offers you love and truth and the truth shall set you free!
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When you know the truth of who Christ is and who you really are in Christ, you will walk in freedom. You won’t need all of these things that only fill you temporarily. When you come to Christ and receive His salvation, you are His and He will take care of you. He will help you to change what needs to be changed and it will be painful, but out of that pain will come true healing and deliverance. Out of that pain will come freedom!
How does one become saved?
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
What happens after?
You then fill yourself up with the Lord! Read His word daily, pray without ceasing. Rejoice in good times and bad! Never lose hope! The closer you get to Christ the more you will want to change your ways because He calls us to be holy. I didn’t say perfect, but holy. When you apply what the Word of God says to your life, you heart will begin to change. The enemy will try to draw you back through old habits and ways, through people from your past, but do not fear, Christ is beside and will fight the battles for you when you turn your life over to Him.
Jesus does not discriminate. He loves everyone and calls everyone to Him. Your part is accepting and then everything else will fall into place. One thing you must remember…you cannot accept Christ and continue on in your old ways. The two do not go together. If you make mistakes he will love and forgive you and help you, but if you choose to continue on in your old ways, you are the one damaging the relationship and yourself, not Christ. He may not discriminate but He does not tolerate sin to continue on. There are borders in your relationship with Him for a reason…it’s to keep you safe.
Do you wish to change? Do you want what Christ has to offer…love, mercy, grace and forgiveness? Do you want a new life? All you have to do is meet Him half way. He extends His hand of salvation to you to lift you up out of the flood waters of turmoil, pain and grief. Do you accept? Maybe you are one who has already accepted Christ a long time ago but lost your way. It’s ok, He still loves you and wants you back! He hasn’t forgotten you! He’s been waiting for you to come back!
Jesus, I need you! I have lost my way and am afraid because I cannot see clearly at this time. Lord, I need your guidance. I need you in my life. I call upon you Jesus. I repent of my sins (name the sin) and ask for your forgiveness. Jesus, I believe you are Lord and that God has raised you from the dead. I believe you are the savior and redeemer and I accept you and want you in my life. Lord, change me, mold me, shape me into who you intended me to be. Heal my heart, break my chains and set me free. I want to be free in You Lord. Teach me your ways, O God, and direct my paths. Be my shield and defense from the enemy that wishes to devour me. Strengthen my armor of God, especially the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness that covers the mind and the heart. Your word says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and I claim that Word over my life today. I declare in the mighty name of Jesus that I am set free and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you Jesus for the sacrifice of your life so that I may live. I pray this all in the name of Jesus…Amen.