Wednesday, February 06, 2019


Jesus offers a simple invitation to learn more.

Matthew 9:9-13 As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow Me and be My disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such scum? "

12 When Jesus heard this, He said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do." 13 Then He added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

Following any religion or spiritual teacher probably makes you think of the work that will be required to follow their rules. Most religious systems say "change these things and you can join us," so it may seem strange to learn that when Jesus asked people to follow him he said "come as you are."

When Jesus began his ministry, he looked for some men to partner with, men that were willing to check out what he was doing and get to know him better, they probably never intended to keep following for so long but there was something about him that they couldn't walk away from.

When the unlearned, dirty fishermen and the repulsive tax man began to follow Jesus they didn't know what they were in for. They didn't really know him or his purpose for calling them, they didn't believe or have faith in anything, they were just excited to learn more about Jesus.

God never did like religious people so it's no surprise that Jesus did not give the invite to any of those types of people. It reminds me of Jesus birth, the least likely to get the good news were the ones that got it, the dirty shepherds and the Gentile wise men were chosen while the religious Jews that were well acquainted with scripture missed it despite the heads up they received from the wise men.

But don't be too hard on the Pharisees, some of them were really sincere and devoted to pleasing God, the bad news for us is that we are not much different. Their sinful attitude is common among man since the beginning and it continues with us.

We tend to look down on other people, especially people that don't have Jesus' influence on their lives, we like to think that we are better than they are. The world sees our hypocrisy and it turns them off to following Jesus because too often our actions, our attitudes and our tongues prove that we are very similar to them. (Romans 2:1-3)
The more conscious I am of the work that God has yet to do on me the less critical I am of what God has yet to do in you.
-Andy Stanley
We like to make following Jesus a complicated list of rules or beliefs but when Jesus first invited someone to follow him there were not any prerequisites. Jesus didn't say you have to follow the rules or believe a certain way, he invited people to follow first, get the facts and learn more about him.

The church should be a place where those that are without Jesus feel loved, accepted and comfortable so that they can come close and learn more about Jesus. The church will never grow if people think that they have to obey our rules and be a better person before they can be welcome in our building.
Matthew 23:13, 15 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people's faces. You won't go in yourselves, and you don't let others enter either. 15 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
To the people that do not know him he gives a warm invite but to the religious fakes that would not get serious about their relationship with God he was kind enough to warn them so that they could change their ways.

Religion says to believe right, behave right, change your ways and if you are successful then you can join us. Jesus says come as you are, come and see what I am all about, follow me and then you will find the power to change.