I’ve recently been reading through the Gospels with a friend of mine. One of the things that strikes me about the life and ministry of Jesus is how many times he was invited into people’s homes. And it wasn’t just sinner’s homes or his friend’s or disciple’s homes. It was sinners, tax collectors, Pharisees, former prostitutes, friends, and his disciples and their families who all invited Jesus into their homes and lives.
Plus, he was invited to at least one wedding that we know of. And, Lazarus planned a dinner party in His honor (it was the least he could do after being raised from the dead, right?)
Obviously, Jesus was well-liked by numerous kinds of people, and he aroused people’s curiosity (from the skeptic to the believer). He taught with authority and wisdom, so He attracted the wise and well-educated. He was compassionate and forgiving, so He attracted the sinners and tax-collectors. He healed numerous people with power and compassion which caused large crowds to constantly be hunting him down. Even when He tried to escape and be by Himself or have some alone time with His disciples.
So, then, what is the challenge for us?
As I see it, one of the main goals of the Christian life is living our lives in such a way so that we are constantly invited into people’s homes (and lives). God calls us to live our lives before people (and not isolate ourselves into all manner of things Christian) so that we have the kind of relationship and influence to be able to speak into people’s lives.
Do we condemn those who need mercy and compassion? (How do you relate to the tax collectors, the prostitutes, and the “sinners” of our day…) And, more importantly, are you in a place to develop relationships with these people in such a way that would cause them to invite you into the lives and homes of the hurting and broken because you live a life that exudes compassion?
Are we too isolated in our Christian bubble (or just the bubble of self) so that we never see needs that we can meet? Jesus had to be out and about in the community in order to see and meet the needs of the people. He also sent His disciples into the towns and villages and they were to seek people out that would invite them into their homes.
Do we have influence with our religious leaders? This may be the toughest one of all, and this probably wouldn’t include everyone, but sometimes the toughest crowd is the very religious! Jesus was very direct with the religious leaders of His day. We should be praying for and supporting our religious leaders while also challenging them to lead our churches in Godly directions – away from an inward-ness that only looks at serving the people within the church to an outward-ness that embraces and seeks out ways to serve the communities around us. (While at the same time not forgetting to disciple and lead those within the church.)
For further study:
Matt. 8:14: Jesus in Peter’s house
Matt. 9:23: Jesus in the synagogue leader’s house
Matt. 26:6-13: Jesus in the home of Simon the leper
Mark 2:15: Dinner at Levi’s house
Luke 4:38: Jesus in the home of Simon
Luke 7:36-50: Jesus invited to a Pharisee’s home
Luke 8:41: Jairus invited Jesus to his house (to heal his daughter)
Luke 10:38-42: Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha
Luke 14:1: Jesus invited to a prominent Pharisee’s house
Luke 19:5: Jesus invites Himself to Zaccheus’s house
John 2:1-3: Jesus invited to a wedding (and his first miracle)
John 12:1-8: Jesus @ Lazarus’s house where a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor.
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