Wait. That can’t be right. The Good News is for everyone, right?
Yes, it is.
Except that’s not the way we treat it.
Too often, we actually choose who should heard it and who should not. Our actions actually state that the Good News is only for some.
In Mark 10 we have a series of encounters that people had with Jesus that have some powerful implications.
In two of those encounters people, even the disciples, tried to keep someone from coming to Jesus.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
In the first encounter, the disciples are deciding that children do not deserve to come to Jesus. They determine that He is too important to be bothered with such. This isn’t the only time it happened either. Multiple times, they tried to stop others who were not Jews or were women or didn’t fit some ideal they held at the time. There were times the disciples tried to stop others from doing things in Jesus’ name. One was in the chapter right before this one.
In the second encounter, a man is blind and desperately calls out to Jesus and people try to silence him.
In both encounters, Jesus pushed past those standing between Him and the ones who needed Him. In both, Jesus touched those who others had deemed not worthy of Him.
Now back to us today. We could easily say that we have never done this. But. We have.
In extreme cases, people use skin color and race to decide if someone can hear the Good News or not and in what setting. It’s not as prominent as it once was, but still exists. There was an article making the rounds on Social Media recently of a white man declaring that people of color don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. This is APPALLING!
Yet, there are much less blatant ways that we choose to keep someone from the Good News.
We ALL have biases. We ALL have groups of people that we struggle with accepting. Whether it is based on physical attributes, socio-economic, political leanings, lifestyle, struggles, disabilities, geography, race, gender, style, background, sins, whatever, we each have those that are harder for us to fully accept. Part of maturity and health is getting over whatever it is to the point of being able to love and accept every person regardless.
I have been around church all of my life. I have seen the destruction of judgment and self-righteousness among some church goers. Much damage has been done to people in the name of religion. Part of that comes from church goers who determine that a person or group of persons is not worthy or important enough to come to Jesus. That they are less because they don’t fit some misplaced ideal in the mind of some church goer.
It is often subtle, at least at first. It starts with just not extending the grace and love of God. It continues through little comments and snide remarks. It culminates in outright rejection and mean-spiritedness. It is usually wrapped in spirituality, “prayer requests”, and “concern.” People feel justified because they cloak it in trying to keep the faith pure and standing up for holiness or whatever.
Yet, this does not stand up to the words of Jesus.
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. – Luke 6
Notice in Luke 6:38 there is a verse that is often used in prayer asking for blessing from God. Yet, the context in which Jesus said it is about the grace and judgment we extend to others. If we give grace it will be extended back to us, if we give judgment, it too, will be given back to us.
Instead of making it harder for people to come to Jesus we should be making it as easy as possible for everyone to meet Him. Jesus does not need you or I to be His “handlers” and keep the rabble from Him. By the way, you and I are part of the rabble. Jesus does not need gatekeepers who determine the ones important enough or worthy enough or ready to come to Him.
Jesus said it this way…
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, ALL of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11
I emphasized the word “all.”
By the way, if you do a deep study on the that word “all” it means everyone without exception.
Every time we determine that someone should not hear the Good News or does not deserve the same grace as we have received, then we are elevating self to the level of God and that is idolatry and witchcraft. By doing this we are actually siding with the enemy that has made it his mission to keep people from coming to God.
We NEVER honor God when we look down on someone else as being less or unworthy. It does NOT matter what they have done, where they come from, or how they live. All of the things we use to divide and classify are forms of legalism.
I am no more worthy of God’s love and grace than any other person. Neither are you.
None of us deserve it.
10 As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—not even one.
It’s time we stop trying to protect God and start living His mission to extend His love and grace to everyone. EVERY ONE.