December 20, 2012 by Chris French
Why did the outcasts, the “scum” (Matthew 9.11) love Jesus so much? Sure many of them were desperate, they didn’t have anywhere else to go. Remember the Centurion in Matthew 8 who had such great faith? But that’s what those people did. We’re interested in why was the average outsider so attracted to Jesus? What had He done to make Himself so accessible to them?
Remember the leper in Matthew 8? Not only is he an outcast, he’s also considered unclean! And not only does Jesus engage him in conversation (read big no no) He TOUCHES him! What about the dinner party Matthew threw so all his “scum” friends could meet Jesus in Matthew 9? There are tax collectors (read traitors) and other sinners (read people who were living lives of open sin) at this party and they seem pretty comfortable with Jesus…and He with them.
Could they be so comfortable around Him because He was looking for opportunities to be around them? He goes out of His way to touch the leper. When was the last time that had happened to this man? He wasn’t even allowed in the cities! Lepers lived solitary lives because if you touched them you were unclean. You couldn’t go to the temple to worship, you would have to withdraw from the group, leave all your friends. This man hasn’t had human contact since he contracted leprosy. Now Jesus not only talks to him, but He touches him! When was the last time you made an overture to someone our society would consider unsavory?
Jesus made a practice out of it. He was looking for reasons to be around these type of people, so when Matthew invited Jesus over to his house to meet his friends Jesus didn’t find an excuse to cut away. He showed up at Matthew house and started delving into their lives just like He had Matthew’s.
Right about now you’re thinking that you wouldn’t feel comfortable around the people in the pictures. You couldn’t talk about the weather or sports with these people much less try to tell them about Jesus! I have the same fears, but since Jesus was comfortable around the outcasts of His day I better get comfortable around ours because the fact remains that many of the people in our society who don’t fit in and are the 21st century equivalent of Matthew’s friends are still looking for a Savior. Their ears are still wide open to hear the good news of acceptance and adoption. I need to look for opportunities to tell them.