Since Jesus only did what the Father instructed Him to do, why would our Father’s heart be, to use such lost souls (as the disciples) to start a revolution of love? I’ve asked myself that question more than once, because you see, I have come to realize that Jesus just doesn’t “see” people the way we do.
If you take a real good look at the twelve men Jesus chose to turn the world upside down, you know what you’ll find? A motley collection of profligates, misfits and nobodies!
Our Father’s heart seems to lean in directions other than ours, especially when it comes to blackened sheep. And I should add, I don’t believe inclusion and acceptance are as big a problem in the Asian Church, the African Church, or even the Church in Latin America, as they are in our Western churches. It is in the affluent Church of the West (especially America!) where I believe we have this very “Us vs. Them” mentality and label-problem.
Why is that?
The Bible has been translated into over two thousand languages now. The list of our English translations has grown to around fifty-nine translations.
It really doesn’t seem as if we’re suffering from a shortage of the word of God at our disposal. No, the “words of Jesus” are available in a banquet of preferences, in thousands of translations.
And, His words are certainly clear enough. One of the things I dearly love about Jesus, is that He could say more, with less words, than anyone I’ve ever read. So, it’s not that His words are, too complicated, or unclear to us.
Take any issue where the Pharisees sought to entrap Him with words, and you will be stunned at the remarkable way, He uses simplicity and clarity to slice right through their pomposity and sham-religiosity.
God came down to love ALL of us!
Jesus saw everyone He met as “lost sheep” in need of a Shepherd.
Many dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners often gathered around to listen as Jesus taught the people. This raised concerns with the Jewish religious leaders and experts of the law. Indignant, they grumbled and complained, saying, “Look at how this man associates with all these notorious sinners and welcomes them all to come to him!”
In response, Jesus gave them this illustration:
“There once was a shepherd with a hundred lambs, but one of his lambs wandered away and was lost. So the shepherd left the ninety-nine lambs out in the open field and searched in the wilderness for that one lost lamb. He didn’t stop until he finally found it. With exuberant joy he raised it up and placed it on his shoulders, carrying it back with cheerful delight! Returning home, he called all his friends and neighbors together and said, ‘Let’s have a party! Come and celebrate with me the return of my lost lamb. It wandered away, but I found it and brought it home.’”
Jesus continued, “In the same way, there will be a glorious celebration in heaven over the rescue of one lost sinner who repents, comes back home, and returns to the fold—more so than for all the righteous people who never strayed away.” Luke 15: 1-7 TPT
There is no “Us vs. Them.” in the Father’s heart.
You had to go to the Pharisees if you wanted to encounter that stuff!
No, Jesus loved everyone.
You could be a smelly unlearned fisherman, a blind beggar by the roadside, a half-naked prostitute dragged before the ogling mob, or a despised tax-gatherer up a tree, Jesus didn’t care—Jesus had time, and concern, for you.
He treated each person as chosen by God, with a face-to-face and heart-to-heart compassion, on our pain, our humiliation, and our loneliness.
This One, who created everything, (including us) saw our uniqueness, and our brokenness, and still He reached out for us with tender love… to save us.
ALL of us—we who had not a glimmer of hope, without Him!
Our Father’s heart has not changed.
His invitation is still open to anyone who wants to come.
Then Jesus exclaimed, “Father, thank you, for you are Lord, the Supreme Ruler over heaven and earth! And you have hidden the great revelation of your authority from those who are proud and wise in their own eyes. Instead, you have shared it with these who humble themselves. Yes, Father, your plan delights your heart, as you’ve chosen this way to extend your kingdom—by giving it to those who have become like trusting children. You have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully and intimately knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully and intimately knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to unveil the Father to anyone he chooses.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” [Matthew 11: 25-30]
May we in our churches follow in His footsteps.
God, you are the light of the world…
Once they see that you rule with dignity and honor, they will burst forth with praise. The earth needs a true king. You Lord, are that King. How amazing it will be when you are invited into every nation, tribe, and culture. You will finally give us the justice we have needed. You will do more than rule us, you will shepherd us with a Father’s heart…
Brian Simmons, Light of the World, Prayers on Fire