Have you ever heard that like attracts like? It’s pretty plain and simple. We tend to gravitate toward people that are similar to us, they seem so much easier to approach! We like to associate with people that have a similar sense of humor, similar interests, similar education and so on and so forth. But should that limit who we witness to…
I don’t know how many times I have heard people say ‘I can’t talk to those people, we just wouldn’t be able to relate! That may work fine when making new friends but is that following the example that Christ set out for us? No, Christ loved all sinners. Luke 5 helps to give us insight into whom we should witness to.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
(Luk 5:12-13 NIV)
Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
(Luk 5:18-20 NIV)
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
(Luk 5:27-28 NIV)
It is interesting to look at the progression of people that Jesus encounters from Luke 5:12 to 5:27
- The leper.
- The paralytic.
- The tax collector.
The range of people that Christ ministered to may not seem so evident in this passage. In our modern thinking we might not even be able to see how this list of people increases in their amount of need. The last individual is a tax collector, Levi. Today a tax collector is not even a person to us, it’s a letter and form that we dread getting in the mail! It’s an invoice telling us how much we have to pay the government. But at the time of this event the tax collector was a person that sits in a booth along the road and collected taxes for the government, overcharging people in order to increase their profit. Not only was Levi a person, he was a Jew, a Jew working for Rome! They were viewed as defectors from Israel!
Jesus didn’t pick and choose who He wanted to encounter, Jesus went out to ‘all sinners’. Jesus approached all of those cast out by society.
- The leper who was banned from society.
- The paralytic that was included but basically left on his own.
- The tax collector that they would rather kill than deal with.
Jews would have rather killed Levi, But Jesus calls him to follow.
What does this tell us? That the power of the Gospel is surgically precise and anyone can respond!
Who do we go out to? Christ lays it out for us: everybody.
I know that there is a tendency to look for problem areas, needy areas in our society, and that’s important too, but we cannot neglect those we meet on the way there either.
Grace & Peace,
- Witnessing: Let’s Go Out (spendomai.com)