How should we picture the Kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it?
Interesting question isn’t it? It’s one Jesus asked His disciples.
I think an answer to that is eating with tax collectors and sinners. Yes, I know today we have certain things in place that help us stay on the path of our walk. At times I wonder though, if our path keeps us from the very people we are to reach.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “guard your witness’? It’s a phrase to admonish us not to be seen near a liquor store, never offer to hold someone’s beer, don’t offer anyone a light.
If I were to be talking to someone at Starbucks about Jesus and they said they were getting hungry and asked me to go eat at the Drunken Donkey, should I say no because it “ruins my witness”? Or would it actually ruin my witness to say no to someone I was sharing the love of Jesus with?
The Pharisees took the teaching of the Torah and added a bunch of stuff to it. It was all the “bunch of stuff” Jesus and His disciples were always accused of breaking. “Why don’t you follow the tradition of the elders?” This is my paraphrase here, “Because tradition isn’t Torah”.
I’m all about living a holy life because Scripture tells me to but as I read Mark’s gospel the other day I began to see that Jesus did things way different than we do today. For one thing there is the eating with sinners thing. We can be so concerned with ruining our witness that we actually have no witness.
Jesus was moved with compassion and healed people. Often times we are moved to judgment to condemn people. Jesus walked in love and those of us who are Jesus followers should walk the same way.
Every time Jesus preached he followed up His message with a time of healing people and casting out demons. When was the last time we saw that in a church service?
It’s time that as Jesus followers we become more focused on His Kingdom and not our denomination. We need unity not infighting. I read so many articles about the church in America being in decline could it be because we are not Kingdom focused? Could it be because we’ve given up a gospel of power for a gospel of intellectual doctrine?
As Followers of Jesus I challenge each of us to spend regular time reading the gospels. I think it will change the way we do and see church.