Tag Archives: Samaritans

How Wide Is Your Welcome? (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome matIn Part 1 I noted how the twelve, like us, had a hard time accepting people outside their own spiritual circle. “Those other so-called Christians might believe in Jesus but they believe a little different than us. They don’t worship enough, or maybe too much. They don’t evangelize the way we do or pray in a way that is unfamiliar to us. They’re not strict enough in their practice of faith or they’re too strict. They have a different name on their church sign than ours, so they can’t possibly be as right as we are!”

There’s a church in our community whose sign you can see from the freeway called “The True Jesus Church.” It’s a clear message to all who pass by that there is at least one church in town that presents the True Jesus. I guess all the others worship an untrue Jesus?

As we saw last time, we don’t have a very wide welcome if we seek to shut up those who belong to a different expression of the Kingdom. But, as Luke’s adjacent story reveals it becomes obvious that these same disciples had such a narrow welcome that they prayed to burn up people who reject them and their Jesus. Continue reading

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How Wide Is Your Welcome? (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome mat

46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. Luke 9

All disciples of Jesus are a work in progress. One way to know how far we have to go is the width of our welcome mat. Jesus’ first disciples had at the beginning a mat that wasn’t even wide enough to wipe one foot on! And it didn’t have the words “Everyone Welcome” woven into it. That sort of wide welcome developed over time. Continue reading

Outer Circle Christians (Part 2 of 6)

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2

Jesus’ welcome was way too wide for the spiritual experts of his time. They didn’t like the people he welcomed, how they looked, where they were from, or how they worshipped. The Pharisees, Judaism’s self-appointed Inner Circle in Jesus’ day, weren’t interested in reaching Outer Circlers. They were way too busy judging them. It’s hard to give people a hand up and push down on them at the same time. The restrictive spirituality of those who looked on the aimless and adrift with disdain sets the tone for the rest of the chapter and the three parables that Jesus told to expose it. Continue reading

The Missional, Merciful, Worshipful Christian (Part 3 of 4)

[If you haven’t seen Parts 1 & 2 I hope you’ll take a quick look at them for context. These posts are a cursory glance at Luke 10 and three key components to a balanced walk with Jesus. I introduced it in Part 1 and talked about being “missional” in Part 2. Based on the Good Samaritan Parable in this post I talk a bit about being “merciful.” Hope it’s meaningful.]

I’m embarrassed to admit that while as a pastor I had taught the Good Samaritan Parable  on several occasions over the years, I had very little understanding about how to apply it in my top dog social status as a white middle class American male who’s never faced a day of injustice in my privileged life. I simply had a blind spot in my view of one of the things that is quite important to the Lord – there was a hole in my holiness (probably tons of them). I’ve learned that, like the Pharisees, I should never underestimate my power to be wrong about God and what he wants. Continue reading