Reaching in and reaching out
Reading: Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a man, Levi at his work collecting taxes.
But God has been working on his life.
He started to sense God who started a good work in him.
People might have thought that Levi became spiritual.
But he was more and more interested in following Jesus as well.
Then Jesus came alone and said to Levi:
"Come follow me."
Then he walked away from everything and walked with Jesus.
Then Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus.
He invited his friends who were tax men.
Some of them didn’t have a good reputation.
They all sat at the dinner.
Then Jesus talked with his friends.
Jesus recognized that Levi was not his student.
But the proud religious law-keepers didn’t like this.
Who knows why they didn’t like this.
They were like:
"What is he doing eating and drinking with thieves and sinners?
Those who hang out with these sinners become like sinners.
Those who tried to live a holy life should not be associated with them.
These people are good cheating people.
They remarried four times and so on.”
When Jesus heard them, Jesus was like:
“When I hear you, you seem to say that these people are sick.
They are sick religiously and socially.
So, you should not get involved in their life.
But if you think like that, how can I help them.
If they are sick, they need a doctor.
If they are sick, they need God who can heal them.
If they are sick, they need God who loves them.
If you cannot see that, you may be sick too.
You may also need a doctor.
You may also need God who can teach you how to think.
You all need a doctor.
You all need God.”
Jesus was saying:
“What is the point in judging these people?
What is the point in punishing these people by not being their friends?
If I can make them my students and teach them, I can help them.”
Jesus continually talked with those who are not religious.
Jesus wanted to help them to live a new changed life.
Jesus became their friends because he wanted them to get involved.
Jesus spoke to their hearts so that they would know how to live.
Then Jesus took care of them spiritually.
He loved them and cared about them.
Then they were interested in knowing the kingdom of God that Jesus talked about.
They wanted to know more.
Jesus lived this kind of life.
In this way he made God happy.
Jesus focused on reaching out these people, because God wanted them.
Jesus focused on welcoming outsiders.
Jesus focused on teaching these people and serving them and changing their life.
Jesus wanted his students to follow his example.
Jesus encouraged all the churches to practice reaching out.
Jesus was like:
“How can you change people by judging them and condemning them?
Then what is the point doing those?
So, I want you to reach out to them with my gospel.
Reach out for those who are not well accepted in their society.
Sinners are welcomed in my church.
Help all people even though they have grown up differently and have different culture.
Reach out to those who are isolated.
Be ready to be uncomfortable sometimes.
But pray and make efforts for this.”
We may constantly try to live this life of Jesus.
We may constantly pray.
Jesus is working today to reach out the outsiders.
So, we need to do something good to those who are outside.
God is calling us to seek their happiness.
Following Jesus means that we seek their happiness.
We make efforts to help them find God and help them find that God loves them.
So, we try to become their friends for God.
In the church, you may practice like this.
Some of you have seen this video.
But let me remind you:
Let’s watch this video:
If you try to find the lonely, they are always with us, right?
Then, you will never be alone.
Helping them to be part of the group is also what is like to reach out.
Jesus, help us to practice what you want us to practice.
Help us to love you and love people.
Help us to be patient and kind.
Help us to follow you.
In Jesus name, we pray.
For this kind of life, Jesus asks us in Luke 6: 27-39:
“Do not judge; Do not condemn; Forgive.”