October 27. Luke 14 - 15.
Notice how each of these chapters in today’s devotional reading begin;
14:1-2 One Sabbath as he was in the home of a member of the Jewish Council, the Pharisees were watching him like hawks to see if he would heal a man who was present who was suffering from dropsy.
15:1 Dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus’ sermons; 2 but this caused complaints from the Jewish religious leaders and the experts on Jewish law because he was associating with such despicable people—even eating with them!
So what jumped out at you in these introductory statements from these two chapters? You must have had a thought when you read them? What stood out first and clearest to you from these narrations? Was it the critic, the nay-sayer, the ‘hater’ in Christ’s life? Was it the negativity of the religious? What popped out to you? The Pharisee watching, like a hawk, every move that Christ made? Or was it the Jewish religious leader complaining about how and to whom Christ ministered?
Your life can contain the same type of critics and haters as well. Those who cannot wait to find something wrong with what you say, how you dress, what you do etc. Those who are quick to judge your motives and actions accusing and labeling you, and those with whom you interact. If you focus on that, and those type of people, you may just want to give up, or perhaps become negative, judgmental, and critical just like them.
But read those two chapter introductions again… but this time look beyond those grumpy, unhappy, negative-always-looking-for-something-to-complain-about people, and focus on Jesus. What do you see now? A kind man that wants to help someone that is suffering? A Savior that has the power to heal? Jesus, courageous and bold in the midst of opposition? Do you see Him?
Do you see Jesus, patiently spending time with people, sharing His transformational truths, even when many complained about His teaching and the audience to whom He taught? Do you see Christ interacting and spending time with the deplorables, the tax collectors, and other notorious sinners? There in the midst of the despicable people – it is Jesus, kind, patient, caring, brave, determined, unshakeable, strong yet gentle – Jesus!
That’s it – it is a simple thought today – you can see and listen to the negative people that will always be in and around your life (they work next to you, live across the street from you, they even go to church with you); or you can look for Jesus today amidst the judgments and criticisms.
Look for Jesus who is kind, compassionate, caring and patient. Jesus, the One who loves even the unlovable. Jesus, the One who has a sermon for you today, He has something He wants to teach you today. Jesus the One who will leave the 99 and search for the 1 that is lost. Jesus, the One that loves you so. See Him today! Look beyond those that can only see what you are doing wrong, and see the One that can only see how much He loves you.