Tuesday, December 16, 2014

But I'm a Nobody!

    In my opinion, one of the neatest things to notice about the gospels is Jesus' attention to the people everyone else walked by: the weak (Matt. (9:2), the sick (Matt. 8:3), and the sinners (Jn. 4). In fact, throughout the gospels, it soon becomes apparent that Jesus is much more interested in speaking to the "lesser" people than He is the great religious minds of the day.

    But why is this so amazing? Well, because He's God. I don't think you read that with enough force the first time. He's God! You would naturally assume that He would ignore the worst people and instead spend His time around the "better" people, right? But instead what we see is Him, lovingly, gently speaking to the worst of the worst; to an adulterer on trial, to a Samaritan at the well, to His own betrayer in the garden.

    What I want to emphasize today is that Jesus seems fascinated with using the most unworthy tools He can find for His own purposes. For example, out of all the people in Jericho to save, God chose to save a harlot, a prostitute, when the Israelites entered Canaan (Josh. 2). You'd think God would save someone more worthy, someone more pure, right? It seems almost insulting to the "better" people of Jericho that God would choose to save the worst of the worst over them!

    How about when Jesus comes through Jericho during His ministry? He chooses, again out of all the people of Jericho, a short, turn-coat thief named Zaccheus (Lk. 19:1-10). Again, what a slap in the face to the religious elite and morally "pure" people of Jericho! Instead of standing in the synagogue condemning the sinners, Jesus goes to His house and eats with him, leaving the crowds behind!

    Let's examine Jesus' disciples. Let's see: Peter, the loud-mouthed, cursing fisherman (Jn. 18:15-27); Matthew, a Jewish traitor/thief (Matt. 10:3), Simon (not Peter), a Jewish political assassin (Matt. 10:4); and James and John, joint "sons of thunder", who wish to call down fire from heaven on their enemies (Lk. 9:54)! These are Jesus' closest followers and confidantes!

    Just think about that for a sec. Imagine trying to organize a group of twelve people to live together for three years, one of them a tax collector and one an assassin. The Zealots were a Jewish political group that assassinated Roman soldiers and tax collectors. Imagine the chaos that must have ensued when Jesus picked these two to follow Him!

    Once again, we see Jesus walking by the Pharisees, the religious elite of the day, to choose fishermen, thieves, and murderers to be His closest followers! Why? Jesus gives the answer in Mark 2:17, "And hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'"

    So, why does Jesus seemingly ignore the "good" people of the day? Simply put, Jesus didn't come to save those who are busy saving themselves. Jesus came to save the lost, not the self-righteous.

    What does it mean for us? Well, firstly, it means that God only uses us when we are empty of ourselves. Only when we've given up on our own efforts, ambitions, and achievements is He able to use us as His instruments. Because these men were obviously fallen, sinful people, they understood their need for a Savior much more readily than the Pharisees, the majority of whom stayed steadfast to the end in their determination to kill Jesus. The Pharisees were much too busy proving their spirituality to actually pay attention to Jesus and thus see their own fallenness.

    Secondly, it means never just because you're young, or not talented, or fallen dismiss the possibility that God could use you. Those were exactly the people God chose to use throughout the Bible. Paul, the Christian persecutor, would be come the world's greatest missionary; Moses, the Egyptian prince/murderer, would be God's instrument of freedom for His people. The people Jesus loves to use are the fallen nobody's of this world.

    Never let the feeling that you're not the most spectacular Christian ever keep you from being attentive to God's voice. Instead, remember that God himself found you, saved you, and commissioned you. There is no higher calling.

    My mom bought me a sign that I keep on my desk that says, "If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a king." Fill in the blank with anything, not just missionary. If God calls you to something, anything, it is the greatest honor you could have to fulfill that calling. It doesn't matter that you may not be perfect, you may not be the handsomest guy or the prettiest girl or the smartest student; you are a child of God. God uses His flawed children to spread His name around the world.

    So don't let your imperfection discourage you. "Where sin did abound, there did grace much more abound." Where your sin, your imperfection, your failure were in abundance, God drowned them out with His righteousness, His perfection, and His finished work. Your status is no longer wrapped up in what you can or can't do; it now rests firmly in the work that Jesus has already done.

1 comment:

  1. "Your status is no longer wrapped up in what you can or can't do; it now rests firmly in the work that Jesus has already done" - I love it!