Today we continue our look at ‘People’. The outstanding feature of the ministry of Jesus is his priority for people – and especially for reaching those whom others tried to exclude – sick people, children, women, ethnic minorities and tax collectors included.
The gospels continually speak of how people tried to stop him meeting with such people – whether it be the crowds, the Pharisees, or even the disciples. Bartimaeus was not the only excluded person to become a Christian in Jericho that day. Luke 19 tells us that this was also the day when Zacchaeus the chief tax collector met with Jesus. In some ways the two men could scarcely be more contrasting. But their need to be loved and belong, and to be transformed by Jesus were very similar.
If we are going to be a JSP we need to connect with people outside of our ‘comfort zone’. Our society is increasingly segregated on lines of class, wealth, and ethnic background. This week we continue to seek to meet people with our survey that helps us explore where people are in their ‘faith journey’. We need to make sure that we are not just connecting with people who are in our own social group – but we are open to all.
We need to ask some questions of ourselves:
What does it feel like to be ‘on the edge’ – what does this title mean today?
Why do we find it tempting to exclude certain kinds of people?
Why does Jesus make connecting with ‘edge people’ such a top priority?
Who are the people ‘on the edge’ in our own community and society?
What have we got to show ‘edge people’ that can help them to find him?
What do we need to become if we are to help people ‘On the Edge’?