Jesus Liked Being With People Who Were Nothing Like Him
Jesus liked being with people who were nothing like him.
Jesus invited Matthew, a dishonest, disliked tax collector, to follow him. Matthew invited Jesus to have a meal with him and all his sinner friends. Unfortunately, not everyone approved of what Jesus did.
“But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with such scum?'” (Mark 2:16)
If people who were nothing like Jesus liked being with him and we’re supposed to be like Jesus, we must ask ourselves the question:
Do people who are nothing like Jesus like being with me?
Five ways Jesus simplified how to connect with people who do not follow him yet:
1. IDENTIFY SOMEONE WHO IS CURIOUS ABOUT FAITH.
Look for a specific person in your life who has some curiosity about faith. Begin to pray, “Lord send me and show me how to point them to you.”
2. BE KIND TO THEM.
Kindness in a world of cruelty is a superpower. Lasting change comes from knowing the goodness of God. May people see God’s goodness through our kindness.
3. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
Building a connection with a person will often take you out of your comfort zone (click here for more on this). Jesus built the bridge by eating a meal with Matthew and his friends. A meal is a great way to have a conversation. Conversation builds connection.
4. DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY.
Follow the example of Jesus; ignore the critics.
Jesus was constantly criticized by the religious leaders for how he interacted with the very people he came to save. He responded, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).
5. NEVER GIVE UP.
Relationships are built on trust and building trust takes time. Jesus did not just eat a meal with Matthew; he invited him to be a disciple. Eventually, Matthew wrote one of the accounts of the life of Jesus.
Jesus will never give up on us so let’s never give up on others.
Imagine if every person who follows Jesus helped someone become a follower of Jesus.
The kingdom of God will expand as we do what Jesus did.