It seems the Church has focused more on the teachings of Paul than on the examples of Jesus in the gospels!  When I make this statement, I know some will cringe and some may even think this is heresy.  However, it is crucial for us all to understand the reason this statement may be true.

Paul’s teachings are relevant, biblical, and vitally important for us to grasp the totality of God’s word and how to apply it.  The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) however, are often looked at as something the “new believer” or “seeker” looks to as they begin a relationship with Jesus, but if that is how we utilize His message we are missing a huge point!

Jesus’ life, some of which is documented in the gospels, is a real-life example of HOW to complete the mission He set for His Church – to make disciples.  Jesus repeatedly spent time with those the “religious” leaders of the day would not have been caught dead around…literally!  Tax collectors (one became His disciple who happened to write the Gospel of Matthew), prostitutes, thieves…Jesus spent time with real people that had real problems, and by the way, we are no better!  We have real problems and are sinful at our very core!

The religious people of the day (Pharisees and Sadducees) lived as if they had it all together and were better than everyone else…sound familiar?  Jesus said He would rather spend time with sinners who were honest with themselves (and with Him) than to waste His time on these self-righteous people (who by the way, wanted Him dead and ultimately crucified Him). 

Mark 2:13-17 says, Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must look to His example in all we do to be more like Him.  When we do, we will seek out those in our lives who do not know Jesus as both Savior and Lord and love them enough to share the incredible Truth of Salvation that Jesus offers to everyone who will humble themselves, pray, accept Him as Savior and make Him Lord of their life!  This is our mission from God; go into all the world—the world we live in and the people we come in contact each day— and make disciples by first loving the way Jesus did, and then by extending grace and truth as we seek to become more like Jesus!  Love others the way Jesus loved while He was here on Earth!
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