The world is filled with religious people. We see them; knees on mats, burning incense, sitting in their yoga positions, trying to relax away their negative energy.
But religion doesn’t stop there: Education, money, business, good works, all vy for positons of being their own gods.
Just watch any sporting event, and tell me the people don’t idolize an athlete or team. Yet, the King of Kings we leave in a book, dusty, on some shelf.
So, what does it mean to be a true disciple of Jesus?
I open scripture. Scan across the pages. Prayerfully confessing my own struggle with bowing to some ministry or meeting I just went to…
Or, well…anything, really….
And there on the pages, I see the story of the Good Samaritan. Among dirty diapers, playing children, clothing piled high, almost breathing.
I see it….The priest and the Levite. They see the battered and beat man lying by the side of the road. But…
They go to the other side.
O.k. let’s face it. We have a ton of so-called Christians now-days. They may go to church on Sundays, but have they ever committed to true discipleship?
We live in a day where wolves walk around in sheeps clothing, while we sit back lacking simple discernment.
And it’s hard to tell the different between a sheep and a wolf, isn’t it?
Remember, in the last days, Jesus said he would have to separate the sheep and the goats. Both would be mixed together.
Oh and in Revelations 2, God mentions many churches with both good and bad, inter-tangled all as one. At which point, His Spirit speaks to each church, longing for real relationshp.
So, as a disciple, I find, scripture speaks loud about the difference between a Pharisaical, “religious” imposter, who knows the Word, but is void of its power.
Discipleship versus the counterfeit, religous practicing versus real relationship modeling The One who wasn’t afraid to go near…
Problems, difficulty, hurt, pain, and people with all their complexities and insecurities.
Today, I scan any number of people, on the internet or in a thousand different social circles…
And what I find is, those who know Christ have fruit, are called in one way or another, to rise up and do something for Him.
We can’t say we are believers, but stay petrified, listening to the author of lies, in fear, or use the excuse of waiting for the right time to act, while he deceives us into complacency.
Scripture is clear. Although saved by grace, He will reward us according to our good works.
We can’t have the heart of Christ and not have faith to walk towards the hurt and broken, lying on the side of the road.
It’s the Pharisees that used to avoid problems and broken people. But we serve a God who bent low and wasn’t afraid to touch the needy.
He called us as light out INTO the darkness. He set us on a hill, and asked us to be His hands and feet, go out and make disciples of ALL nations….
To do that….we must come near, whatever need He has put in front of us.
In Bible times, Samaria was between Judia and Galilee. The direct route was straight through Samaria. But, most went around because of prejudice and fear of contamination.
Just like the priest and the Levite, they would rather be inconvenienced by avoiding difficulting, than to step out of their way and help the needy, stepping near the “so-called” impure or different.
And don’t we still see that today?
Churches that have the homeless removed, the “ugly” sitting separate, in hopes to not offend the rich, powerful, or influential?
Haven’t we seen, large megastages, carefully hand-pick those who will have the favored seats, because they care more about popularity and appearances…
Than they care about pleasing Jesus?
In scripture, there is a story of a wedding feast. The assumed guests were chosen, but they disregarded the invitation for a number of excuses.
But then, the servants were told to get those off the streets, the least likely, anyone who was willing to come, even the poor and the paralized…
Because God wants willing vessels more than he cares about including the prideful, esteemed, or those who value their own self-importance.
Jesus favors the humble and the broken. While being enraged with those who sold their goods for a profit inside the temple gates in the city.
And yet, we still use Jesus for profit today, don’t we?
Have we not learned, He can’t be bought or sold?
His house is a house of prayer, not a means to create a title for ourselves, or produce wealth of our own.
Others went around. But Jesus went near….
Near to the broken and hurting. close to those needing a Physician, compassionately moved by those desperate for a savior.
He calls the outcast close. He draws the ugly, broken, rejected, those pushing through the crowd just to touch His cloak.
He blesses and rewards those climbing a tree, in hopes to see Him.
The religious exhiled those with leperosy or other health issues, whille Christ didn’t avoid, but drew near them.
In Bible days, the beggars and poor were kept outside the temple, not allowed within the walls of their so-called holy assembly.
But, Christ enters; their life, their problems. He unites their imperfections with His perfection, and their lives become whole again.
Not rich and powerful, Jesus comes humble in a manger, near the needy, calling us to mirror His image, model His example.
And if we are true disciples, we won’t be fooled by some prosperity gospel that deceives us into thinking we are more annointed than some, or will be contaminated if we step near sin or darkness.
True disciples run toward the broken. They are moved with compassion, and like Jesus, will not be afraid to draw near and lay their hands on other hurting people.
We live in a culture of want-to-be religious separatists.
But, what if the mark of true discipleship wasn’t how much we gave from a distance, but whether we were willing to get low, draw near, lend our ear and hearts, laying our lives down to help the broken and needy?
What if we are most like Christ, when we take off our tunic, wrap it around our waist, and wash the feet of other people?
Not passing by on the other side of the road, but actually caring for the sick…
Thinking less of ourselves, living by gospel’s mandate to bring light to the nations?
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Now, let’s run to the needy with His healing, with well-worn knees, and a heart that says, “Make me like you, Lord. Whatever the cost, make me like you.”
Jesus ran towards needy people. The Pharisees simple tried to seperate themselves from them.
Do we live like true disciples of Jesus?
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