One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking. Whether it’s on the stove, in the oven, on a grill or over a campfire, I love making food that tastes good. Life is too short to eat bland food. No matter what I’m cooking though, one seasoning is almost always present. I store it in the cabinet, but when I’m preparing a meal, I have to take the salt out and put it on the meat. I can’t just set it on the counter and expect the food to absorb it. For it to season the food, i must apply it to the unseasoned meat. That is the only way it will work. Coincidentally, that’s the only way our witness works as well. If we don’t come into contact with people who aren’t seasoned with Jesus, how else are they supposed to know Him?
In Matthew 9, Jesus was walking through Capernaum when He came upon a tax collector named Matthew. The Jews thought he was a traitor because he was taking taxes from the Jews and giving them to the Romans. Jesus walked up to him and said, “Come, follow me.” Later, Jesus went to have dinner at Matthew’s house and Matthew invited all of his tax collecting friends who were society’s outcasts. The religious people lost their minds and questioned how Jesus could dine with such people if He was holy. Jesus responded in verse 13, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse: I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice. For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path” (TPT).
Jesus didn’t come so Christians could insulate ourselves from the world. He came so that the whole world would be reconciled to Him. If you’re not engaging with people who don’t know Jesus, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus didn’t preach at this dinner either. He simply hung out with them and His flavors rubbed off on them so much so that at least Matthew gave up his way of living to follow Jesus. Jesus looked at people as people first and not by the label of their sin. It’s easy to be religious and look at how someone sins differently than we do. It’s Christ like to look beyond their sin and to see the person He died for. If we’re going to spread His salt throughout the earth to all nations, we’ve got to look at people through His eyes rather than our religious ones. Jesus made it a habit to hang out with society’s outcasts and sinners. When is the last time you or I did that?
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Imagine that you woke up so sick this morning that you couldn’t go to work. So you call the doctor, but they tell you, “Sorry. We are having check ups for healthy people this week and aren’t taking any sick patients. We can fit you in sometime next week. Will Wednesday at 11:30 work?” How would that make you feel? Being sick, and not being able to see a doctor, would compound an already bad day. Yet situations like this happen all the time in our churches. Spiritually sick people walk through our doors and we put them off.
You and I interact with spiritually sick people every day. We come into co tact with them at work, at the store, at the park, and at the gym. We rarely interact with them, and if we do, we don’t always invite them to church where they can find spiritual healing. For those who do walk in our churches, many times we are too busy interacting with spiritually healthy people to notice or to say hello to them. It’s more comfortable to hang out with our friends than to introduce ourselves to a stranger who may be in need of the Great Physician.
I love the example Jesus set in Matthew 9. He was walking down the road and saw a tax collector stand. He walked up to it and said, “Follow me and be my disciple” (NLT). Immediately Matthew recognized he was sick, and Jesus was a doctor who could heal him. He then invited Jesus to his house and then invited a bunch of spiritually sick friends. He wanted them to get better as well. But the religious minded people couldn’t understand why Jesus would hang out with such people. In verse 11, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
I love Jesus’ response. He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” It was a reminder to them (and us) that we have an obligation to help the spiritually sick of this world. Our goal shouldn’t be to get through this life without interacting with non-believers. We should want to interact with is many as we can. Why do you think the majority of Jesus’ ministry was outside the synagogue? He wanted to be where the sick and hurting were. Somehow we’ve changed from His example. We expect the spiritually sick to come to the church, yet when they do, we often ignore them. It’s time we remembered we were once sick too and needed spiritual healing.
What can you do today to bring spiritual healing to those you come in contact with?